Researchers and industry officials will come together in late July to gain a perspective on the challenges facing the nation's aquaculture industry and investigate possible solutions to these with two conferences hosted by Virginia Tech.

This year’s Aquacultural Engineering Society (AES) Issues Forum will be held at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center on July 23 and 24 preceding the Seventh International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture and Trade Show on July 25 through 27.

Gregory Boardman, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, and George Flick, university distinguished professor of food science and technology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, are hosting the members-only issues forum to discuss current issues and advances within the field of aquaculture engineering.

The tools of the commercial fisherman have long provided a variety of finfish and shellfish for consumers. The declining availability of wild catch means aquacultural practices are needed now more than ever. The Production of New Species session will focus on raising those species of finfish that are emerging as viable for aquaculture. Researchers will relate their experiences with promising cultured species within recirculating aquaculture systems.

The past five years have seen increases in the worldwide production of salmon, trout, and arctic char within recirculating aquaculture systems. Water-quality control is a crucial factor for any intensive recirculating systems that produce salmonids, and will be addressed during the one-day special session titled Design, Loading, and Water Quality in Recirculating Systems for Salmonids.

The Aquacultural Engineering Society aims to provide a means by which its members can come together to discuss engineering problems related to aquaculture. The group works closely with other professional societies to address aquaculture needs and issues in a more general sense. It serves as a united voice for aquacultural engineering in the general aquacultural community and provides an engineering perspective to the problems and proposed solutions to these problems. The Aquacultural Engineering Society also serves as an authoritative source of information on aquacultural engineering and provides engineering support to initiatives from or for the aquaculture industry.

Immediately following the Aquacultural Engineering Society Issues Forum will be the Seventh International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture and Trade Show. This conference is returning to the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center to bring researchers, government regulators, entrepreneurs, and business managers together for two days of presentations and intensive discussion.

The program is exclusively focused on recirculating aquaculture technology, a method that allows for better control of the culture environment while minimizing environmental impacts. This year’s show will highlight topics including system design, fish health, pond recirculation, waste management, economics hydroponics, and polyculture. The program also features poster sessions and a trade show.

Hosted by Virginia Tech, the conference is dedicated to sharing information on challenges and breakthroughs in recirculating aquaculture. Over the years, the conference has had participation from than 30 countries, making it one of the university’s most international conferences. In total, well over 80 papers and presentations will be showcased during this year’s event.

Virginia Tech is hosting both of these conferences during the same week, displaying the need for extensive collaboration and communication between aquacultural groups.

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