NANFA-- visit to VTU

Christopher Scharpf (
Thu, 04 Mar 2004 19:29:23 -0400

Tuesday and Wednesday I had the pleasure of being an invited guest of the
Virginia Tech Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Tuesday night I
gave my slide presentation on North American freshwater fish diversity to an
appreciative audience. On Wednesday I had an hour-long meeting with one the
fisheries professors discussing ways to increase awareness of our beleagured
natives. (Some of you may recall that VTU produced the stunning "Swimming in
Troubled Waters" poster and video a few years back.)

Also on Wednesday I toured their aquaculture facility. One building houses
their endangered mussel breeding operation. They weren't breeding mussels
just yet (they need to wait until later in the spring to go out and collect
broodstock). But they were acclimating several tanks of darters (lots of
gilt darter), rainbow trout, and hogsuckers as hosts for the mussel
glochidia. It was interesting to see the lengths they were going through in
order to keep the water cool. They also grow LOTS of green water to feed the

Another, larger building is where they're conducting several nutrition and
grow-out trials. One room had tank after tank of hatchery raised summer
flounder (the flounder served in restaurants and sold at seafood markets).
VTU is developing a prepared feed for the flounder, and are testing
different formula to see which one makes the flounder grow faster, bigger
and healthier. They're also experimenting with different color tanks (red,
blue, black, green, etc.) to see if one color or another facilitates the
growth of the color-sensitive fish. In fact, they were painting the tanks
while I was there. Imagine taking a 10-gallon tank and literally painting
it, glass and all.

A larger room, the size of a small warehouse, housed large fiberglass tanks
and raceways for aquaculture experiments involving cobia, tilapia, striped
bass, and yellow perch. One potential use of the yellow perch is for
eventual introduction into the Great Lakes (should the zebra mussel problem
ever be solved).

Other rooms housed horseshoe crabs and "golden" trout (an albino form of
rainbow trout that some anglers like to catch).

With an on-campus hotel, passionate and engergized faculty and students, and
nearby access to lots of great streams, it struck me that VTU would be a
perfect place for a NANFA convention. (VTU is in SW VA, about 30 min. south
of Roanoke.) In fact, the possibility was briefly discussed. (Hey, Mike
Thennet, would you be up for investigating the feasability of such? I can
give you more details offlist.)

Chris Scharpf
/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,