Clemson Establishes New Center

For aquatics excellence

South Carolina Radio Network
May 22, 2018 - 2:17 pm

Clemson University is making sure South Carolina residents are properly educated to protect the state’s aquatic resources and the creatures that live in them.

The university has created a partnership with the state Department of Natural Resources and others in the outdoor industries to create the Fisheries and Aquatics Center for Excellence.

FACE will be housed within the Clemson forestry and environmental conservation department.

“FACE will fund projects that support South Carlina’s natural resources, specifically, funding science-based solutions to management problems,” Fisheries Ecology assistant professor Dr. Troy Farmer said. “We view FACE as supporting not only the research projects that investigate management priorities but also training the future fisheries biologists.”

Farmer said there’s a growing demand for people with expertise in fisheries management.

“There’s definitely a need for sound management of our natural resources and recently what we’ve seen is that there has been a decline in the number of programs nationally that train fishery biologists, so we see one of the key needs of this program is filling a gap that supports training the next generation of fisheries biologists.”

A recent study by Clemson and SCDNR estimated the annual impact of natural resources on the state’s economy to be $33.4 billion, which is actually the largest economic impact of any industry in the state.

“Not only do our students learn how to manage fisheries and wildlife, harvestable resources,” Assistant professor Dr. Brandon Peoples said. “But also things like water resources, water quality, that type of thing. So it’s really a holistic program.”

Farmer said the study revealed that fish and wildlife alone bring an estimated $1.7 billion to the state. He said these impacts affect everyone in South Carolina. “Promoting sustainable management of our natural resources provides benefits not only to those people that enjoy those activities, fish or boat, but also individuals that have jobs that are supported by the economic activities.”

“We really see the center as key in promoting the sustainability of South Carolina’s aquatic and natural resources and that these resources are really a key contributor to the quality of life in South Carolina, which is why people want to live here. It’s why companies want to locate here and so maintaining these fisheries and aquatic resources really has benefits for everyone.”Farmer said.

Peoples said in the broad scope of things, nurturing the state’s aquatic creatures means protecting the water itself.

“Protecting fisheries requires protecting of aquatic habitats, so in protecting aquatic habitats, not only do you protect those resources that people utilize for fishing and direct harvest and that kind of thing, but you also protect the numerous aquatic organisms that make South Carolina’s resources so diverse. So it’s kind of an umbrella term for overall aquatic protection,” he said.

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