Craig Tucker (’74, Zoology) is recognized as a leader in warmwater aquaculture and is considered by many as the father of the catfish industry. His career has focused on farming North American catfishes, considered the largest and most important aquaculture sector in the country and a critical economic development activity in the rural southeastern region. His work addresses improving farm efficiency and managing the environmental impacts of farming activities.
In 1980 he became the first scientist in Mississippi State University’s aquaculture research program. Tucker’s research helped the catfish industry grow from a local farming activity to the largest producer of cultured seafood in the United States.
Tucker has authored or co-authored nine books and more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. Tucker, who retired from MSU in 2012, feels that his time at HSU prepared him for this journey. “Attending an intimate, teaching-focused college seems to give people social skills, confidence, and a way of learning that serves them throughout life.” Since retirement, Tucker has been serving as the lead researcher for the USDA-ARS Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit. In 2017 he was named a Fellow of the World Aquaculture Society and was recognized as Alumnus of the Year for the Auburn University College of Agriculture.