Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program

Kevan Main, Ph.D.
Program Manager, Senior Scientist; President of the World Aquaculture Society

About • Research Projects • Publications • Project Snook •
Aquatic Plants
• Aquaculture Facilities

The Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program is developing the technologies needed to raise fish species with a high market value and/or a high recreational demand. This Program investigates a variety of marine fish and invertebrates and freshwater environments.

This Program investigates a variety of marine finfish and invertebrates including common snook, Florida pompano, red drum, hard corals and long-spined sea urchins. The information we gain through this research will be used to produce fish and invertebrates for restocking depleted species in the wild and to meet our growing national demand for seafood. Mote's Marine Aquaculture Program conducts research at Mote Aquaculture Park in eastern Sarasota County and at our Tropical Research Laboratory in the Florida Keys.

The United States seafood trade deficit is $10 billion per year — a trade deficit that is second only to that of our oil imports. At the same time, the federal government projects that the demand for seafood in the U.S. will continue to increase over the coming decades. The projected demand will require a six-fold increase in domestic aquaculture production or a commensurate increase in imports over the next 25 years — further increasing this country's seafood trade deficit.

Growing enough food to meet the needs of a population is one foundation of a strong national defense. A safe and stable food supply is paramount to our nation's existence. In this day and age, when the security of our food supply is more at risk than ever before, it is essential that we develop the capability within U.S. borders to meet the growing demand for seafood and that it be meant in a way that does not threaten our environment.

Given that our oceans have reached their maximum sustainable yield, this projected demand for seafood can only be satisfied by aquaculture production. At Mote, we believe that recirculating aquaculture systems are one approach to the production of a safe and sustainable seafood supply.

Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture Research Projects 

Project Snook
Project Snook — formed in 2010 by Addictive Fishing Television, McCabe Productions, Inc., Star brite boat wash and Mote — is an awareness and fundraising campaign designed to help science rebuild wild snook populations .

Snook — already depleted in the wild due to years of recreational fishing pressure — suffered a big hit in January 2010 during the deep freeze that descended on Florida. The record low temperatures resulted in the loss of thousands of snook. Mote scientists are working to perfect the techniques needed to use captive-breeding to help rebuild wild populations — especially in the wake of such widespread fish kills.

Addictive Fishing Television, with host Blair Wiggins, and Kevin and Patrice McCabe of McCabe Productions, Inc., have been working to tell the stories of this snook research by creating short videos that show viewers how science at Mote is working to support snook conservation. Through Project Snook, anglers also have the ability to help scientists make a difference by making a donation. “Whether it’s $5 or $500, every donation is supporting the research at Mote being used to produce snook for later release to the wild,” says Dr. Kevan Main.

Aquatic Plants
A major effort at Mote Aquaculture Research Park focuses on water reuse and on finding ways to dispose of any solid fish waste. Mote is working with Aquatic Plants of Florida to use wastewater from freshwater farming and solid waste from saltwater farming to grow wetlands plants for habitat restoration projects.

Reap What You Sow

Aquaculture done right is a remedy for the world's food supply problem. And just as undeniable is the importance of your support for one very progressive aquaculture program.
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About Us

Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.

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Wednesday 23