- Animals: fish
- Animal Production: general animal production
Despite tremendous market potential, sustainable natural resources, significant environmental advantages and needed economic benefits, fish farming is not yet recognized as a viable agricultural business in West Virginia. Resistance to innovative ideas, lack of demonstrable results and difficulty acquiring financial resources for alternative farming methods have kept struggling West Virginia farmers from capitalizing on aquaculture and the hybrid striped bass market. The objective of this project is to demonstrate the viability of integrated fish farming by raising cage culture striped bass with goldfish, using minimal land and equipment. An integrated farming operation involving goldfish, striped bass and organic vegetables would provide an alternative to the harmful effects of traditional farming such as pesticides, soil erosion and waste pollution (which preceded the current concern with pfiesteria). By working in cooperation with other striped bass producers in northern West Virginia, we can improve production, profit and our state’s market presence. With demonstrable results and outreach activities, small farmers will be encouraged to integrate fish farming into their operations. In addition, demonstrable results would provide a better basis for financial assistance with new enterprises, promoting greater employment and economic impact. Specific project outcomes will include the demonstration of cost vs. profit factors, reduced fingerling mortality, intensive use of limited space and equipment, a reduction in adverse environmental impact, an increase in marketable WV hybrid striped bass, relevant production analysis, compatibility with organic farming and a sustainable operation.