New organization talks fish oil, coastal stewardship at seminar - Carolina Coast Online: Coastal Issues

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New organization talks fish oil, coastal stewardship at seminar

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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 4:24 pm

BEAUFORT — Stewards of The Future, a new regional exchange group formed by local marine researchers, held its first seminar Monday at the Duke University Marine Lab.

The group’s seminar was on fish oil production and coastal stewardship. Todd Miller, executive director of the N.C. Coastal Federation – a local nonprofit dedicated to protection the state’s coastal environment – and Tony Bimbo, technical consultant with International Fisheries Technology, were speakers at the seminar.

Mr. Miller spoke about his experiences helping his father, Ted Miller, with his research at Marine Chemurgics, a small, commercial lab he ran. Mr. Miller spoke about how his experience their influenced his decision to go into coastal conservation and to found the NCCF.

Mr. Bimbo, who has worked for 50 years in the fish oil industry, spoke about working with Ted Miller and about petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow menhaden oil to be used for human consumption.

Dr. David Green, professor and extension specialist at the N.C. State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology in Morehead City in the seafood lab and co-chairman for the stewards’ planning committee, said Ted Miller’s work was some of the first done on fish oil and its impact on human health. He said that previously, all menhaden oil was sent to Europe because it wasn’t allowed for human consumption.

“Now, it’s a $25 million industry,” he said.

This seminar is the first held by Stewards of The Future. Dr. Green said the stewards’ work began in 2011, when several faculty members from local marine research institutes got together to support the creation of the Marine Biotechnology Center of Innovation at the N.C. Biotechnology Center. Members included Dr. Green, Dr. Rachel Noble from the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City and Dr. Pat Tester from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Beaufort.  

“We successfully supported creation of the COI,” he said. “Our aim was to create the center as an incubator for businesses to help with the coastal economy. We worked so well together, Mark Phillips, director of the biocenter’s east region, suggested we form this group.”

The STF began receiving funding from the biocenter in the fall of 2012. The stewards plan to use their funding to hold two to three seminars each year on issues that are important to coastal communities.

Dr. Green said the stewards’ steering committee is open to suggestions from the coastal community.

“We want to encourage exchange between the business community and the scientific community,” he said. “We want something with a local tie that’s important to the community.”

The stewards are already planning their next seminar; they intend to hold one on aquaculture at 5:30 p.m. April 8 at the DUML Repass Center. Other topics being considered for seminars include invasive species (particularly lionfish), alternate energy sources besides wind energy, species identification for seafood consumers, water quality, ecotourism and global warming (with a potential focus on sea level rise).

While the stewards are focusing on seminars for now, they hope to expand to more projects in the future. Dr. Green said two new members are joining their steering committee: Susan White, the new director of N.C. Sea Grant, and Dr. Debora Mosca, chief executive officer of the Marine Biotechnology COI.

“That will give us more options for what we can plan in the future,” Dr. Green said.

One additional project the stewards have planned is to highlight individuals in the local area who have contributed to coastal stewardship. As part of this project, Mr. Miller and his family were presented with a certificate commemorating the work Mr. Miller’s father did in fish oil. The stewards also intend to put up a plaque in Ted Miller’s honor in the lobby of the CMAST lab.

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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  • morehood city res posted at 10:37 am on Mon, Feb 18, 2013.

    morehood city res Posts: 392

    people give/p!$$ money away all the time, it just so happens that the government is the best at it. the uneven distribution of wealth doesn't help either, pick a group throw your money at it, get something named after yourself, it is the american way! whatever makes you feel good about yourself, meanwhile some of the truly worthy causes get overlooked

  • francis posted at 9:46 am on Sun, Feb 17, 2013.

    francis Posts: 2900

    It is like you read my mind. Just another group that thinks they know just a little bit more than we do and is after their slice of the taxpayers pie. Probably can't get a real job so lets make one up. Worked for the coastal federation and other non-profits .

  • justrite posted at 5:56 am on Sun, Feb 17, 2013.

    justrite Posts: 206

    DO WHAT? Is this a self forming and self expanding forum appointing new members to talk about what ever will keep them busy in order to seek state and federal funds to continue to talk about what? Dedications already being made for what? Fish oil for human consumption? We know this already but what is this groups article all about? Self serving and self awarding for further expansion for what? State and Federal funds to talk about what? The shad are wiped out not from overfishing but pollution. The mackerel is next. Every time major dredging operations occur in the inlets and along the beaches it effects the normal occurance and natural runs of schooled fish how about studing that? NOT TO MENTION PUMPING HEAVY METALS ON THE BEACHES TO BE MIXED UP EVEN MORE IN THE SURF zone for us to swim in talk and study that. Remember why its called dredge spoils? Coastal stewardship my foot look who builds in the marshes and makes property in the marshes if you want to study something about water quality?