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The Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (ACE) is a unique venture on campus. Technologists raise grass carp which are released into waterways to control weed growth. The recycled water is used to grow vegetables in the ACE greenhouse.
Aquaculture research began at Lethbridge College in 1989 with the first studies on the efficacy of triploid grass carp in controlling rooted aquatic vegetation in irrigation canals. The success of this research led to a partnership with the Eastern Irrigation District (EID), in which the college was to produce certified triploid grass carp fingerlings which would be grown out and sold by EID. Although the early involvement by EID was replaced by a partnership with the Alberta Aquaculture Association (AAA) in April, 2003, an outcome of this early partnership led to the construction of a state-of-the-art aquaculture facility at Lethbridge College in 1997
As part of an add-on to an intensive recirculation aquaculture operation, aquaponics operations began in 2002 and advanced research is currently funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The seeding of plants begins in March for the production of a select variety of vegetables, herbs and water plants which all utilize the nutrients available in the water supply as provided by the fish. Since the water used by the plants is recirculated back to the fish facility for reuse, pests can be managed through biocontrol, eliminating the need for herbicides or pesticides. All aquaponics produce is harvested and sold twice weekly starting around May until the end of October. See our aquaponics section for more information on produce, pricing and availability.