The Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative’s Aquaculture work includes: student exchanges [link], technology exchanges, research, workshops, and mission trips [link]. The Negev Foundation has drafted a background study on aquaculture trends and needs in Ohio and Israel. The Initiative also facilitated discussions between OSU’s Ohio Center for Aquaculture Development in Piketon, private growers, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research National Center for Mariculture in Eilat, and other researchers and growers in both regions.
Ohio’s aquaculture industry is a relatively new and expanding agriculture sector, using mostly open ponds. Aquaculture, which accounts for 3% of Israel’s total agricultural production, is increasingly intensive, and occurs in open ponds, greenhouses, raceways, open-water cages, and closed recirculating systems. Israeli producers tend to favor high-tech tools more than Ohio producers. Over 75% of the water is non-potable. Some species are unique to each region, others which are grown in both include: tilapia, rainbow trout, catfish, grass carp (white amur), freshwater prawn, and koi and other ornamentals.
Connecting Israel and Ohio Researchers and Experts
To link aquaculture specialists and experts from OSU and Israel, OIAI Program Director Sarah Horowitz, Ph.D. participated in aquaculture events in both regions. On December 8, 2008, Dr. Horowitz interviewed the Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development staff about Ohio’s aquaculture industry and its needs.
Following this meeting, Dr. Horowitz traveled to Israel to represent the Initiative at the Israel Aquaculture Association Annual Meeting and Trade Show from March 3-5, 2008. The event provided an opportunity to meet with Israel’s Aquaculture Extension Service Director and other aquaculture specialists in order to discuss Israel’s aquaculture industry and its needs. Based on the input from these meetings, specific recommendations were made on how Ohio and Israel’s aquaculture industries may benefit from enhanced cooperation with each other.
As a result of these activities, Ofer Brezak, President of Galidi Corp. Ltd. became interested in developing a lake restocking aquaculture project in Ohio. He consulted with OSU Extension Aquaculture staff members on this project. In addition, an enhanced awareness of aquaculture extension activities in both regions and identification of areas for future cooperation also resulted from this collaboration. back to top
In the past few years, Israel’s aquaculture industry was dramatically impacted by outbreaks of KHV. The Kovax KHV vaccine, a product developed as a result of this outbreak, may help Ohio aquaculture farmers protect their fish from a similar outbreak. The Initiative has worked with Kovax, an Israeli company that produces vaccines for fish and other animals, and an Ohio entrepreneur in bringing the vaccine to America. The Israeli and Ohio companies are currently waiting on APHIS approval for the vaccine and are considering building a vaccine production facility in Ohio. Preliminary tests in a U.S. laboratory study demonstrated the vaccine’s effectiveness on fish. The Ohio company (Kovax USA Inc.) and Israeli companies are looking into the production of a vaccine for VHS, which has devastated fish populations in the Great Lakes region.
Collaborative research could include fish nutrition, physiology and genetics, including single-sex production; aquaculture engineering and recirculating aquaculture; alternative (grain and vegetable) proteins for fish and livestock feeds; pathology and diagnostics; reducing production costs; and marketing. The Initiative is considering having an Israeli graduate student conduct dissertation research at the Piketon lab. The research will explore the use of Israeli technologies, as well as funding options for converting Ohio livestock barns into recirculating aquaculture facilities.
In 2005, the Initiative organized a delegation of Ohio aquaculture specialists to Israel. The delegation toured aquaculture facilities including research laboratories, fish farms, and Mediterranean Sea cages. During their trip, members of the delegation spoke with Israeli aquaculture experts and met with tilapia genetics researchers.
In August of 2006, two aquaculture specialists from Israel visited Ohio where they met with Ohio aquaculture experts from both the private sector and academia and visited aquaculture facilities such as a trout hatchery. The groups also discussed the needs of the aquaculture systems of both countries’ and how they may be addressed. In addition, The delegation took the time to establish contacts with Ohio farmers and researchers for future collaboration. back to top