The Aquaculture Program has been developing tilapia production systems for the US Virgin Islands since 1979. The initial efforts focused on cage culture of tilapia in watershed ponds that had multiple uses for livestock watering and crop irrigation.
Early work in aquaponics began with research by Barnaby Watten and Robert Busch, recorded in the journal article "Tropical Production of Tilapia (Sarotherodon aurea
) and Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum
) in a small-scale recirculating water system." Aquaculture, 41 (1984) 271-283. Elsevier Science Publishers.
James Rakocy joined the team in 1979 and expanded the Aquaculture Program with the development of research and demonstration systems in aquaponic and biofloc systems.
Early barrel and wading pool systems developed by Watten and Busch, circa 1980.
Expanded facilities, 1985 and today, 2009.
The UVI Aquaculture Program offers a course annually, The International Aquaponics and Tilapia Aquaculture Course, to interested students, entrepenuers and farmers. This education program makes extensive use of the facilities with hands-on training in the practical aspects of aquaponic and biofloc systems and tilapia producton.