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Curriculum: Agriculture: Exploring Aquaculture [ 119.23(c)(2)]

The Texas Legacy site hosts a variety of educational curricula, lesson plans, keys and ideas, and supporting media, including video, databases, transcripts and other material.  Below you can find the TEKS Agriculture standards for Exploring Aquaculture, as described in section 119.23(c)(2), with relevant activities drawn from this archive.

Goal:  The student determines the biological principles, growth habits, anatomy, and morphology of aquaculture plants and animals:


Excerpts of TEKS Text

TexasLegacy.org  Relevance

Suggested Activities


(A)  identify the types and nature of aquaculture production;



The TexasLegacy.org archive includes narrators from aquaculture, icthyology research, sportfishing, coastal advocacy, commercial shrimping and Gulf fishing, each of whom brings experience but a different perspective about aquaculture.


Watch the video of Clarence Ogle, as he shows how he manages his tilapia operation.  While his operation is on a relatively small scale, and restricted to this freshwater finfish, its basic principles apply to much larger scale aquaculture facilities raising catfish, shrimp, salmon, cod and other fresh and salt-water species.



(B)  know the current status and potential of aquaculture at local, state, national, and international levels; and



Aquaculture is a new industry that has faced growing pains from problems with disease, exotic species escape, and swamping of fish market prices due to glut.  TexasLegacy.org participants can give students a closer look at the industry's development and current status.



In her transcript, Seadrift shrimper Diane Wilson explains that 90% of the shrimp eaten in the U.S. is farm-raised, much of it abroad, and this market trend is decimating the American shrimping industry, which is getting paid roughly what it was 40 years ago, despite the intervening inflation in all their expenses.  She also points out that the farms consume a great deal of fresh water, while releasing viruses in their tailings. 

The Flower Bluff marine biologist, Henry Hildebrand gives more detail about the viruses involved, focusing most of his concern on the history of viral damage (which wiped out the shrimp farming industry in China), and the White Spot virus' ability to leap from species to species, residing in and infecting native shrimp and crabs.

Port Mansfield sportfishing guide Walt Kittelberger echoes Ms Wilson's and Dr. Hildebrand's concerns about the wastewater discharges, and adds that a number of the farms have contaminated the underlying soil, and then been abandoned.


(C)  discuss the origins of productive aquaculture.


TexasLegacy.org narrators can help us understand why aquaculture started, and grew, through examining the pressures on conventional fishing.


To better understand the origins of aquaculture it is important to see the problems that have long affected, or perhaps newly touched, fishing. 

One issue for fishermen is the sheer danger of the industry.  In 2005, fishing was ranked as the most hazardous occupation in the U.S.  This excerpt from our interview with red snapper fisherman, Felix Cox, tells about the day he had to abandon his fishing boat in stormy waters.

Another problem for fishing is that of bycatch, the unwanted, and discarded, fish that are caught on lines or in seines.  Bycatch damages equipment, costs extra fuel to haul, and can harm non-target species.  Sometimes these non-target species are rare or endangered, such as the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles that can be caught in shrimp nets (please watch Laguna Vista shrimper Deyaun Boudreaux explain their precautions).

A third problem for commercial fishermen is the competition with other fishermen.  There has been rivalry with sportfishermen, who at times have the extra income and political connections to outmaneuver the weekday fishermen in getting access to a scarce resource.  A visit with Port Mansfield sport fishing guide, Walt Kittelberger  may help one understand that sport culture.  Also, according to marine biologist Henry Hildebrand, the Anglo-American shrimpers have also seen competition from Vietnamese shrimpers, at the same time as the number of outstanding licenses was declining, and the neighboring fisheries in Mexico had closed.

A final, but major, issue pressing the development of aquaculture is the decline of wild fisheries.  The collapse, largely unnoticed, of some endemic spring fish described here by Austin icthyologist Clark Hubbs is an example of the slide of major saltwater fisheries. 



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