World Aquaculture - June 2023

WWW.WAS.ORG • WORLD AQUACULTURE • JUNE 2023 25 Similar to terrestrial agriculture, ownership of catfish farms is being passed down to a younger generation that has limited exposure to the leadership skills needed in the current regulatory environment. Extension has assisted in college programs and partnered with commodity associations such as Catfish Farmers of America and Farm Bureau to offer educational opportunities to young men and women across the region. Some farmers have decided to transition out of production. Extension has assisted federal agencies in adjustment assistance programs as well as offering programs on developing catfish ponds into natural resource enterprises and navigating the federal Conservation Reserve Programs. Lonoke Business Academy The Lonoke Business Academy, located in Lonoke, AR is a skills-based education center where high school students are equipped with skills needed for career success. The options include careers on a college pathway, post-secondary training schools and careers leading directly to the workforce. Through the Business Academy, students from Lonoke and nearby towns have the opportunity to gain skills in industrial technology, diesel technology, agriculture, aquaculture and health professions. The Business Academy is a 30,000-ft2 building that includes classrooms, laboratories, an auditorium and meeting spaces. It is under a partnership with Arkansas State University-Beebe. The Academy is being supported by a tax millage which was passed by the City of Lonoke in 2020. Maine’s Aquaculture Occupational Standards and Apprenticeship Program In 2021, the Maine Aquaculture Association, in conjunction with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the University of Maine Aquaculture Research Institute released the nation’s first aquaculture occupational standards for shellfish and sea vegetable farms, marine finfish farms, land-based shellfish hatcheries and landbased RAS. The standards categorize the occupations found within each of the sectors listed, including associated duties, knowledge and understanding expected of employees. Working with the Maine Department of Labor and Educate Maine, the occupational standards were then used to create an apprenticeship program for shellfish and seaweed aquaculture. The apprenticeship program consists of 144 hours of coursework through Southern Maine Community College and 2000 hours of on-the-job training. Apprentices are hired as an employee of a farm and paid while they learn. Rhode Island Aquaculture Farmhand Online Training Program Rhode Island Sea Grant established an online training program in response to the COVID pandemic. The program offers skillbuilding for those considering employment as aquaculture farmhands. The Entry-Level Oyster Farm Worker/Science, Safety and Best Practices for Oyster Farming Workers course is free and provides instruction tailored to the specific education needs of beginner marine farmhands. The comprehensive program consists of 16 modules, all under one hour each, and features filmed tutorials covering a wide range of topics, including Ropes and Knots, Basic Shellfish Biology, Lifting Safety and How to Win at Work and Not Get Fired. Trainees can work through each module to achieve certification, although anyone may browse and access the course pieces for an informal education experience. Carteret Community College Aquaculture Technology Program Carteret Community College in Morehead, North Carolina, offers an Aquaculture Technology program and emphasizes applied marine sciences and mariculture. Lecture courses are offered in the traditional classroom or as online courses, which use Blackboard, an Internet portal with rich media content to enhance comprehension. The focus of the program is on marine species like oysters, clams and soft-shell crabs, and marine finfish like flounder, drum and bait minnows, but some freshwater aquaculture species are also covered. Students learn hands-on skills through the Aquaculture Practicum series. Skills such as water quality testing, system construction and maintenance, species collection methods and treatments, feeding and breeding technology are part of the practicums. Students also work with program partners in the industry in practicums and in the cooperative work experience course. Partners include university and government marine sciences laboratories, fishery management agencies, public aquariums, environmental non-governmental organizations as well as commercial aquatic businesses. The Carteret Community College facility is a 5,000 ft2 state-of-the-art showcase for applied marine science, aquatic hatchery and marine biotechnology work. Graduates of the program find employment on private farms and government hatcheries or at public aquariums. They may also start new businesses in fish, shellfish, or aquatic plant farming, aquatic management services, home/office aquarium or water gardening services. Seafood Safety through HACCP In late 2001, New York Sea Grant launched the Segment One Online seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) course as part of a new training model that allows participants to complete a self-paced online course prior to attending a one-day in-person training. This was an alternative training model to the traditional 2.5- to 3-day basic training. This model was launched to make the training more accessible by limiting the time commitment (CONTINUED ON PAGE 26) FIGURE 4. Moss Point, MS High School students attending a luncheon at Aquaculture America 2023 to learn about careers in aquaculture.