PIKETON, Ohio -- Ohio State University's South Centers at Piketon, located off State Route 32 in Pike County, may not look like the ideal place for lake sturgeon, largemouth bass and blue gill. But it's full of surprises. The facility boasts the only fish genetics lab in the Midwest and is the cornerstone of research and education for Ohio's $6 million aquaculture industry.
Farmers, businesses, fish enthusiasts, or just the plain curious are invited to OSU South Centers Aquaculture Field Day on June 13 to learn more about the aquaculture program, how its research benefits the industry, and gain knowledge about aquaculture species from the popular (yellow perch) to the new (baitfish) to the unique (shrimp).
"The field day gives visitors the chance to see what we are all about and what we are doing in the aquaculture industry," said Laura Tiu, an Ohio State University aquaculture senior research associate. "People expect to see such setups on a large campus, but not in Piketon, Ohio."
The Aquaculture Field Day will take place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Admission is $5, which includes handouts, snacks and drinks.
The field day will consist of self-guided walking tours of the South Centers Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development facility. Visitors can stop at various stations to learn more about fish breeding and genetics, pond management and construction, indoor aquaculture production and culture demonstrations. OSU Extension educators and aquaculture researchers will be on hand to explain research, exhibit various fish species and answers questions. Visitors will also have access to books, videos and other resources on aquaculture.
The aquaculture research at OSU South Centers at Piketon focuses on Ohio's top three aquacultural and recreational fish: yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass, and important baitfish species.
According to the USDA, aquaculture sales in Ohio have increased 73 percent since 1998, and the state ranks in the top 10 for yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass production. Ohio ranks No. 1 in sales of yellow perch for food and is No. 1 for bluegill production. Ohio ranks fourth in baitfish sales and fourth in largemouth bass production sold for sport. The state also ranks sixth in sales of hybrid striped bass sold as a food fish.