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WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey has adopted the Aquaculture Development Act of 1997; and

WHEREAS, as part of that Act the State of New Jersey officially recognizes aquaculture as a form of agriculture; and

WHEREAS, the Aquaculture Development Act designates Cumberland County College (CCC) as the site of the Aquaculture Training and Information Center for the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, CCC has developed an Aquaculture Demonstration Center (ADC) for the production of tilapia utilizing a water reuse recirculating aquaculture system; and

WHEREAS, CCC has made substantial progress in demonstrating the technical feasibility of producing tilapia in a recirculating aquaculture system; and

WHEREAS, further technical refinements and economic analysis must be completed prior to commercialization of a system utilizing similar technologies; and

WHEREAS, initial market development efforts have indicated that commercial markets for New Jersey aquaculture products exist and can be further developed to support a local finfish aquaculture industry; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey has fallen behind other states in the region in the development of a finfish aquaculture industry; and

WHEREAS, facilities such as ADC, when integrated as a work/study component of regional institutions of higher education in rural areas provide an extremely effective didactic matrix to foster and optimize the scholastic pursuits of that fraction of the student population having unconventional academic inclinations, which is a very critical mission.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 92nd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 13, 2007, urge the Department of Agriculture to enthusiastically support the development of aquaculture in New Jersey.  We further urge the Department to support the continued operation of the Aquaculture Demonstration Center at Cumberland County College by advocating that the State of New Jersey annually support basic operations including salaries and supplies required for conducting aquaculture demonstrations and research in the amount of $125,000, thereby enabling CCC to achieve its full potential for the benefit of the existing and future aquatic farmers of New Jersey.