Welcome to what we hope is a useful resource for Minnesota aquaculture farmers and anyone looking for information about fish farming in Minnesota.
- The information below is curated list of resources selected by our fisheries and aquaculture extension educator and fisheries specialist; it is not exhaustive.
- See the project listing to the left or our Fisheries and Aquaculture Program webpage for specific projects.
Minnesota Sea Grant is a federal-university partnership program that brings water science to coastal communities. The nationwide Sea Grant network is composed of 34 university-based programs located along the coastal and Great Lakes states. Sea Grant's mission is to enhance the practical use and conservation of coastal, marine, and Great Lakes resources in order to maintain a sustainable economy and environment. Sea Grant is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which falls under the Department of Commerce. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture is one of Sea Grant's four main focus areas.
Nonadvocacy. Sea Grant is not an advocate for aquaculture, but we do fund and develop the science that answers important questions about the economic, social, and environmental concerns that surround aquaculture. Once that information is acquired, Sea Grant transfers that science in an unbiased manner to interested stakeholders.
Aquaculture in Minnesota. Aquaculture in Minnesota is composed of the bait industry, fish for stocking, and raising fish for food. Conservatively, aquaculture contributes about $5 million annually to Minnesota (~50% from bait fish, ~25% from stocking, and ~25% from food fish).
Minnesota aquaculture legislation.
- It's been 34 years since Minnesota wrote its last inclusive (i.e., state agencies) aquaculture plan in 1989.
- 1988 Minnesota Aquaculture Committee was formed, which represented nine state agencies.
- 1989 Consultant hired to write an aquaculture plan with input and oversight from the state advisory committee. This 1989 plan is still in place in 2023.
- 2008 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provided a policy update on the use of public wetlands for aquaculture.
- 2011 Minnesota DNR developed a best management practices document for aquaculture, aquatic invasive species, water quality wild fish stocks, and environmental issues.
- 2022 With encouragement and testimony from the Minnesota Aquaculture Association (MNAA) and others interested in sustainable aquaculture, including Minnesota Sea Grant (MNSG), the Legislature allocated funds to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDOA) to develop a revised aquaculture plan.
- 2023 A steering committee was formed by the MDOA to guide the planning process and hire a consultant to work on the revised aquaculture plan with input from the steering committee.
- The steering committee is composed of aquaculture producers, state agencies, and representatives from the MNAA, the University of Minnesota and MNSG.
- The steering committee and consultant will work closely with all stakeholders interested in aquaculture to gain their input and hear their concerns.
Why aquaculture is important now (2023).
- Food systems are evolving and the demand for locally grown food has increased. The United States imports 60-75% of our seafood and local aquaculture could provide a more sustainable source.
- The 2020-2021 COVID pandemic has disrupted food and other supply chains; advancing aquaculture is one means to address food supply chain issues.
- Aquaculture technology is advancing to make aquaculture more sustainable.
- There is a shortage of bait for recreational anglers in Minnesota. Concerns about aquatic invasive species and disease prohibit importation of bait based on Minnesota laws.
Minnesota Aquaculture Newsletter.
- The Minnesota Aquaculture Newsletter will be published two to four times per year to share aquaculture-related information with interested communities. To receive this newsletter directly subscribe to Minnesota Sea Grant and select "aquaculture" as a topic of interest.
- Visit MNSG's newsletters webpage for an archive of the Minnesota Aquaculture Newsletter.
- The Walleye Culture Guide for Intensive Production (2023). The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility created this document as a template for intensive walleye production to be applied at a commercial level using the latest aquaculture technology advancements, feeds, designs, and practices.
- Aquaculture Learning Pathways (2022). This document is an informational overview of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point aquaculture program.
- AURI Minnesota Aquaculture Report (2021). This document is a summary of the opportunities and challenges in the Minnesota aquaculture industry. Please contact Minneapolis marketing firm Russel Herder for an alternative format or more information about the report.
