The University of Florida/IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory (TAL) has strong working partnerships and affiliations with local, state, and federal agencies as well as numerous industry organizations.
Florida Aquaculture Association (FAA)
The FAA serves as the umbrella assocation for all of the commodities in Florida's diverse aquaculture industry. The Tropical Aquaculture Lab provides support for FAA's conferences and educational programs, and the FAA assists TAL with representation from a client's perspective in regards to state research funding.
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS)
The University of Florida's Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) have one of the strongest partnerships in the state. Since the beginning of the Tropical Aquaculture Lab, FDACS has been a major partner in our programs, funding the original refurbishment of the main offices as well as the purchase of the experimental fish farm. Faculty and staff have worked closely with many of their divisions and offices, including the Bureau of Pesticide Licensing, the Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing, and the Division of Aquaculture.
FDACS Division of Aquaculture
The FDACS Division of Aquaculture and the TAL have a very strong partnership centered around the Division’s Best Management Practices and applied research for commercial producers. Science–based information developed at the TAL is often used to develop and/or modify management and regulatory strategies to insure profitable production while at the same time protecting our state’s waterways and wildlife resources.
Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association (FTFFA)
The Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association is the main industry association which helps guide the research and extension programs at the TAL. Through their research committee, projects at the TAL are prioritized to insure the highest possibility of a positive impact on the state’s farmers. Faculty and staff work closely with their board of directors and members to assure the TAL programs are on target with the industry needs, and the FTFFA also supports the TAL with funding for critical projects .
Hillsborough County has been one of the main partners at the TAL since the beginning, assisting with the original construction and development of the TAL. For 20 years they have provided funding to assist with the management of the offices and programs.
Hillsborough Community College (HCC)
Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon campus has a 2 year, Associate of Science program in aquaculture that uses the TAL as home for their production classes and training. One of the 5 greenhouses at the TAL is dedicated to them and their students. All of the students are required to participate in internships on working fish farms, which includes the TAL.
National Aquaculture Association (NAA)
The National Aquaculture Association serves as the nation’s representative for all the various aquaculture commodities in the US. The TAL works closely with the NAA to assure the needs of the tropical fish and ornamental aquaculture community is represented at the federal level. The NAA has been very supportive of the TAL, including providing assistance in securing the partnership with USDA VS.
Rising Tide Conservation
Rising Tide Conservation is a non-profit organization supporting research and development in marine ornamental fish production. The TAL has been a major partner in this program since it began in 2010. Rising Tide has funded several research projects at the TAL, including the successful reproduction of the Pacific Blue Tang.
USDA NIFA was a major supporter of the TAL’s research program through a Special Research Grant that lasted for over 10 years. While that program no longer exists, TAL and NIFA continue to work together to assure that tropical fish and ornamental aquaculture are participants in USDA NIFA’s programming, especially within the Southern Regional Aquaculture Center.
USDA Southern Regional Aquaculture Center (SRAC)
Tropical fish and ornamental aquaculture are well represented within SRAC both from industry representatives and from technical committee membership including faculty at the TAL. Several regional projects have included tropical fish issues as a result of this partnership.
The Florida FFA and the TAL are partners in the Aquaculture in the Classroom program. Each spring, the Tropical Aquaculture Lab hosts the annual Aquaculture Career Development Event tests and competition for middle and high schools in the state.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
FWC and the TAL work closely together, in the fields of non-native species and invasion biology, and aquatic animal health. As the agency charged with the control and regulation of non-native aquatic species, FWC has relied on TAL faculty to conduct research in this are that can then be used to guide management decisions. TAL faculty and staff also work closely with FWC in the area of aquatic animal health, assisting with stock enhancement health assessments and policy.
NOAA National Weather Service
The National Weather Service and NOAA provide the no-cost lease for the main office complex at the TAL and also assist in providing site specific weather data as their new offices are located on an adjacent property.