Rebecca Lochmann, Interim Chair
Larry Dorman (Extension)
Anita Kelly (Extension)
George Selden (Extension)
Extension Assistant Specialist
Higher Education Institution Program Coordinator
The UAPB Aquaculture & Fisheries Center of Excellence is an academic, research and Extension Center dedicated to the development and transfer of timely, problem-solving information. The Center’s primary mission is to respond to immediate and future needs of the state’s aquaculture industry, and fisheries and aquatic resource managers through quality teaching, research and Extension programs. Primary beneficiaries of the Center’s activities are students, aquaculture producers, aquaculture support industries, farm pond owners, fisheries and aquatic resource managers, sportsmen, and other residents of Arkansas.
The center is dedicated to (1) applied and basic aquaculture and natural fisheries research; (2) dissemination of scientifically validated research results through Extension and advanced educational techniques that contribute to the economic development of Arkansas, the Delta region in particular; (3) the aquaculture industry of Arkansas; and (4) the responsible conservation and management of Arkansas’ natural fisheries and other aquatic resources.
The Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence at UAPB is recognized nationally as a leader in aquaculture and fisheries teaching, research, and Extension programs. It is the only comprehensive aquaculture program within the University of Arkansas system to support the nation’s second-largest aquaculture producing state. Additionally, the Center contains a natural fisheries component that provides scientifically-based management support to the state’s recreational fishing industry, which has an economic impact of over $750 million annually.
The Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries is the administrative unit for the academic programs in aquaculture and fisheries sciences at UAPB. The Department and the Center are administered conjointly and function together as an integrated unit. The three principal academic programs offered in the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries are the B.S. Degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries Sciences, the M.S. Degree in Aquaculture/ Fisheries, and the Ph.D. Degree in Aquaculture/ Fisheries. The B.S. Degree has four different options available for students to facilitate tailoring of the degree towards specific career goals. These options include General, Fisheries Science, Aquaculture, and Aquaculture & Seafood Business. Complete information on the M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees is included in the catalog of Graduate Studies.
Goals of the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries’ B.S. Degree Program in Aquaculture and Fisheries Sciences (all options):
- To educate students to acquire critical aquaculture skills to prepare them for employment in the fish farming industry, fish processing plants, fish feed mills, and in other aquaculture support industries
- To educate students in essential areas of fisheries management, aquatic ecology, natural resources conservation, and related environmental fields for employment with state and federal natural resource agencies or in the private sector
- To educate students in key areas of the seafood business industry, including training in management, economics, finance, marketing, and accounting, for employment in the seafood business sector
- To prepare students in the disciplines of aquaculture, fisheries, aquatic ecology, and related environmental fields who can pursue graduate degrees in diverse areas of study that include aquaculture, fisheries, agriculture, veterinary science, toxicology, ecology, food science, agricultural and natural resource economics, and related fields
The Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries is housed on the second floor of Woodard Hall, which was originally built in 1950 and renovated in 2004-2005. This building houses the Center Director, faculty, research support staff, administrative and clerical staff, and graduate students. This building has a computerized teaching classroom outfitted with modern interactive teaching software. The Department also has a computer laboratory for undergraduate students, a departmental library, a conference room, and a work area for computer service and maintenance.
UAPB owns and operates a 70-acre Aquaculture Research Station located on the UAPB campus. The station includes 113 earthen ponds ranging in size from 0.1 to 0.5 acres each. Twenty of the 0.1-acre ponds are enclosed in bird-netting for baitfish studies. A 5-acre reservoir used for water storage is located adjacent to the station along Caney Bayou, with additional water supplied by both shallow and deep irrigation wells. Electric power is available for all ponds. Forty 8-foot diameter polypropylene outdoor tanks are used for fish health, nutrition, and water quality studies. A fish holding facility that consists of eight roof-covered vats (17’x 4’x 3’) on a 1,600 square-foot concrete slab is used for fish health, grading, and teaching purposes. A three-part 5,400 square-foot main hatchery building houses tanks and aquaria of various sizes and associated support equipment for research purposes. These facilities also can be customized for different research applications. Since 2011, 39 of the station’s ponds have been completely renovated, with six ponds converted into three experimental split-pond systems.
Other facilities at the station include the Value-Added Product Development and Demonstration (VAPDD) Building, the Aquaculture Equipment Development Building for research and development of new aquaculture equipment, and the Aquaculture Research and Development Laboratory for baitfish, plankton, water quality, and physiology research. Other storage buildings for feeds, chemicals, nets, tools, trucks, and farm equipment also are located on site.
UAPB also has an 871-acre farm north of Lonoke, Arkansas. This farm includes 200 acres of ponds (13earthen ponds ranging in size from 10to 29acres), and eight electric wells. The ponds have been used as a demonstration unit for aquaculture and natural fisheries research and Extension education.
The S. J. Parker 1890 Extension Complex houses offices, a research library, the 122-seat S.A. Haley Auditorium, and additional research laboratories. The UAPB Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratory is located within this complex. This 1,153 square-foot laboratory is one of four laboratories operated by UAPB that specializes in fish health and disease research. The Lonoke Diagnostic Laboratory is located at the center of the U.S. bait and feeder fish industry. The Lake Village Diagnostic Laboratory serves the bulk of the Arkansas catfish industry. The Jonesboro Diagnostic Laboratory serves a diverse group of fish producers located in northeastern Arkansas. These four labs provide critical services and support to Arkansas’ aquaculture industry. The lab on the UAPB campus serves as the main coordinating lab and provides advanced diagnostic services (histology, quantitative PCR, pathogen identification) to the other laboratories. In addition, this lab assists with research-related fish health problems from the other labs and ponds at the Aquaculture Research Station, and handles a significant number of fish disease cases from outside of Arkansas. The UAPB laboratory is USDA-APHIS approved to inspect fish shipments for export and is one of the most active labs in the USDA-APHIS Farm Certification Program. Similar USDA-APHIS certification is pending for the Lonoke laboratory.
The S. J. Parker Agricultural Research Complex houses several research laboratories that support the Center. This building contains a 219 square-foot laboratory that is equipped for fish disease diagnosis. Another 700 square-foot laboratory contains facilities for immune response and stress research. Studies on fish nutrition are conducted in two separate labs, including a wet lab for feeding trials and a 1,000 square-foot analytical laboratory that contains a walk-in cooler/freezer, an ultra-cold freezer for sample storage, equipment for preparation of experimental diets, and instrumentation for analysis of feeds and tissues.
Support facilities for natural fisheries research include a 2,256 square-foot Fisheries Research Laboratory and a 2,400 square-foot boat storage facility. The Fisheries Research Laboratory contains a wet lab with five independent recirculation systems (eight 20-gallon aquaria per system) and twenty 170-L flow-through polytanks in a light-controlled environment. The lab also includes standard fish work-up facilities, freezer space, microscopes, and specialized equipment for fish aging, fish tagging, ploidy manipulation, and fish taxonomy. The adjacent boat storage building houses up to 10 research boats from 10-18 feet in length, with engines ranging from 5-70 hp. The department has two electrofishing boats, one barge electrofisher, two backpack electrofishing units, work boats for various types of standard sampling gears (e.g., trawls, gill nets, trap nets, fyke nets, hoop nets, seines, and larval tow nets).
The department has additional laboratory space available in the Holiday Hall Applied Science Building. Shared with the Department of Agriculture, this facility contains teaching and research laboratories with dissection and analytical equipment available. In addition, wet laboratories and associated tanks and aquaria are available for classroom exercises or individual student experiments. The building also contains a departmental fish collection.