Marketing - Aquaculture
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services is the lead agency for the aquaculture industry in North Carolina. The Division of Aquaculture and Natural Resources issues the aquaculture license, is a source of general information on aquaculture, and provides farmers with published information on the economics of aquacultre and with one-one-one business counseling. The Division also participates in the National Association of State Aquaculture Coordinators. The Department also maintains seven veterinary diagnostic labs to help farmers maintain healthy fish.
Extension agents with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service work with potential and existing fish farmers in the state. Extension personel can help farmers with everything from finding inputs like feed and fingerlings, to maintaining good water quality. NC State University also provides water tests so that farmers can critically evaluate water supply when selecting a site. The North Carolina Sea Grant Program also has extension agents to help aquaculturists. Sea Grant agents work primarily with off-shore aquaculture, including shellfish aquaculture.
The USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service office in each county (check the listing in your phone book, or check with your county extension office) helps farmers evaluate potential sites for fish farms and plan pond layouts.
The NC Division of Water Resources can help potential aquaculturist navigate well drilling permits and requirements/restrictions.
The NC Division of Water Quality can help potential aquaculturist with discharge requirements/restrictions for potential farm sites.
Brunswick Community College and Carteret Community College have aquaculture technology programs with classes to help beginning farmers.
North Carolina also has a number of producer organizations that can assist new farmers, and an annual Aquaculture Development Conference helps new farmers and keeps existing farmers up to date on advances in the industry.