- Lake Superior Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Supply Chains in Minnesota (2021). This white paper addresses disruptions to Minnesota's commercial fishery and farmed-fish industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Minnesota Sea Grant Food-Fish Aquaculture Workshop (2017) summary. This document is a summary of the first food-fish workshop of producers, regulators, academics, etc., in Minnesota. Video presentations from this workshop are available on the video tab.
The following programs provide research and outreach funding for various aquaculture activities. Most funding is announced on an annual or periodic basis so if interested in aquaculture funding it is good practice to check these sites often.
- National Sea Grant/NOAA. Several programs exist to fund aquaculture, often with new ones announced each year relating to fishing and aquaculture opportunities. In some cases Sea Grant will also announce specific in-state or regional requests for proposals for topics pertinent to aquaculture in a given area, including through the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Saltonstall-Kennedy (NOAA SK). NOAA offers the annual, highly-competitive SK grant, which funds research in the promotion, development, and marketing of U.S Fisheries products, including aquaculture.
- North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC). The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center was formed in February 1988. It is one of five regional aquaculture centers administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State, Research, Education, and Extension Service.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. The SARE program is a competitive grants program that supports farmers, ranchers, researchers and educators who are improving the sustainability of U.S. agriculture. Aquaculture projects are eligible for these grants.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture NIFA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) programs. The USDA SBIR/STTR programs focus on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. See aquaculture under SBIR topic areas (8.7).
Three excellent references that provide a large variety of aquaculture funding opportunities include:
- Guide to Federal Aquaculture Grant Services 2021 – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Guide to Federal Aquaculture Programs and Services – U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Maine Aquaculture Financing Resources Manual – Maine Aquaculture Association
The following is a curated list of websites we think you'll find useful. MNSG fish and aquaculture projects are on our Fisheries and Aquaculture Program webpage.
Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative began as a three-year (Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2022) federally funded project that seeks to create a regionwide group to foster relevant, science-based initiatives that support aquaculture industries in the Great Lakes region that are environmentally responsible, competitive, and sustainable. In 2022, funding was extended through 2024.
Minnesota Aquaculture Association. MNAA was formed in 2019 to support aquaculture in Minnesota.
Great Lakes Fresh Fish Finder was developed to meet a need to directly connect fish producers with consumers after the disruption of traditional markets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eat Midwest Fish is an online resource hub that educates consumers about sustainable aquaculture in the Midwest.
Eat Wisconsin Fish is a source for information about food fish that are commercially harvested or farmed in Wisconsin.
NOAA US Aquaculture includes information on aquaculture grant services, the NOAA Aquaculture Strategic Plan, and U.S. Aquaculture Hubs.
NOAA Fisheries includes information on regulation and policy, science and technology, regional activities, and outreach and education.
NOAA: Guide to Federal Aquaculture Grant Services. Federal agencies collaborated to create a Guide to Federal Aquaculture Grant Services that focuses on federal grant programs that aquaculture producers, researchers, and other stakeholders may be eligible for.
Great Lakes Sea Grant programs with aquaculture-specific web content:
The following is a curated list of videos we think you'll find useful.
Consumer Education on Seafood and Aquaculture
In 2023, Minnesota Sea Grant and Spark-Y partnered to help develop and share youth educational materials and programming about seafood and aquaculture. The collaboration produced the two videos below, which include a demonstration on how to filet a fish, and a cooking demonstration on how to prepare a fish taco.
Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2022: Fish Health Workshop
The six videos below are from the Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2022 Fish Health Workshop hosted by the Minnesota Sea Grant-led Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative.
Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2021: Minnesota Fish-Farm Virtual Tour
The video below is part of the Minnesota Sea Grant-led Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative.
Aquaculture Supply Chain in Minnesota
The video below is part of the Minnesota Sea Grant-led Fisheries and Aquaculture Supply Chain project.
Fisheries Supply Chain in Minnesota
The video below is part of the Minnesota Sea Grant-led Fisheries and Aquaculture Supply Chain project.
©Gorilla - stock.adobe.com