Aquaculture 101

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 here is not exhaustive; it is a curated list of resources selected by our fisheries and aquaculture extension educator and fisheries specialist.
  • We invite you to check out our other aquaculture projects for detailed information about topics those projects address. 
We will add tabs below as needed.

MNSG's role in aquaculture

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 33 years (since 1989) since Minnesota wrote its last inclusive (i.e., state agencies) plan.
  • 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 2022. 
  • 2008 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provided a policy update on the use of public wetlands for aquaculture.
  • 2011 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources developed a best management practices document for aquaculture, aquatic invasive species, water quality wild fish stocks, and environmental issues.

Why aquaculture is important now (2022). 

  • Food systems are evolving and the demand for locally grown food has increased. The 2020-2021 COVID pandemic has disrupted food and other supply chains; aquaculture is one means to address food supply chain issues.
  • Aquaculture technology is advancing, food for farmed fish is also advancing.
  • In-state bait availability and AIS concerns with imported bait continue to be issues.

The following is a curated alphabetical list of websites we think you'll find useful.

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.

Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative is 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.

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.

Minnesota Aquaculture Association. MNAA was formed in 2019 to support aquaculture in Minnesota.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries and Aquaculture. NOAA's information on aquaculture regulation and policy, science and technology, regional activities, outreach and education, and opportunity areas.

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.

North Central Regional Aquaculture Center.

Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility.

Wisconsin Aquaculture Association.

Great Lakes Sea Grant programs with aquaculture-specific web content:


The following is a curated list of videos we think you'll find useful.

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.

Minnesota Aquaculture Bait Production Farm Virtual Tour
The video below is part of the Minnesota Sea Grant-led Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative and the Great Lakes website.

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.



National Sea Grant Update

June 2022 Update

Image credit

©Gorilla -

Published: 02/18/2021
Updated: 03/20/2023