UW-Stevens Point: UWSP researchers receive federal grant to promote aquaculture industry

A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has landed a two-year $200,000 U.S. Department of Commerce, Sea Grant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant to develop a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based analysis of sustainable domestic aquaculture development in Wisconsin.

Christopher Hartleb, a biologist and co-director of the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, Keith Rice and Doug Miskowiak of the GIS Center, and Sarah Kaatz of UW-Extension will develop GIS-based predictive aquaculture farm models to establish a road map for the Wisconsin aquaculture industry. The results of this project will generate culture and system-specific models to help extension personnel, land-use managers, fish culturists, businesses, and agriculture and natural resource specialists to evaluate potential fish farm locations in Wisconsin. Furthermore, results from this project will show that proper selection of fish types and culture methods, applied through the predictive ability of GIS modeling, can greatly improve the success rate of new aquaculture ventures.

“With half of all seafood consumed in the world coming from aquaculture and with aquaculture being the fastest growing food production system globally, Wisconsin is poised to be a significant producer of seafood and sport fishing products,” said Hartleb.

According to Hartleb, Wisconsin has over 2,800 registered fish farms that produce a wide variety of seafood, baitfish and sport fish. The state also has the water, natural and socioeconomic resources needed to develop a long-term sustainable aquaculture industry that will foster job creation, product development and economic growth.

UW-Stevens Point remains a leader among the state’s regional universities in receiving outside research funding, as faculty members collaborate to promote the successful expansion of a sustainable statewide aquaculture industry in Wisconsin.