Historically Black University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff recently opened its new Fish Health Inspection Laboratory. Located in Lonoke, Arkansas, the lab is one of 11 facilities nationwide approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The facilities conducted testing to enable farmers to require health certificates so they can export fish and other aquaculture species to other states and nations. The lab will test each fish species a producer sells for viruses identified by the World Organization for Animal Health.
Speaking at the opening of the new facility, Senator Jonathan Dismang, President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas Senate, stated that “aquaculture is a $160 million industry. We produce 80 percent of the U.S. baitfish here in Arkansas. Making sure we have the APHIS certification ability to ship fish out around the country and even the world is critical to our community here and to our economy locally.”
Laurence B. Alexander, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, stated that “our extension efforts at the lab, combined with the overall land-grant mission of the university, enable us to proudly contribute to the prosperity of our state through enhancing the economic growth and development of this sector of the state’s top industry.”
Dr. Alexander is the ninth chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Before joining UAPB in 2013, he served as the associate dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida. Chancellor Alexander is a graduate of the University of New Orleans and the law school at Tulane University. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and a doctorate in higher education from Florida State University.