Marine Resouorces Division
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Claude Peteet Mariculture Center, operated by the Alabama Marine Resources Division, is located roughly halfway between Bon Secour Bay and Wolf Bay on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores, Baldwin County, Alabama.
CPMC has been utilized for many activities since its construction in 1973, including basic and applied research into the intricacies of estuarine and marine ecology.
Much of the initial work sought to expand aquaculture"s horizons, to add names to the list of fish and invertebrates which could be cultured in closed aquatic systems.
More recently, the station has been used as a recovery tool, the production site for thousands of striped bass and red drum for annual restocking of depleted coastal fisheries.
CPMC is used in a support role for coastal fishery management. Facilities at CPMC include wet and dry lab space, shop and storage facilities, and brackish water pond space.
Good science is encouraged and fostered by the brackish water pond layout at CPMC. Each of the 35 lined culture ponds are virtually identical in size (0.11 hectares), shape (rectangular, roughly 2:1 length to width), and volume (approx. 1 million L each), and provide tremendous potential for replicated experimentation.
All ponds are equipped with piers for monitoring and catch basins for harvesting cultured species.
Each pond has a concrete catch basin approximately 12' long x 6' wide x 18" deep, for consolidating culture organisms for harvest. A 6" drain line (PVC) was installed that drains into a central ditch/in turn to a 36" culvert that returns water back to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
Facilities include closed, recirculating culture systems for brood fish management (approx. 4,700 L) and larval/juvenile rearing (approx. 14,000 L). Temperature control for these two systems is common, through a single 7.5 ton, 100% forced air heat pump. Temperature control is stable and precise, but not highly nor rapidly variable. A brood management area with approx. 13,500 L water capacity and precise, rapid control of temperature and photoperiod, and mass production facilities for algae and rotifers/brine shrimp are in good working order at CPMC. Flow-through wet lab space for brief holding, processing, treating, etc., of fish, shrimp, etc., totals approx. 23,000 L. Dry laboratory space for microscope work, chemicals, meters, etc., and restroom facilities complete the CPMC laboratory.
Three greenhouses contain a series of assorted sized plastic and fiberglass circular and rectangular tanks. They range in size from 30 gallons to 5,000 gallons and are used as larval and juvenile culture tanks.
A fourth greenhouse contains six recirculating fiberglass tanks (each tank is 5' x 12' in diameter containg 5000 gallons) which are used as maturation tanks to induce red snapper to spawn. Each tank is individually controlled with respect to temperature and photo-period.
All ponds have been backfllled with approx. 18 in. (450 mm) of topsoil to promote the benefits of a healthy benthos. Rapid drain-and-fill turnover is acheived from the high-volume submersible pump installed in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Fall, 1994. An entire row of ponds has been fitted with aeration via blowers and PVC pipe and valves. Discharge from all culture activities is recycled through an artificial, 0.4-hectare salt marsh built specifically for removing pollutants and improving overall discharge water quality.