New Director of Aquaculture named

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By The Staff

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam has announced that Kal Knickerbocker has accepted the position of Director of Aquaculture at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“Kal has served this agency and the aquaculture industry well for almost three decades,” said Putnam. “We are proud to see him provide leadership to continue to grow aquaculture in our state.”

The new aquaculture director visited Cedar Key on June 13 to meet with clam farmers concerning a proposed expansion of clam farming areas in Cedar Key. The farmers, who are receiving historically low prices for their clams, are opposed to the expansion, but they would like to see farmers with unproductive leases be able to exchamge their site for better locations. They are also opposed to a plan allowing one wholesaler to expand his production area from about 5 acres to 20 acres. 

Knickerbocker assumed the position of acting director for the Division of Aquaculture in March. Prior to that, he served as a bureau chief and an environmental administrator in the division. His duties included oversight and monitoring of all state shellfish harvesting areas, inspection and certification of shellfish processing plants to protect public health and ensure shellfish quality, management of the state’s aquaculture submerged lands leases and aquaculture best management practice inspections.

Knickerbocker has been with the agency since 1984. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wartburg College in Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in information studies from Florida State University.