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Dr. Steven Hughes, professor at Cheyney and marine biology director of Aquaculture Research and Education Laboratory (AREL), hosted the exhibit.
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“The Aquaculture Research and Education Laboratory was established at Cheyney back in 2004,” Hughes said. “I have been the director of it since inception. Its purpose is to educate students, provide technical support for the industry and to make people aware of the aquaculture industry here in Pennsylvania and to promote U.S. aquaculture.”
The university created the specialization in aquaculture in 2014, which studies the culture and growing of aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment.
The AREL on campus is a 5,000-square foot aquaculture facility where the students learn.
“We have a number of students involved in it,” Hughes said. “We led to the development of at least two commercial operations with our help and we provide technical information to anyone who calls.
“We do everything from fish nutrition and physiology, trying to make the culture situation better for the fish. We do research on aquaponics, which is the linking of fish and plant culture together and we also look at resource management problems, such as restoring fresh-water mussels into streams around the area.”
The program now allows students to major in marine biology.
This year, Cheyney put up a display at the Farm Show for the first time.
“We brought, along with just information, we brought tilapia, koi and rainbow trout to display,” Hughes said. “Our representation here at the farm show is because we work with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. This is a partnership we’re working with here for the display.”
Hughes said he felt the display has been a nice hit at the Farm Show and would like to continue to attend each year.
“I think we have been fairly popular,” he said. “We’ve had as many as 250 to 300 individuals come to our display within an hour. I think we’ve done well for ourselves.”