AMES, Iowa – Fish producers can stay current on the areas of fish health, feeding practices, water quality and water treatment by referring to the standard operating procedures for aquaculture outlined in new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publications. The publications are available as free downloads from the ISU Extension Online Store at https://store.extension.iastate.edu/.
“Interest in indoor recirculating aquaculture in the north central part of the United States has greatly increased in the past several years,” said D. Allen Pattillo, extension fisheries specialist. Recirculating aquaculture is when the fish tank water is filtered by mechanical and biological processes to create a highly efficient, bio-secure and environmentally friendly method of livestock production.
A USDA report on the aquaculture industry released last year showed that the number of fish farms in Iowa jumped from 21 in 2005 to 31 in 2013. “Since fish farm numbers have increased in the past few years, it was time to get fisheries knowledge in the producer’s hands,” said Pattillo.
“Aquaculture in the Midwest has grown and matured in recent years,” said Joseph Morris, professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and the director of the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center at Iowa State. “At the same time, people are eating more fish, and there’s a growing acceptance of fish as a source of healthy protein.”
The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center advances emerging trends in the aquaculture industry and identifies research questions that will help the industry progress. The center gathers input from aquaculture producers in 12 Midwestern states and directs federal funds to research and extension projects. The ISU Extension and Outreach Value-Added Agriculture Program and the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center have closely worked with NCRAC and provide ongoing coordination and assistance for Iowa’s developing aquaculture industry.
The aquaculture publication series was developed to help educate new and beginning farmers on critical aspects of recirculating aquaculture and to get a jump-start on business planning and management through fact sheets, standard operating procedures and records management templates.
Funding for this series was provided by a USDA Rural Business Enterprise grant, and with support from the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
PHOTO: Hand-feeding tilapia