On Saturday November 17 the VALOR Fellows visited the facilities of Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Technology. www.maatfarms.com/Home.html (MAAT) There we met with MAAT’s Farm Manager, Mr. Chris Bentley. Mr. Bentley began his career in Aquaculture at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology. He then earned his Masters Degree in Biology with a focus on Aquaculture at UNCW specializing in Spawning and Broodstock Management. Mr. Bentley came to MAAT about three and a half years ago as Farm Manager.
During our tour Mr. Bentley described MAAT’s operation. We began with observing and learning about their system of collecting, sterilizing and heating water to the appropriate temperature for their operation and then touring the entire facility. MAAT is involved in the entire Aquaculture process from hatching facilities, to feeding and monitoring fingerlings to the finished product of Black Sea Bass to be harvested for consumption.
Mr. Bentley described the specialized equipment necessary to facilitate their operations and demonstrated some materials and procedures used to construct much of the equipment utilized in their operation. In addition we learned about quality control issues and how an Aquaculture operation must be monitored closely at all times to insure success.
Mr. Bentley then explained how MAAT has been and is still aggressive in marketing their product to restaurants all along the east coast.
It was very exciting and informative for the VALOR Fellows to experience an Aquaculture operation and learn about this somewhat new and emerging segment of Virginia agriculture. Thanks to Mr. Bentley and MAAT for having us for a visit.