Since 1983, the Clemson Aquaculture Facility has been conducting research in an effort to improve aquacultural technology. A major accomplishment at the university has been the development of the Partitioned Aquaculture System (PAS) which was initiated in 1989, and was subsequently patented. The system has increased fin fish production from 3,000-5,000 lbs/acre/year to 15,000-25,000 lbs/acre/year. A marine system, constructed in 2002, inside a 0.25 acre greenhouse in 2002 has produced 35,000 lbs/acre/year. The system also reduces water requirements by 90 percent per pound produced (See SRAC Publication No.4500, available at the main office of the facility).
Over the years, research at the facility has been performed on many species including: catfish, tilaipia, crayfish, shrimp, mussels, oysters, redfish, and hybrid and striped bass. As of 2006, 35 post graduate degrees have been granted to students, in three departments, whose research was conducted at the facility. Current projects include a four year study attempting to improve fingerling catfish production, and an ongoing effort to increase shrimp production in the marine PAS.
Endowed Chair David Brune, a primary investigator at the facility, was given the 2006 Godley Snell Award for outstanding research.
The Aquaculture Facility at the Clemson University Calhoun Outdoor Laboratory has twenty-one 0.1-0.3 acre replicate ponds, ten 1/4 acre crayfish ponds, six 1/3 acre PAS units, four 1/36 acre PAS units, and one 2-acre commercial-scale PAS unit. This unit contains a single oxidation ditch-dividing wall providing for a 1200-ft loop channel for water treatment and algal growth.
In addition, a 2800 ft2 aquaculture handling facility houses a 6000 gallon tank area, hatchery area, office, and feed storage area. Aquaculture also has a 1200 ft2 recirculating facility, currently used for winter production of tilapia biomass. Agricultural and Biological Engineering has opened up a 3600 ft² water chemistry lab with full capability in water quality, chemical, and instrumental analysis, including a recently acquired total carbon analyzer.
In 2002 Clemson installed a quarter-acre greenhouse covered shrimp culture facility.