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Wisconsin Aquaculture is good for you and good for Wisconsin

Aquaculture is an important agriculture industry in Wisconsin. Aquaculture, or fish farming, is defined as the raising of aquatic organisms in controlled settings, and Wisconsin’s private aquaculture dates back to 1856 with a sound environmental history using sustainable best management practices. Wisconsin fish farmers are in tune with their resources and use water responsibly to produce the highest quality fish.

Wisconsin fish farming is very diverse - raising trout, yellow perch, and bluegill for food; walleye, northern pike, muskie and bass for stocking; and minnows for bait. The raising of aquaculture products for food, stocking, recreation and bait generate employment in rural areas, economic activity, and taxes to local, county and state governments. Wisconsin grown fish contributes to local economies by reducing the number of miles your food travels, decreases our dependence on seafood coming from overseas, adds to business to business transactions and increases the labor force spending income.

Wisconsin fish farm environmental and fish health regulations are among the most stringent in the country. Wisconsin fish are raised according to best management practices, in clean water with responsible use of natural resources and are veterinarian-certified fish healthy. Our producers strive for environmental sustainability, and based on tests conducted to date, there are no suggested restrictions on the consumption of Wisconsin farmed raised fish.

The Consumer's Guide for Wisconsin Farm Raised Fish

The Consumer's Guide for Wisconsin Farm-Raised Fish is an overview of Wisconsin's Aquaculture Industry providing the public with resources so they can make informed choices and answer questions on why they should buy healthy, locally grown fish. The guide references existing articles, websites or studies that provide detailed information on nutritional benefits and safety issues for consumers, along with how to purchase fish for food, fish for stocking into lakes and live bait for fishing.
The impetus of the consumer's guide stems from discussions held through the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association (WAA) and the Wisconsin Aquaculture Industry Advisory Council (WAIAC); the provision of best management practices for Wisconsin aquaculture; other similar consumer guides and a desire by the industry to be proactive, explaining to the public who they are and what the industry does. Wisconsin practices environmentally sustainable aquaculture.
Although the guide helps promote Wisconsin Aquaculture in a positive light, the real intention is to help consumer's and fish farmers form a dialogue and compile useful information that helps address consumer or media questions. Ultimately, it is our hope that the guide will help foster a greater consumer-farmer connection building trust and confidence.

We are working on 3 more chapters dealing with baitfish, stocking and AIS and will add them as they are done.

See the links below for the Consumer's Guide for Wisconsin Farm Raised Fish and brochures on Wisconsin Farm Raised Fish and the Economic Impact of Wisconsin Aquaculture

Beginning Aquaculture Workshop at Trout Palace
  Beginning Aquaculture Workshop at Trout Palace  

The Wisconsin Aquaculture Association offers opportunities for the public to learn more about the aquaculture industry. 

Aquaculture Day

On April 26, 2010, the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly passed a joint resolution declaring the 3rd Saturday in July as Aquaculture Day.  This resolution acknowledges aquaculture (fish farming) as an important agricultural industry in Wisconsin and having a sound environmental history using sustainable best management practices.  Wisconsin is the first state in the United States to pass such a resolution and we are proud of this accomplishment.

With the increase in public awareness of their food sources, the fish farmers of Wisconsin want to invite you to visit their farms on this day. They encourage you to come and learn firsthand about aquaculture, become more aware of the role commercial aquaculture plays in the state’s economy, local communities, recreational opportunities and in providing a safe healthy food.  Wisconsin fish farmers take pride in providing fish that are veterinarian certified healthy.

Individual fish farms offer free events such as farm tours, demonstrations, cooking demonstrations with recipes, and various talks. Some farms will also have fish products (fresh, smoked, and spreads) for sampling and sale or offer fee fishing - a fun time for the family and a great opportunity to buy fresh Wisconsin produced food from a local farmer.  Learn about raising fish, various culture techniques, pond management and fish health programs or just have fun fishing! 

Wisconsin currently has 2,314 registered fish farms, these include 1,984 private farms (farm and back yard ponds), 125 business farms, 213 public fee fishing farms, and 6 wholesale fish processing farms.  Wisconsin’s fish farms contribute $21 million to Wisconsin’s economy and our state is the largest seller/producer of aquaculture products in the Midwest with their products not only supplying gamefish and bait for recreational use, but their high quality food fish are offered in some of the top restaurants and stores in the Upper Midwest.

Details of the upcoming Aquaculture Day will be posted under “Events”


Due to the interest in growing your own food, and people looking to change or expand their businesses, WAA has teamed up with the UW-Extension Aquaculture Specialists to offer workshops on aquaculture. Each year 2-3 Beginning Aquaculture workshops are offered at various farms around the state.  These are for farmers who have ponds and are looking for information on how to better manage their ponds for recreation, enhance wildlife or for fish production, or people who want to start up a fish farm. Each workshop includes sessions on: Wisconsin Aquaculture, Starting a fish farm, Economics/Business planning, and Rules & regulations.  Participants will receive packets of information and a CD containing economic worksheets.  In the afternoon there will be a tour of the sponsoring farm, giving participants the opportunity to see firsthand how a fish farm operates and the ability to ask questions of the owners about their operation. 

More information will be posted under “Events”


Annual Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference

Our annual conference are not only for members and those with existing farms, but also for any fish farmer or someone just starting up or interested.  This is the largest aquaculture conference in the 8 state region, offering a wide variety of talks, exhibitors and information for the aquaculture industry or those who are interested in fish farming. The Wisconsin two day Aquaculture Conference has been attracting fish farmers from the Midwest along with national vendors and speakers since the mid 1990’s. In addition to the talks, one of the benefits of this conference is the opportunity for attendees to network and share their experiences and knowledge with each other and the Trade Show where vendors show off the newest and latest in aquaculture equipment and services.

More information is available under “Events”

Consumer Guide for WI Farm Raised Fish - Download & View Related Documents
A Consumer's Guide for Wisconsin Farm Raised Fish 06/20/2012   [ VIEW ] Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Brochures - Download & View Related Documents
Economic Impact of Wisconsin Aquaculture 11/07/2011   [ VIEW ] Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Brochure on Wisconsin Farm Raised Food Fish 11/07/2011   [ VIEW ] Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Brochure on Wisconsin Farm Raised Bait and Gamefish 11/07/2011   [ VIEW ] Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
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