Aquaculture in Wisconsin is growing at a rate of more than 10 percent per year and has an annual value of almost $9 million. The UW Sea Grant Institute supports outreach, education and research activities that nurture the growth of this industry in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region.


2019 Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference - Details Announced
The 2019 Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference will be held Feb. 15 and 16, 2019 at the Holiday Inn South I-94 in Eau Claire. Call (715) 830-9889 to book a room. The conference will highlight industry trends and tips for all levels, from beginners to current producers. More information to come at

Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (UWSP-NADF)

A partner facility with Wisconsin Sea Grant and a part of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (UWSP-NADF) is located in Bayfield, Wis. The facility's mission is to promote public education and advance the discovery, dissemination and application of knowledge for sustainable aquaculture in a northern climate. UWSP-NADF is one-of-a-kind, recognized as an international leader in recirculating aquaculture system technology and equipped to provide a wide range of applied research and demonstration projects for a variety of fish species. This is accomplished by:
  • Demonstrating production-scale aquaculture
  • Conducting applied research
  • Providing outreach and extension services
  • Building and strengthening cooperative relationships among commercial aquaculturists, tribal, state and federal agentices
  • Working with fish growers on fish health issues, assessments, trainings and permitting
  • Developing best management practices for a sustainable and environmental industry

Visit the UWSP-NADF website for more information.

UWSP-NADF Current Projects
The UW-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility supports projects that include outreach, research, technology transfer, demonstration and education. Tours, technical assistance and technical presentations are also available. Read more...

Aquaculture Education

Bottlenecked: The Growth of Aquaculture in Wisconsin
There are a handful of bottlenecks standing in the way of greater growth for Wisconsin aquaculture. Chris Hartleb, professor of fisheries biology at UW-Stevens Point and an outreach specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant, identified a few of them. Read the story on our blog. Read more...

Updated Fact Sheet on Aquaculture
We have updated our fact sheet on mercury, fish and aquaculture. Take a look. Read more...

Sea Grant’s Contributions Add to a Renewed Focus on Urban Agriculture at a Milwaukee High School
Sea Grant's Fred Binkowski has lent a hand to the science team at Milwaukee's Vincent High School. The school now has an aquaponics setup and curriculum, part of a reinvigorated urban agricultural program. Read more...

Mercury, Fish and Aquaculture

Mercury, Fish and Aquaculture
Mercury contamination of fish – both wild and farmed – has received prominent media coverage. What do we know about mercury in cool- and cold-water aquaculture operations in the Upper Midwest? Read more...

Aquaculture for the Great Lakes Region
Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region are perfect for raising many types of fresh, cold-water fish. This pamphlet describes UW Sea Grant research and outreach efforts in developing a sustainable, environmentally benign aquaculture industry in the region. Read more...

Aquaculture Effluents and Waste By-Products: Characteristics, Potential Recovery, and Beneficial Reuse

Percis III: The Third International Percid Fish Symposium
This CD contains 63 peer-reviewed papers, including several on the aquaculture of yellow perch, European perch and Sander species that are sure to be of interest to aquaculturists. Read more...

Technical Compendium to Symposium on Sturgeon
A collection of extended abstracts and presentation summaries from the 4th International Symposium on Sturgeon held July 8-13, 2001, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Read more...

USDA/ARS Aquaculture

USDA ARS Aquaculture
The mission of the Aquaculture Program is to conduct high-quality, relevant, basic and applied aquaculture research and technology transfer to create jobs and economic activity that will improve the international competitiveness and sustainability of United States aquaculture, and reduce dependence on imported seafood and threatened ocean fisheries. Read more...

Improving Great Lakes Aquaculture Production
The aquacultural production of Great Lakes fin-fish as a high-quality protein food source for human consumption is an untapped resource in the U.S. food production sector. The goal of this project is to enhance and stimulate aquaculture in the Great Lakes region and place it on a sound technical, scientific and economic basis. The primary objectives of this project are to develop: 1) genetically improved domesticated broodstocks of yellow perch with traits for year-round reproduction; 2) the optimal culture technology for year-round fingerling production and one-year grow out; and 3) environmentally compatible and sustainable aquaculture systems for year-round viable production of Great Lakes species. Read more...

Production of Yellow Perch Utilizing State-of-the-Art Aquaculture Technology
Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) are the traditional backbone of the Friday night fish fry in many Great Lakes shoreline communities, and the market demand has always been high, indicating a strong consumer preference for this fish. Our goal is to use state-of-the-art aquaculture technology to field test the commercial production of yellow perch. We will assist in completing a portion of the objectives that form the research initiative being conducted by USDA/ARS and UW-Milwaukee Great Lakes WATER Institute (GLWI). The objectives of that initiative are to: 1) Develop genetically improved domesticated brood stocks of yellow perch with traits for year-round reproduction; 2) Develop optimal culture technology for year-round fingerling production and one-year grow out utilizing a variety of aquaculture systems; and, 3) Develop environmentally compatible and sustainable aquaculture systems for year-round viable production of Great Lakes species. Read more...

