Aquaculture Industry Grows In Indiana

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August 15, 2013 — Sales from fish farms in Indiana have more than quadrupled in the past six  years from $3.5 million in 2006 to $15 million last year. That’s according to a Purdue report released this week. But as Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Gretchen Frazee reports, the industry is still small and whether it will continue to grow at such a rapid rate is uncertain…

Indiana’s aquaculture industry includes a wide variety of companies—from small-scale producers selling ornamental fish for aquariums to large fish farms that sell tilapia and shrimp to restaurants. And the industry’s expanding. The Purdue University report shows in 2006, there were only 18 fish producers in the state. Now there are around 50.

Purdue University Aquaculture Marketing Specialist Kwamena Quagrainie says Indiana has specialized in unique species.

“The advantage we have in Indiana is the fish species we are producing are not being produced elsewhere.”

Those include yellow perch, marine shrimp and freshwater prawns.
But there are still hurdles the industry must overcome before it can become a major market player. Quagrainie says raising fish requires a lot of capital investment—so staying in business can be difficult.

Bell Aquaculture Spokesmen Jon Bennett can attest to that. The Albany-based company was founded in 2005 and he says it’s had to find creative ways to cut overhead costs to remain profitable.

“We have also partnered from several agencies to improve what we do and take in technology from other industries sources”

That includes more efficient filtration systems and technology that reduces water use—which allows them to compete with producers around the world. For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Gretchen Frazee.



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