Fisheries and Aquaculture Supply Chain

Graphical flow chart showing hatchery, sourcing, processing, storage, and marketing of fish products before and after COVID.
Aquaculture supply chain flow chart before and after COVID-19 pandemic. Image credit: University of Minnesota, Carlson Consulting Enterprise.

The Minnesota Sea Grant fisheries and aquaculture supply chain project seeks to identify viable scenarios for the effective processing and distribution of commercial fish and aquaculture products in Minnesota.  

  • Project start date: September 1, 2020
  • Project end date:  August 31, 2021

On April 1, 2021, the project team published the white paper "Lake Superior Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Supply Chains in Minnesota."

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What is a supply chain?

A supply chain is a network of producers and distributors between a company and its suppliers that gets a specific product - in this case fish - to a final buyer. Supply chains also represent the steps it takes to get a product or service from its original state to the customer. Supply chain management when done well can lower costs and speed a businesses' production and delivery cycle.   

Steps in a supply chain may include moving and transforming a raw material - like fish - into finished products, transporting those products, and distributing them to wholesale, retail, and direct to consumers. 

Project description

Minnesota Sea Grant engaged a student team from the University of Minnesota, Carlson Consulting Enterprise (CCE) to investigate the Lake Superior commercial fishery and aquaculture supply chains in Minnesota (and perhaps other Great Lakes states) to understand how best to increase the resiliency, flexibility, and sustainability of these supply chains in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and to mitigate future disruptions.

Why Minnesota Sea Grant?

The Aquaculture Supply Chain project supports Sea Grant's mission to enhance the practical use and conservation of coastal, marine and Great Lakes resources in order to create a sustainable economy and environment. Specifically, this project supports our national and state focus area of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

What have we done lately?

  • In March 2021, the project team published a white paper "Lake Superior Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Supply Chains in Minnesota." The supply chain whitepaper identified processing of Cisco harvested from Lake Superior as a bottleneck to industry growth. MNSG facilitated contact between North Shore Commercial fishers that targeted Cisco and established fish processors in an attempt to build relationships that could benefit both parties. Discussions among the groups are ongoing
  • Another recommendation from the supply chain white paper was to create a Buy-Sell app that could easily connect buyers and sellers of both wild-caught and aquaculture produced fish in the marketplace. MNSG staff took advantage of an opportunity to pitch the creation of the Buy-Sell app to an upper level Systems, Analysis and Design class at the University of Minnesota Duluth. A workgroup in the class accepted the project and created a framework that would function as a Buy-Sell app when fully developed. If funding becomes available and there is interest expressed by producers and sellers the app could be implemented and used in the marketplace. A short article titled Students Aid Local Fisheries Businesses that describes the project can be found in the Fall 2021 issue of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics Newsletter True North on page 3.

Participants & audience

The Aquaculture Supply Chain project seeks to serve Lake Superior commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers in Minnesota.  


The Aquaculture Supply Chain project is funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Sea Grant Office.

Program Staff

Blond woman with mountains in the background
Fisheries and Aquaculture Extension Educator
Don Schreiner headshot
Fisheries Specialist


  • University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, Carlson Consulting Enterprise, Academic Institution (College and University)