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Aquaculture in the Classroom

students next to fish tank

The FWC Fish and Wildilife Research Institute's (FWRI) Aquaculture in the Classroom program engages students in activities that help them learn about stock enhancement and its role in supporting Florida's marine fisheries. The program is designed for students ranging from fifth grade through college, teaching them the basic principles of aquaculture (fish-raising), marine research and how to become stewards of natural resources.

Since this program began in 2001, more than 25 Florida schools from Miami to Gulf City in the Panhandle have participated. Currently, there are 12 schools actively participating in the program, most of which are from the Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee tri-county area near FWRI's Stock Enhancement Research Facility (SERF) in Port Manatee. SERF provides participating schools hatchery-reared red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), along with starter feed and technical advice on how to raise the fingerlings in the classroom.

FWC staff members work with teachers, who develop a curriculum that satisfies Florida Sunshine State Standards and provides students the opportunity to design aquaculture systems, perform daily animal husbandry (care) routines and conduct research projects. At the end of the school year, FWRI staff members collect the fingerlings, which are returned to the hatchery to be used for outreach and education exhibits.

To learn more about participating, or to refer a teacher or school for this program, please contact