January 11, 2024 TAA

Overcoming Barriers to Expanding Aquaculture in Texas


Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi,

University Center, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412


Workshop Goals:

  • Characterize the status of aquaculture at the state and national levels.
  • Identify actions that facilitate responsible expansion in terms of policy or legislation.
  • Develop a strategy for educating and training an aquaculture workforce.
  • Identify priorities for research, technology, and market development.


Expected Outcome: A roadmap leading to sustainable expansion of aquaculture in Texas.


Monday January 22, 2024


8:00     Registration



8:30     Welcome and Opening Remarks    

Ahmed Mahdy, Vice-President for Research, Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Janet Donaldson, Associate Vice President for Research, Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Jim Ekstrom, President, Ekstrom Aquaculture, LLC

Penny Riggs, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University


8:45     Status of Texas Aquaculture

Fritz Jaenike, Executive Director, Texas Aquaculture Association


9:15     Status of U.S. Aquaculture

Sebastian Belle, Executive Director, Maine Aquaculture Association


Session 1 – Opportunities


9:45     Opportunities for Offshore Aquaculture

Ken Riley, Chief, Science Branch, NOAA Fisheries


10:15   Opportunities for Shellfish Aquaculture

Chris Hollenbeck, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M AgriLife Research


10:45   Break


11:00   Aquaponics

Joe Masabni, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension


11:30   Species of Interest

            Todd Sink, Associate Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension


12:00   Lunch                                                                                                                                    

Kent Satterlee, Executive Director, Gulf Offshore Research Institute & CEO, Blue Silo Aquaculture


1:00   Development of Aquaculture Markets

Lindy Zaleski, H-E-B Seafood Procurement – Business Development Manager


1:30     Aquaculture Research and Technology Transfer

Caird Rexroad, National Program Leader for Aquaculture, USDA Agricultural Research Service


Session 2 – Challenges


2:00     Responsible Growth/Engaging NGOs/Social License

Sebastian Belle, Executive Director, Maine Aquaculture Association


2:30    Meeting Regulatory Requirements for US Aquaculture

Carole Engle, Owner, Engle-Stone Aquatic$


3:00   Break (15 min)


3:15    Aquaculture Economics and Marketing Priorities

Shraddha Hegde, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University


3:45     Investing in Aquaculture

Max Holtzman, Principal, Ocean14 Capital


4:15     Labor and Workforce Development

Christian Brayden, Project Manager, Maine Aquaculture Association



5:00     Texas Aquaculture Association Business Meeting (Optional)



7:00     Dinner – El Camino restaurant, 314 N Chaparral Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78401, catered by Water Street Oyster Bar

Brad Lomax, Owner, Water Street Oyster Bar




Tuesday January 23, 2024


Session 2 – Challenges (continued)



8:00     Barriers to expansion of Catfish/Redfish/Hybrid Striped Bass- research &

            technology needs

            Todd Sink (moderator), Mark Kubecka (Homegrown Seafood), Jim Ekstrom (Ekstrom Aquaculture), Shane Nicaud (Gulf States Aquaculture), Chase Holub (Holub Fish LLC), Darrell Bowers (5B Farms)


8:30     Generating State and Federal Level Support

Paul Zajicek, Executive Director, National Aquaculture Association


9:00     Water Rights/ Land Availability & Cost and Long-term Sustainability

Jim Ekstrom (Ekstrom Aquaculture)


9:30     Aquaculture Extension Panel

Todd Sink (moderator), Mario Marquez (Aquaculture Specialist, Texas Sea Grant), Michael Schwarz (Director, Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center), Jimmy Avery (Extension Professor & USDA SRAC Director, Mississippi State University), Dennis McIntosh (Professor and Extension Specialist, Delaware State University)


10:30   break                                           


Session 3 – Solutions


10:45   Seafood Processing Discussion – Any needs/limitations?  Opportunities?

            Penny Riggs (moderator)


11:00   Breakout Groups – Working Discussions

Attendees will form small groups centered around workshop goals.

What did we miss, what changes are needed?

What are the barriers, what are the solutions to outline in the roadmap?


12:00   Working Lunch – Summarize and Close

            Breakout sessions will continue into lunch. Groups will report


2:00     Tours – Texas A&M AgriLife oyster research facility and TPWD fish hatchery or

            Texas Oyster Company.


4:00     Tours Conclude





Wednesday January 24, 2024


8:00 – 3:00 Optional Farm Tours (weather permitting)– Fish Farms and PMAR Shellfish     

                   Research Facility, Palacios, TX

Bowers & Saha redfish and Hybrid Stiped Bass farms and Palacios Marine Agriculture Research Facility.