Fish support food, recreation, the ecosystem, and the economy. In Minnesota, state and private aquaculture has operated for more than 100 years and has primarily been focused on supplementing natural production for recreation: stocking lakes and rivers with fish like walleye, trout, and muskies. Minnesota also produces food fish, with about 1 million pounds of tilapia sold each year, and baitfish.
In addition to traditional aquaculture, a growing demand for locally grown and sustainable food fish has increased interest in aquaponics—a plant/fish production system.
Extension offers support to aquaculture and aquaponics operations and supports the state's fishing industry by:
- Conducting ongoing surveillance and testing of sample fish from lake and stream fisheries for infectious fish diseases such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). University of Minnesota Extension aquaculture specialist Nick Phelps and his team have developed a new lab test that shows VHS results in two days versus the previous test which took 28 days.
- Working to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp.
- Providing education to the aquaculture industry and hobbyists on topics such as identifying fish diseases, biosecurity, and sustainable production practices.
- Minnows—one of Minnesota's smallest, yet most important, fish
- Plenty of fish in the sea?
- Healthy baitfish support Minnesota's $4.8 billion sport fishing industry
Extension aquaculture specialist
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Room E220 VetDL, 1333 Gortner Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108