North Central Regional Producer Opinion Survey

North Central Regional Producer Opinion Survey
PDF file of the survey results and survey explanation Read more...


Fred Binkowski: Aquaculture Specialist
Fred Binkowski tells us about his work as the aquaculture specialist for the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute. Read more...

Milwaukee's Growing Power, a community-based urban food center, is using plants as natural water filters for raising yellow perch. Read more...

A project funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant is attempting to overcome some of the difficulties that have challenged the yellow perch aquaculture industry. Read more...

Yellow Perch for the Hungry
Get a look at a recirculating aquaculture system and learn about science you can eat. Read more...

A Message From the Director
Sea Grant Director Anders Andren talks up the program, including its work on aquaculture. Read more...


Supporting Wisconsin Aquaculture by Assessing the Marketing Needs of Producers and Perceptions of Consumers About Locally Farmed Fish

Bret Shaw, UW-Madison, (608-890-1878),
Christopher Hartleb, UW-Stevens Point
Kristin Runge, UW-Extension
Deidre Peroff, Wisconsin Sea Grant

To better understand the limitations that are constraining the Wisconsin aquaculture industry and capitalize on the trend for local food, this social science research project will investigate consumer perceptions about farm-raised Wisconsin fish and the needs of Wisconsin fish farmers to effectively and sustainably grow their businesses. Researchers will conduct a statewide public opinion survey and perform qualitative interviews regarding perceptions about farm-raised fish. Based on the results, they will formulate and test market different messaging strategies. They will also conduct a needs assessment to understand the marketing and operational needs of aquaculturists and identify opportunities to provide training and resources to help producers meet these needs. The resulting research findings and marketing material will be shared with regional aquaculturists and retailers (e.g., restaurants and grocery stores), and the project will include training social science scholars via graduate assistantships/fellowships in order to advance scholarship related to aquaculture. R/SFA-17

Impact of Starter Microdiets for Raising Saugeye (Hybrid Walleye) Fry for Great Lakes Aquaculture

Christopher Hartleb, UW-Stevens Point, (715) 346-3228,
Gregory Fischer, UW-Stevens Point, (715) 779-3461,
Emma Wiermaa, UW-Stevens Point
Kendall Holmes, UW-Stevens Point

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility has advanced walleye food fish production to the point that a Wisconsin commercial walleye industry is emerging. Production of high-quality fry reared on commercial feed is key. Saugeye fry are currently produced, but survival rates are often highly variable, growth potential has not been fully realized and skeletal and developmental deformities are often present. At least part of these problems may derive from sub-optimal nutrition. A critical phase in fry production is the early stage of exogenous feeding, where fry digestive capabilities are limited and, traditionally, only live feeds have been used. However, live feeds are expensive and difficult to manage, and few culturists are willing to apply them to commercial saugeye larviculture. For successful commercial intensive production of saugeye as a food fish, the future lies in commercially produced starter microdiets. R/SFA-16


Aquaculture Outreach and Education: Continuous Activities

Sea Grant funding supports an aquaculture outreach and education position in collaboration with the  University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, advancing sustainable aquaculture through outreach and education of facility research and demonstration projects, technical assistance to farmers on best- management practices, workforce development or training and public education.

Great Lakes Aquaculture Extension
Numerous publications on aquaponics have been produced but the focus has not been on higher-valued species such as yellow perch, bluegill and hybrid bluegill. Sea Grant will produce a manual focused on these species. At this time, there are no specific aquaculture and aquaponic courses in the University of Wisconsin System’s agricultural education schools. This effort will provide aquaculture and aquaponics education to fill the gap. Finally, Sea Grant will provide technical assistance to aquaculture practitioners on systems, biology, water chemistry, reproduction, spawning techniques, nutrition and production-cost estimates.

Eat Wisconsin Fish
Many people are interested in purchasing more of their food from local sources, but when it comes to local fish,
consumers often have questions about nutrition benefits and risk, as well as environmental sustainability. Sea Grant is continuing its Eat Wisconsin Fish campaign to educate consumers about wild Great Lakes fish and Wisconsin farm-raised fish, and the environmental impacts associated with commercial fishing and aquaculture. The project is also connecting producers and fishermen with retailers and restauranteurs.

Related Publications

Visit Our Publications Store
For print and downloadable publications about aquaculture, see the aquaculture section of our publications store. Read more...

Related Websites

Check Out Videos on Sea-Grant Supported Aquaculture Projects
Learn more about a recirculating, commercial-scale, aquaculture system, and how to increase the efficiency of growing yellow perch. Read more...

Aquaculture Resources From the State of Wisconsin
From getting started as a fish farmer to bringing a finished product to market, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has resources to assist the Wisconsin aquaculturist with each step of the process. Read more...

Wisconsin's Water Library
Wisconsin's Water Library has reading lists on many different topics.  Take a look at the aquaculture reading list. Read more...

Related Topics in This Site

Aquatic Invasive Species
Fish and Fisheries