North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference
For more information, contact:     Angela Jamison
Communicopia Marketing Services
(919) 827-1689
  Cathy Smith
North Carolina State University
(919) 515-6780

Fish growers focus on future of aquaculture at annual conference

Industry experts and others gather to discuss farm-raised fish research and trends


(Raleigh, NC, Jan. 10, 2013) — The North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference draws a mix of fish farmers, aquaculture experts and others from throughout the country to discuss research and current trends of farm-raised fish and seafood. Aquaculture is one of the most diverse segments of agriculture in the state and this annual educational conference ultimately benefits consumers who buy and serve farm-raised fish as an affordable protein source.

Fish grower Sally Eason, CEO of Sunburst Trout Farms, is a featured speaker during the 2013 North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference, planned for Feb. 7-9 in New Bern. Eason has attended the conference since 2009. Her main message during this year’s conference presentation will be the role locally produced, farm-raised fish plays in meeting the United States’ demand.

In 1948, Eason’s father Dick Jennings opened Sunburst Trout Farms as the first commercial trout processor in the South. The third-generation family owned and operated farm sits on seven acres in Canton, North Carolina, located 35 miles southwest of Asheville.

It grows 250,000 pounds of trout each year – of which 91 percent is sold within North Carolina – and supplies fish to more than 400 chefs across the country. It is one of the few farms that still grows, processes and manufacturers fish on location and the only trout farm that produces and sells 15 different trout products, including fillets, caviar, sausage and jerky.

"Within the next 10 years, there won’t be enough protein left in the seas or on land to feed the world. Aquaculture changes that. It’s an environmentally friendly, sustainable production method that yields top-quality, farm-raised fish," said Eason.

The conference’s theme, Fish: Made in the USA, is intended to remind North Carolinians of the role aquaculture plays in our state and nation.


(Link to this high-resolution photo)

North Carolina trout farmer Sally Eason is one of the speakers during the NC Aquaculture Development Conference, Feb. 7-9, 2013, in New Bern. Eason will discuss the role locally produced, farm-raised fish plays in meeting consumers’ demand.

(hi-rez photo)

"The conference provides an opportunity for academics, farmers and anyone interested in aquaculture to meet, share information, and understand each other’s thoughts and practices. We discuss innovative production methods and available government resources for growers," Eason said.

Charles Hudson, Sunburst Trout Farms’ research and development chef, will lead a demonstration on how to cook with a milder fish like rainbow trout using a variety of simple recipes that can be replicated and prepared at home.

The conference begins on Thursday, Feb. 7 with area fish farm tours. Presentations and the popular AquaFood Fest, which features ample quantities of the state’s finest farm-raised fish and shellfish, start Feb. 8 on New Bern’s Riverfront at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 100 Middle Street, New Bern, N.C. The event concludes Feb. 9 with concurrent workshops on the resources available to succeed in freshwater and marine aquaculture. Registration and event details are available at Email for questions about the conference.

About the North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference

The North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference is a private, non-profit corporation formed in 1991. It provides support through promotion, marketing and other beneficial acts to strengthen, expand and diversify the industries of freshwater and marine aquaculture in North Carolina. The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the lead state agency for aquaculture.

Premier Conference Sponsor
Pentair Aquaculture Technologies

Conference Sponsors
NC Aquaculture Association
NC Cooperative Extension
NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
NC Farm Bureau Federation
NC Sea Grant Program
NC Shellfish Growers Association
NC Small Business & Technology Development Center
NC State University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences