Learn about aquaculture from experts through new webinar series

Michigan Sea Grant to present on aquatic invasive species hazard course.

Baitfish farm is shown using AIS-HACCP/Aquaculture Biosecurity procedures. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant
Baitfish farm is shown using AIS-HACCP/Aquaculture Biosecurity procedures. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, the U.S. Aquaculture Society, and the National Aquaculture Association are collaborating to produce 12 free industry educational webinars during the balance of 2016 and early 2017. The first webinar on aquaponics has already occurred and can be viewed online and more are on the way.

The webinars will focus on a variety of regulatory, management practices, production, marketing, and species topics of interest to growers. Many of the topics will cover timely information presented by experts in the field. Those with an interest in aquaculture should participate in these informative programs.

In a recent North Central Region Aquaculture Needs Survey (2014), several priorities were identified for species information, extension activities, and needed outreach tools. This aquaculture webinar project plans to address many of these needs by providing information and monthly access to extension specialists, researchers and industry leaders through the creation of an online North Central Region aquaculture learning community.

Supporting information (fact sheets and research papers) will be linked into an electronic handout. Brief presentations will be followed by online discussion and a question and answer period. At the completion of the webinar, participants can complete an online evaluation, and receive additional supporting documents. Webinars will be recorded for future viewing and posted online on the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center website (www.NCRAC.org), and/or other affiliated extension websites. Upcoming webinars can also be found at this website.

Michigan Sea Grant will present information on Aquatic Invasive Species-Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (AIS-HACCP) in an August 2016 webinar. The potential exists for aquatic invasive species to spread to uninfested waters through the transport of wild harvested baitfish and aquacultured fish.

Baitfish and aquaculture industries are diverse and complex, as are their risks of spreading aquatic invasive species. Most industry segments pose no or very low risk of spreading aquatic invasive species. To deal effectively and fairly with this potential vector, it is important to characterize the industry according to their risks of spreading aquatic invasive species. Without adequate risk assessment of individual operations, regulations could be imposed which would unnecessarily negatively impact the economy of these industries and still not effectively reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species.

One approach to this problem is to apply the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) concept similar to that used by the seafood industry to minimize seafood consumption health risks. The advantages of this system are that it can effectively deal with a diverse industry, it has proven to be a good partnership between industry and government regulators, and when properly applied is effective. The HACCP approach concentrates on the points in the process that are critical to the safety of the product, minimizes risks, and stresses communication between regulators and the industry.

The baitfish and aquaculture industries have been proactive in using the HACCP approach to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by participating in training programs and implementing HACCP plans that are specific to their operations.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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