Bluefield State College has received approval from the State College System of West Virginia to offer an associate degree program in aquaculture (fish farming), beginning with the Fall 1997 Semester.
The aquaculture program, which will be taught through BSC's Beckley Campus with aquaculture-specific courses to be offered on site at Minaqua's Lillybrook operation, is the first of its kind in West Virginia.
The restricted enrollment, two-year program is designed to cultivate graduates' "skills in technology, critical thinking, computer literacy and communication necessary in aquaculture." Aquaculture has been identified as an emerging industry with excellent employment prospects within southern and southeast West Virginia, according to results of research into employment opportunities within the industry.
"The future of aquaculture in the United States is bright and expansion is expected to continue," noted Aquaculture Magazine Buyer's Guide 1996. "The demand for aquaculture products will continue to remain high because the wild fish harvest has reached its limit and aquaculture is the only means of producing the supply of products needed by the consumer."
BSC and the West Virginia Department of Education have been involved in a cooperative relationship since the initial stages of the aquaculture program's planning and development. Representatives from the aquaculture industry have also been involved as partners in the planning process. The aquaculture program will be administered as a degree program of the Division of Engineering Technology and Computer Science.
Additional information may be obtained by contacting the BSC Office of Admissions at (304) 327-4065.