Organizers of West Virginia Universitys annual Aquaculture Forum hope to spawn new interests among participants by moving this years event to Charleston Jan. 19.

Also for the first time, the forum will offer a preconference field trip to the states largest private aquaculture facility Jan. 18.

Considered the place to be for anyone who wants to raise fish to eat, watch or sell, the forum will open its full Saturday schedule of workshops and presentations at the capital citys Ramada Plaza. Participants will learn about recent advances in aquaculture research, fish health and regulations. Pond owners will find information about managing ponds and aquaponics.

Other Saturday attractions include a business meeting of the West Virginia Aquaculture Association and opportunities to speak withfish folksfrom the region, said Ken Semmens, the WVU Extension Service aquaculture specialist who coordinates the forum.

Additionally, preregistered participants will travel Friday to West Virginia Aqua in Man, Logan County, to see the production and processing facilities that provide freshwater Artic char to consumers in West Virginia and throughout the East Coast.

The Arctic char is a North American fish that lives throughout polar areas. It has light colored spots on a dark background.

In previous years, the forum has been held at WVU Jacksons Mill State 4-H Camp near Weston. The popular event, which showcases West Virginia aquaculture products, draws participants from throughout the region.

Forum sponsors include the WVU Extension Service; WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences; West Virginia Aquaculture Association; West Virginia Department of Agriculture; and West Virginia State University.

The early registration fee is $15 (before Jan. 12). After that date, the registration will be $25 and can be paid by mail or at the forum Jan. 19.

Reservations must be made by Jan.12 for the field trip. The excursion has an additional $10 fee.

More details about the forum, registration and lodging are available at county WVU Extension Service offices and athttp://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/aquaculture. Additional information is available from Becky Casteel, WVU Extension Service, 304-293-6131 ext. 4231 or Becky.Casteel@mail.wvu.edu .