A signing ceremony highlighting the recently formed “Mississippi Blue Crab Aquaculture Consortium” will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 22 at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, Miss.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by The University of Southern Mississippi, Alcorn State University, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Consortium members will work together to develop blue crab aquaculture in Mississippi.
In 2002, the GCRL became part of the Blue Crab Advanced Research Consortium, a partnership between the University of Maryland’s Center of Marine Biotechnology, The University of Southern Mississippi, Smithsonian Environmental Research Consortium, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and North Carolina State University.
Scientists in the Consortium made groundbreaking progress in understanding basic blue crab biology and in developing blue crab larval culture techniques. As a result of this collaboration, Mississippi is one of only two states in the U.S. with a blue crab hatchery.
Goals of the consortium include but are not limited to the following:
· Establish a center for development and outreach/technical assistance to serve as a resource to participant farmers.
· Identify participant farmers.
· Expand current hatchery capacity to increase seed crab availability and decrease cost of production.
· Develop marketing strategies for a new domestic product.
· Evaluate economic feasibility.
For more information about the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, contact Martha Brown at 228.872.4200 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/