Nine out-of-ten seafood products consumed in the U.S. are imported, totaling a $16 billion seafood trade deficit, and half of these imported fish were reared in aquaculture operations. The recently funded Sea Grant StriperHUB (NOAA) centered in North Carolina will address this deficit by developing striped bass as a candidate aquaculture species to strengthen the domestic seafood industry and boost the economies of coastal and rural communities of the U.S.
Currently, there is no appreciable aquaculture of white-fleshed marine fishes in the country, due to the limited number of candidate species. A candidate species has a premium price, high consumer demand, and adapts well to localized production environments. Research conducted over several years shows that striped bass meets all of these criteria.
While hybrid striped bass is a successful freshwater aquaculture species, particularly in the South and Midwest ($50 million farm gate value 2018), there is an untapped demand for pure-strain marine striped bass by consumers in coastal states. Culturing striped bass as a candidate species allows for diversification of the industry to coastal areas as they can live in fresh or saltwater, unlike hybrid striped bass. However, both striped bass and hybrid striped bass see high market demand.
“We are building upon NC State’s research and development of six generations of marine striped bass that have been bred in captivity,” explains Ben Reading from NC State’s Department of Applied Ecology. “In addition, the early reception from consumers and servers of traditionally wild-caught striped bass shows they love the farm-fresh taste, too.”
The new StriperHUB will be coordinated by North Carolina Sea Grant and will integrate with other Sea Grant programs, industry partners, government researchers, policymakers, and university scientists to consolidate and streamline striped bass commercialization efforts. This collaboration will define striped bass markets and economics of production, develop education and training programs, clarify regulatory permitting and licensing procedures, and promote comprehensive outreach and visibility among likely producers and consumers of this new seafood product, which will be available in markets along the Eastern U.S. Coast.
Ben will present at the North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference, which will convene March 12 to 14 in New Bern, where the team will prepare and plan for StriperHub’s next stages. For more about the conference, visit NCaquaculture.org.
North Carolina Sea Grant – Lead Institute
- Frank Lopez, Principal Investigator and StriperHub Director; NC Sea Grant Extension Director
- Barry Nash, Co-PI. Sea Grant Outreach, Seafood Technology and Marketing Specialist
North Carolina State University (NCSU)
- Benjamin Reading, Co-PI and StriperHUB Program Coordinator. Co-Coordinator National Program for Genetic Improvement and Selective Breeding for the Hybrid Striped Bass Industry, Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Ecology
- Russell Borski, Co-PI and StriperHUB Southeast Regional Coordinator. Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
University of New Hampshire (UNH)
- David Berlinsky, Co-PI and StriperHUB Northeast Regional Coordinator. Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems.
University of Maryland/Maryland Sea Grant
- Matt Parker, Co-PI. University of Maryland Extension/Sea Grant Aquaculture Business Specialist.
New York Sea Grant/Cornell University
- Mike Ciaramella, Co-PI. Sea Grant Seafood Safety and Technology Specialist
Carteret Community College
- David Cerino, Co-PI. Chair, Aquaculture Technology Program
Other Collaborators and Cooperators
- Michael Chambers (New Hampshire Sea Grant)
- Stacy Pigg (North Carolina State University, Department of English)
- Andrew McGinty (North Carolina State University, Pamlico Aquaculture Field Laboratory)
- Matt Brooker (North Carolina State University, Department of History)
- Carolyn Dunn (North Carolina State University, Agricultural and Human Sciences)
- Greg Bolton (North Carolina State University, Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences)
- Eugene Won (Cornell University)
- Adam Fuller (USDA ARS Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center)
- Jason Abernathy (USDA ARS Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center)
- Steve Rawles (USDA ARS Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center)
- Mike Frinsko (North Carolina Cooperative Extension)
- Steve Gabel (North Carolina Cooperative Extension)
- Travis Brown (Brunswick Community College)
- Joseph Bursey (North Carolina State University, Lake Wheeler Field Laboratory Fish Barn)
- John Davis (North Carolina State University, Grinnells Aquatic Research Facility)
Seafood/Aquaculture Industry Partners and Cooperators
- Manna Fish Farms, Inc. (Long Island, NY), Donna Lanzetta and Konstantine Rountos Artesian Aquafarms (South Mills, NC), Gary Sawyer
- Locals Seafood (Raleigh, NC), Ryan Speckman and Lin Peterson
- Pungo Fisheries (Pinetown, NC), Craig Perry
- Cargill, Marc Turano
- Marshallberg Farm (Smyrna, NC) and Lapaz (Lenoir, NC), IJ Won
- Delmarva Aquatics (Smyrna, DE), William (Skip) Bason
- OnleyTheBest (Hertford, NC), Aubrey Onley