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Public event part of annual N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference

NEW BERN – The 30th annual N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference returns to New Bern March 7-10. The conference features workshops, seminars and farm tours for aquaculture farmers across the Southeast. This year’s event also will include the first-ever Cultured Seafood Festival offering a variety of all-you-can-eat aquaculture dishes for the public.

The Cultured Seafood Festival will be held on March 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. Chef James “Smoke” Boyd, owner of The Flame Catering and Banquet Centre will offer variations of aquaculture dishes including North Carolina oysters, crab cakes, clams, tilapia, mountain trout, hybrid striped bass, crawfish and catfish. Tickets are $50 per person and are available online on the event site at http://www.ncaquaculture.org/registration.html.

“The Cultured Seafood Festival offers visitors a chance to discover the variety of farm-raised seafood available in North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Aquaculture is a great example of our state’s diverse agriculture industry, and contributes about $58 million annually to the state’s economy.”

The N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference includes an aquaponics workshop on March 7. On March 8, there will be presentations for those interested in starting or just beginning an aquaculture operation, as well as tours of a prawn-to-crawfish farm and hybrid-striped bass farm. Friday and Saturday’s events include research presentations, workshops and a trade show. Speakers will provide market insights, best management practices and industry updates for aquaculture operations. The keynote speaker is Tom Losordo, professor emeritus from N.C. State University and co-founder of the N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is one of the sponsors of the event. More information about the conference, including online registration and hotel details, is available at www.ncaquaculture.org.