Watson, Craig

Director, Tropical Aquaculture Lab, Aquaculture
Florida Sea Grant Affiliate Faculty

Craig Watson, a native of Miami, began his career at a tropical fish farm in 1974. Craig paid his way through his undergraduate at Florida State University by working at a local tropical fish store, and afterwards worked for a year as shipping manager of a wholesale tropical fish cooperative in Riverview, Florida. He then spent three years as a volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps in Tunisia, where he assisted in a marine hatchery producing sea bass, sea bream, sole, and shrimp. After Peace Corps he did his graduate work at Auburn University in aquaculture.

Craig joined the University of Florida as a multi-county aquaculture extension agent in April of 1988. In 1997, he was appointed director and research coordinator for the newly established Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory.

Both through his research and working one-on-one with Florida producers, Craig has developed expertise in a wide range of issues surrounding the commercial success of ornamental aquaculture including reproduction strategies, hatchery and system design, chemical and drug usage, and environmental practices. His life’s work has taken him to every continent except Antarctica, focusing on issues surrounding aquaculture and capture fisheries involved in the aquarium industry.

As director and research coordinator of the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, he is responsible for assuring the programs and staff are providing the fundamental support to Florida’s farms as mandated by the Land Grant mission.

Craig has also served on several boards including the Florida Aquaculture Association, the National Aquaculture Association, and the Florida Aquarium. A father of two, Craig enjoys outdoor activities, especially camping, fishing, and boating.

Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory
1408 24th Street SE
Ruskin, FL 33570

(813) 671.5230 ext 107


  • M Aq, Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures, Auburn University, 1988
  • BS, Biology, Florida State University, 1981