O.L. “Lanier” Green

While talented horticulturists are described as having a “green thumb,” skilled fish culturists are said to have a “slick thumb.” And O.L. (Lanier) Green is remembered as having one of the slickest thumbs in Alabama.

Green, who was originally from Peddle, Mississippi, received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Southern Mississippi. In 1954 he began his work in fisheries at a hatchery in Frankfurt, Kentucky. Five years later, he was selected to attend the Warmwater Fish Culture School in Marion, Alabama.

Upon his completion of this additional training, Green accepted a job as a fish culturist with the Southeastern Fish Lab in Marion. Once retired from this position, he began a consulting service that served most of the catfish farmers in eastern Mississippi and the Blackbelt of Alabama. He also wrote a book describing spawning and culturing of channel catfish in laymen’s terms which was widely used by west Alabama’s earliest catfish farmers.

During his career, Green worked to improve aquaculture by using a common-sense approach. For example, Green established a hatching system which uses a combination of egg-collection cans, fry troughs and moving water to hatch eggs. He also was the first person to hybridize all of the local species of catfish. In fact, a commercial hatchery is producing hybrid crosses of channel and blue catfish today greatly because of Green’s past research. In addition, he studied and developed a simple, but effective way of combating hamburger gill. He discovered that dragging a heavy iron bar across the bottom of the pond would interrupt the cycle of the parasite causing the condition, thus eliminating the problem. Many of Green’s methods are still in use today.

Through extensive research, Green was involved in the discovery of the best feed for farm-raised 2 catfish, the elimination of the CO problems in the ponds and the solution of the anemia problems in the fish. But perhaps his biggest accomplishment was his research on off-flavor; Green determined that by adding organic algaecides, he could rid the fish of this problem.

As a five-time world champion crow hunter, an avid deer hunter and a talented turkey hunter, Green enjoyed any type of hunting. And of course, he loved to do what he knew best – fish.

Green passed away on March 9, 1998. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Martha; his two daughters, Vicki and Lisa; and one grandson.