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Univ of WI-EXT Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility 2010


<OL> <LI> Develop and distribute electronic and written aquaculture extension materials focusing on key factors constraining the growth of Wisconsin's aquaculture industry. This includes the following publications (or videos) on: <OL type="a"> <LI> Analysis of production parameters and costs of yellow perch grow-out to food size in recirculating aquaculture systems. <LI> Rules and regulations of fish processing in Wisconsin.<LI> Current state of the art for training/raising walleye on dry feeds. <LI> Feasibility of producing lake herring, a new potential cold water aquaculture species. <LI> Video on feed-training pond-raised yellow perch fingerlings, summarizing state-of-the-art methods, and updating current relevant research projects. <LI> Video demonstrating the spawning, fertilization, disinfection, and incubation of various game-fish species including walleye, northern pike and muskellunge. <LI> Floating raceway and pond-side rearing tank production techniques. <LI> Three model fish disease Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans, one each for flow-through, pond, and recirculation systems. i. Video on fish farm biosecurity.</ol> <LI> Develop and facilitate a coordinated set of aquaculture workshops at various locations in the Great Lakes Region. Topics include:<OL type="a"> <LI> The Four P's of Safe and Sustainable Aquaculture Industry: Practices, Presentation, Promotion and the Press. <LI> Beginning Aquaculture Workshops series.<LI> Locally raised fish and an introduction to aquaculture, rules, regulations, businesses, and marketing of WI, U.S. & worldwide seafood. <LI> Wisconsin aquaculture rules and regulations <LI> Biosecurity and methods for minimizing the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and other fish diseases. <LI> Introduction to the aquaculture profession for Native American tribal members. <LI> International Aquaponics workshop h. Lesson plans that high school teachers can incorporate into their aquaculture curriculum- pond building and design, RAS building and design, and airlift pump dynamics.</OL> <LI> Build and strengthen linkages between the NADF, commercial Wisconsin aquaculturists, and other state entities and agencies, focusing on core research, demonstration and outreach projects conducted by the NADF. This includes: <OL> <LI> 50 annual site visits at commercial farms to help identify and address constraints and opportunities specific to individual farms. <LI> Web site to facilitate the distribution of NADF extension materials and results of applied research projects. <LI> Promoting NADF activities with the local Wisconsin communities and Native American tribes. </OL> <LI> Develop improved aquaculture education opportunities at the high school, technical college, and university level, in conjunction with core NADF activities. Activities include: <OL type="a"> <LI> Internships at the NADF and at regional fish culture facilities.<LI>An on-line fish producer health certificate course<LI>Development of aquaculture curricula at WI technical colleges and high school agriculture programs. <LI> Expanding the undergraduate aquaculture curricula at UW-Stevens Point to other regional universities through distance learning opportunities.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Aquaculture is defined as the controlled rearing of aquatic animals and plants for food or natural resource enhancement. Since the mid-1980's the capture of fish and seafood from wild fisheries has met or exceeded the "maximum sustainable yield" of worldwide fisheries - estimated to be about 100 million metric tons per year. Consequently, the supply of seafood products from the wild is limited and all additional increases in supply will have to be met through aquaculture. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system globally, with an increase in production of animal crops of about 9% per year since 1985. In the United States alone, the projected per-person increase in seafood consumption should lead to a total increase of 1.5 million to 2 million metric tons by 2020. Due to the expanding U.S. population and increasing awareness of the health benefits of seafood in our diets, the demand for seafood products in this country is steadily growing. An increasing amount of seafood is being imported into the U.S., and in 2007 the U.S. trade deficit in seafood, both wild caught and aquaculture products, was over $9 billion. Fish and shellfish contribute the most, of any agriculture product, to the U.S. trade deficit. During the last 20 years the commercial culture of food fish in the U.S. has increased at an annual rate of greater than 15%, making it the fastest growing sector of food production in the country. The U.S. aquaculture industry is currently valued at over $1 billion. The Midwest region represents 30% of the U.S. population and consumes greater than one billion pounds of seafood products per year, yet regional fish farmers produce less than 4% of the total U.S. seafood products. The appearance and spread of new fish diseases (e.g., VHS) and other aquatic invasive species (e.g., zebra mussels, Eurasian milfoil) is currently leading to more restrictive regulations and practices regarding the transportation of live fish across state lines and different regions of the US. Ultimately, this will mean that more food-, game-, and baitfish will need to be produced locally, rather than being imported. The Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF), located on the Red Cliff Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, will deliver a coordinated and focused applied research and demonstration program, combined with an aggressive direct-to-farm extension/ outreach program, to address the needs of fish farms and state, federal, and tribal hatcheries. It will help overcome the unique development and operational challenges of aquaculture in the cold climates of northern states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan and stimulate the sustainable development and growth of Wisconsin's aquaculture industry. Our project will directly lead to the significant growth of a sustainable aquaculture industry in the region, which in turn will provide an increased supply of healthy locally-produced seafood products to consumers and a decreased reliance on imported products. Aquaculturalists will be taught how to design and operate their fish farms using cost-effective and ecologically, biologically, and environmentally safe practices.


APPROACH: Since this proposal represents an expanded initiative for cooperative applied research, education, and extension service for aquaculture in the cold climates of northern states, anticipated impacts will vary depending on the intended beneficiaries. Briefly, the aquaculture community in Wisconsin has identified a need for improved communication and understanding of scientific results and technologies. The formation of a NADF Industry Advisory Council, expanded use of internet resources, and frequent teleconferences, workshops and forums held at the NADF and throughout Wisconsin have provided for greater knowledge sharing and understanding and support the expansion of aquaculture in the region. The outbreak of VHS, a new fish disease in the Great Lakes region, has had a major effect on both the fisheries and the commercial, tribal and public aquaculture industries throughout the region. The three NADF aquaculture extension specialists have spent an extensive amount of time working as facilitators between commercial fish farmers and various regulatory agencies throughout the region. These efforts have greatly helped to maintain the productivity of the region's fish farms, and promote appropriate fish health regulations and farming practices aimed at minimizing the spread of serious fish diseases. The 4 Objectives numbered in the section above seek the following outcomes: Objective 1 will use publications, online resources and videos to educate seafood consumers, producers, and retailers about proper culture, production systems, regulations, biosecurity, handling, and preparation of seafood species and varieties. Objective 2 will use participative workshops and demonstrations to encourage aquaculture's contribution to the enhancement, protection, and maintenance of public and private aquatic resources. Objective 3 will seek to enhance partnerships in support of aquaculture among federal and state agencies and the private sector. For example, the establishment of the NADF Industry Advisory Council will help direct applied research, extension, and outreach activities and priorities at the NADF and disseminate results and information to regional agencies and the private sector. In addition, the frequent visits of NADF staff and educators to commercial fish farms throughout the state will assist farmers to identify potential problems as well as new opportunities in various key areas including production, sustainability, and marketing. NADF extension specialists will work to improve the regulatory framework for aquaculture development by assisting Wisconsin county/district extension specialists and promoting NADF activities with local northern Wisconsin communities and Native American tribes such as the Redcliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe and the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Fisheries Program. Objective 4 will improve educational opportunities for aquaculturists in support of both commercial and public sector U.S. aquaculture industry development.

Blewett, Tom
University of Wisconsin Extension
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