Researchers set sail on Minnesota food-fish aquaculture study
Researchers are beginning a three-year study to determine the potential of a sustainable food-fish aquaculture industry in Minnesota.
Project lead Amy Schrank, an extension fisheries educator in the University of Minnesota Sea Grant program, tells Brownfield producers need to know if there is a market before investing.
“We are hoping to fill that gap in information so producers can go to lending institutions (and) banks to try to get funding for their businesses.”
The team will conduct detailed interviews with food-fish farmers and distributors to figure out production costs, and they’ll also look at consumer preferences.
Project member Don Schreiner, another Sea Grant fisheries extension educator, says a lot of the food now used in aquaculture is being created from soybeans.
“So there’s a lot of protein food that we grow in the Upper Midwest that we could actually use as feed for the fish populations that we’re raising. And we don’t need to rely on fish meal or fish oil that comes from fisheries in the ocean.”
Schrank says they will use the results of the $250,000 study to develop an outreach program to share data and recommendations with the food-fish aquaculture industry, policy makers, and the public.
Schreiner says it’s important to point out the study could reveal that there is not a competitive aquaculture market in Minnesota, and that finding would help prevent people or businesses from getting into economic trouble.