USM purchasing $7.7 million fish hatchery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

USM purchasing $7.7 million fish hatchery

Some $7.7 million in BP money is being used to purchase the Aqua Green fish hatchery in Stone County. (Photo source: WLOX) Some $7.7 million in BP money is being used to purchase the Aqua Green fish hatchery in Stone County. (Photo source: WLOX)
The hatchery will be taken over by USM and used to meet the governor's goal of producing 10 billion oyster larvae a year. (Photo source: WLOX) The hatchery will be taken over by USM and used to meet the governor's goal of producing 10 billion oyster larvae a year. (Photo source: WLOX)
STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

It's an aquaculture program that will benefit research, academics and the so-called "blue economy." The state is using $ 7.7 million of BP money to purchase a fish hatchery in Stone County.

The Aqua Green facility will soon be operated by USM as an oyster hatchery. The commercial hatchery had focused primarily on fin fish, like tilapia. But when the governor's oyster council began looking at ways to boost the ailing oyster industry, a critical component was operating an oyster hatchery to provide larvae.

"This is what we do, and so as oysters became sort of a focus for the state, it only made sense that they come to us, because we're the people who do that," said Dr. Gordon Cannon, USM vice president for research.

"All they do is swim and look for food and try to get bigger," said Max Westendorf, as he viewed oyster larvae through the microscope.

Producing tiny oyster larvae will be the main mission of the hatchery. The goal is to produce 10 billion oyster larvae a year for the state.

"When they get to the biggest size we raise, they look like flecks of pepper swimming around in the water. It's these little black spots," said Westendorf, who serves as project manager.

The primary purpose of the hatchery will be to provide "seed oysters" to help boost the ailing oyster industry in Mississippi.

"We've gone from 400,000 sacks pre Katrina, a year, to less than 27,000 last year. So, there's just not much of a resource left," said Dr. Read Hendon, the associate director of the Gulf Coast Research Lab.

The hope is that this facility could help boost those numbers, dramatically in the future.

"We're not into making oysters to sell. We're into helping people who want to make oysters, increase the economic development potential. That's what we do," said Dr. Cannon.

The director of USM's School of Ocean Science and technology says using BP money to purchase this hatchery is a wise use of the money.

"We're trying to not just restore what was damaged during the oil spill, but decades of impacts that have resulted in the loss of oyster production. So this is the right way. This is good use of the money," said Dr. Monte Graham.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Update: Teen charged in crash involving Gulfport police officer

    Update: Teen charged in crash involving Gulfport police officer

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 6:54 AM EST2018-01-23 11:54:09 GMT
    Eli Daniel Bosworth, 18, is charged with motor vehicle theft and felony fleeing and eluding.  (Photo source: Gulfport Police Dept.)Eli Daniel Bosworth, 18, is charged with motor vehicle theft and felony fleeing and eluding. (Photo source: Gulfport Police Dept.)

    A Gulfport police officer is on the way to the hospital with serious injuries Monday night after an accident at Three Rivers Road and Creosote Road.

    More >>

    A Gulfport police officer is on the way to the hospital with serious injuries Monday night after an accident at Three Rivers Road and Creosote Road.

    More >>
  • Friends hope no foul play in death investigation

    Friends hope no foul play in death investigation

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 6:54 AM EST2018-01-23 11:54:09 GMT
    A friend described Erin as a religious woman, a good mother, and outgoing.(Photo source: Facebook)A friend described Erin as a religious woman, a good mother, and outgoing.(Photo source: Facebook)

    Erin Hamilton's body was run over by a car, but the driver told police she was already lying in the street. Police say the circumstances surrounding her death are suspicious.

    More >>

    Erin Hamilton's body was run over by a car, but the driver told police she was already lying in the street. Police say the circumstances surrounding her death are suspicious.

    More >>
  • Possible change to Waveland vehicle take home policy could impact police officers

    Possible change to Waveland vehicle take home policy could impact police officers

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 12:02 AM EST2018-01-23 05:02:07 GMT
    The city is planning on making changes to its take home policy. (Photo source: WLOX News)The city is planning on making changes to its take home policy. (Photo source: WLOX News)

    Full-time Waveland city workers, primarily police officers, who take-home vehicles outside of the city limits could see a change to the city's policy soon. City leaders said the current policy is antiquated and needs to be rewritten into something that would benefit both the officers and the taxpayers.

    More >>

    Full-time Waveland city workers, primarily police officers, who take-home vehicles outside of the city limits could see a change to the city's policy soon. City leaders said the current policy is antiquated and needs to be rewritten into something that would benefit both the officers and the taxpayers.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly