Save the Date: 2024 Wisconsin and Minnesota Aquaculture Conference
The 2024 Wisconsin and Minnesota Aquaculture Conference is an opportunity for current aquaculture practitioners, new farmers, educators, and the public to learn about aquaculture including current research and management practices, educational and economic initiatives, and other aspects.
When: March 22-23, 2024
Where: Legendary Waters Resort and Casino. 37600 Onigamiing Drive, Red Cliff, WI 54814.
Registration: Link is forthcoming.
Contact: Wisconsin Aquaculture Association,, 262-208-4945.

Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2022

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative hosted its third Great Lakes Aquaculture Days (GLAD) in October 2022. The two-day event featured discussions, Q&A sessions, and hands-on activities that addressed fish health.

Day 1 was a series of virtual presentations from Great Lakes fish-health experts about preventative measures to keep fish healthy.

Day 2 featured in-person events held at multiple locations and included presentations, a fish dissection demonstration, panel discussions, and time for networking. Free fish dissection kits were also made available. The focus of Day 2 was on reactive measures to take when fish are sick. Attendees could also create their own fish-health management plan.

The following videos were produced as part of the GLAD 2022 Fish Health Workshop. A full Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2022 video playlist can be found on the Michigan Sea Grant YouTube channel.

Virtual presentations from fish-health experts

Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaboration Introduction

Watch this video for a quick intro to the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative (GLAC), a 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.

Fish Health and Diseases Overview

In this presentation, Nick Phelps, associate professor and director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota provides an overview of how fish biology and environmental conditions play into the health of a fish, as well as some of the major disease vectors, along with introductory steps to perform when you suspect you have a sick fish.

Biosecurity in Aquaculture

Myron Kebus, assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University provides an overview of biosecurity measures that one can take in a fish lab or farm setting and how to prevent disease transfer and keep fish healthy through practices focused on minimizing risk.

Water Quality BMPs in Aquaculture

In this presentation, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Lauren Jescovitch shares how water quality impacts fish health, and provides practical tips on how to improve the water quality on your own fish farm or aquaculture operation.

Recordkeeping in Aquaculture

Emma Hauser, aquaculture outreach specialist, Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility and Wisconsin Sea Grant, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point provides an overview of the importance and application of recordkeeping in an aquaculture operation.

Fish Diagnostics Laboratory Tour

In this presentation, Tom Loch, assistant professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University discusses the process that takes place when a fish is sent in for disease testing, diagnostic procedures, as well as how to best prepare a sample for analysis.

Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2021

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative hosted the second Great Lakes Aquaculture Days (GLAD) on August 31, 2021 through September 2, 2021. This three-day virtual conference provided a chance for those interested in starting an aquaculture farm, those who own a farm, or for those who are interested in aquaculture and its products to learn more. Six farms from across the Great Lakes region (i.e., Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois-Indiana, Ohio, New York, and Wisconsin) were highlighted through virtual farm tours, live farmer interviews, and a live audience Q&A time.

Watch Great Lakes Aquaculture Tours 2021 to view a playlist of all six of the Great Lakes aquaculture fish-farm tour videos or search by each individual state from the list below.

Virtual aquaculture farm tour videos

Minnesota 2021 Fish-Farm Video

Minnesota Sea Grant produced a video about Minnesota aquaculture, bait, and aquaponics farmer Barry Thoele of Staples, Minnesota.

For information about aquaculture in Minnesota, please contact Minnesota Sea Grant Aquaculture and Fisheries Extension Educator Amy Schrank.

Michigan 2021 Fish-Farm Video

Michigan Sea Grant produced a video about Michigan aquaculture farm Cedarbrook Trout, a spring fed flow-through facility located in Northeast Michigan.

For information about aquaculture in Michigan, please contact Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator, Elliot Nelson.

Illinois-Indiana 2021 Fish-Farm Video

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant produced a video about Illinois-Indiana aquaculture farmer Margaret Cleveland of Ozark Fisheries in Martinsville, Indiana.

For information about aquaculture in Illinois-Indiana, please contact Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Aquaculture Marketing Outreach Associate, Amy Shambach.

Ohio 2021 Fish-Farm Video

Ohio Sea Grant produced a video about Ohio aquaculture farmers Craig and Traci Bell of Ripple Rock Fish Farms, located in Frazeysburg, Ohio.

For information about aquaculture in Ohio, please contact Ohio Sea Grant Aquaculture Extension Educator Nicole Wright.

New York 2021 Fish-Farm Video

New York Sea Grant produced a video about New York aquaculture farm Hickling’s Fish Farm, a family owned and operated business that has been supplying fish for stocking and wholesale since 1986. Hickling’s is located in Edmeston, New York.

For information about aquaculture in New York, please contact New York Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist, Emma Forbes.

Wisconsin 2021 Fish-Farm Video

Wisconsin Sea Grant produced a video about Wisconsin aquaculture and winery farmer Steve Debaker of Branch River Trout Hatchery in Greenleaf, Wisconsin.

For information about aquaculture in Wisconsin, please contact Wisconsin Sea Grant Aquaculture Outreach and Education Specialist, Emma Wiermaa.

Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2020

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative hosted the first Great Lakes Aquaculture Days (GLAD) on October 10, 2020. This virtual conference provided a series of educational sessions and workshops for new and current aquaculture farmers, and interested educators and students. Webinar recordings from GLAD sessions are listed below. View the GLAD agenda.


Great Lakes Aquaculture Day Welcome and Introduction

Amy Schrank – Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative Leadership
Mark Rath and Chuck Weirich – National Sea Grant Office

This is the introduction video for the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative’s (GLAC) Great Lakes Aquaculture Day (GLAD) event. GLAC Principal Investigator and Minnesota Sea Grant Fisheries and Aquaculture Extension Educator Amy Schrank, Ph.D. introduces the GLAC and briefly describes Sea Grant. National Sea Grant Aquaculture Managers Mark Rath and Chuck Weirich, Ph.D. outline how the National Sea Grant Office provides funds and supports aquaculture initiatives across the United States.

Keynote: Why We Raise Fish

Jesse Trushenski – Chief Science Officer, Riverence

The keynote speaker for the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative’s (GLAC) Great Lakes Aquaculture Day (GLAD) event was Chief Science Officer and Vice President for Animal Welfare at Riverence Jesse Trushenski, Ph.D. Riverence is a land-based producer of rainbow trout and salmon and trout eggs in Idaho and Washington. Prior to Riverence, Trushenski led the Idaho Fish and Game Eagle Fish Health Lab. He was an associate professor at Southern Illinois University and studied fish nutrition and physiology and was president of the American Fisheries Society. Trushenski presentation is an overview of why raising fish matters and how aquaculture can provide solutions to social, cultural, and food security issues.

How to Get Started in Aquaculture

Matt Smith – The Ohio State University

Aquaculture Program Director Matt Smith from The Ohio State University has become a trusted resource for aquaculture farmers in the Midwest. In this video he provides an overview of the topics potential aquaculture producers should consider before starting a business. He discusses overall farm objectives, species and system choices, market considerations, and business planning. He welcomes audience questions and provides contact information for extension workers in the Midwest region.

Aquaculture System Types in the North Central Region

Emma Wiermaa – University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility & Wisconsin Sea Grant

Aquaculture Outreach Specialist Emma Wiermaa from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility and Wisconsin Sea Grant shares her video highlighting common aquaculture systems. Wiermaa provides an overview of the most common culture systems in the Midwest: ponds, raceways, recirculating, and aquaponics systems.

Best Management Practices in Aquaculture and Seafood Production

Stacy Schultz – Director of Marketing & Sustainability Coordinator, Fortune Fish & Gourmet

Director of Marketing & Sustainability Coordinator Stacy Schultz from Fortune Fish & Gourmet covers a variety of sustainable management practices. As a large seafood processor and distributor company, Schultz emphasizes the benefits of sustainable certifications including third-party certifications and eco-labeling. Sustainability from an environmental, social justice, and economic standpoint is also discussed.

Pathways to Success: A Panel Discussion

Steve Summerfelt – Superior Fresh (Aquaponics)
Zach Lind – Driftless Fish (Flow-through)
Matt Brehm – Brehms Perch Farm (Split Ponds)

This panel discussion features three different and successful, aquaculture businesses located in the Great Lakes region. Superior Fresh is a large-scale recirculating aquaponics operation raising Atlantic salmon and greens. Driftless Fish Co. is a flow-through facility raising rainbow trout. Brehms Perch Farms is a small-scale pond operation raising yellow perch for stocking. Each panelist shares challenges and successes and describes opportunities that have helped their businesses succeed. Topics range from COVID-19 pandemic effects on businesses to marketing and acquiring personnel.

Current Challenges and Potential Solutions for Aquaculture in the Great Lakes Region: A Panel Discussion

Lauren Jescovitch– Michigan Sea Grant
Bill West– Owner, Blue Iris Fish Farm
Myron Kebus– Aquaculture Vet, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture
Alex Tsappis– U.S. Aquaculture Business Manager, Alltech

This panel discussion features various perspectives on current challenges for aquaculture in the Great Lakes region. The emphasis is on navigating complex regulation requirements by individual states, and the need for more information on fish health and diseases.

Aquaculture During COVID-19

Jonathan Van Senten – Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
Trey Malone – Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Virginia Tech Assistant Professor Jonathan Van Senten, Ph.D., who specializes in economics research, summarizes an ongoing series of aquaculture surveys distributed across the United States to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the aquaculture industry. In his 15-minute talk he also addresses how federal relief efforts have impacted aquaculture businesses.

Michigan State University Assistant Professor Trey Malone, Ph.D., who specializes in domestic food and agriculture, introduces direct marketing tips for aquaculture businesses and describes how to build and maintain relationships with a customer base. He explains basic marketing principles and, more specifically, describes how to use social media to effectively communicate and market products.

Technical Expertise and Professional Development for Aquaculture in the Great Lakes Region: A Panel Discussion

Lauren Jescovitch, Michigan Sea Grant
Dennis McIntosh – President-Elect, U.S. Aquaculture Society
Amy Riedel-Stone – Board of Directors, National Aquaculture Association
Michelle “Mick” Walsh – President, American Fisheries Society, Fish Culture Section
Matt Smith – Board of Directors, Technical Committee, Extension Chair, North Central Regional Aquaculture Center
Chris Hartleb – Director, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility

This panel of leaders within various aquaculture organizations discusses technical expertise and professional development opportunities open to farmers across the Great Lakes region.

Consumer Perceptions of Farmed Fish

Kristin Runge – Community Development Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension

University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension economics researcher Kristin Runge, Ph.D. summarizes the results of a consumer preference survey to better understand how consumers perceive locally farmed fish compared to wild and/or imported fish. Runge discusses the results and implications for aquaculture marketing and describes a project analyzing the success of targeted social media aquaculture product advertising.

Chef Jeff Igel Salmon Introduction and Q&A

Jeff Igel – Chef and Culinary Arts Instructor, Fox Valley Technical College

Fox Valley Technical College Culinary Arts Instructor and Chef Jeff Igel joins Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Elliot Nelson for a question-and-answer session on the best methods to select and prepare (cook) farm-raised fish from the Great Lakes region.

Cooking demonstrations:

Great Lakes Seafood Cooking Competition

Elliot Nelson – Michigan Sea Grant
Titus Seilheimer – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Cassidy Spencer
Michael Hatten
Stoyna Novakova

Join hosts Wisconsin Sea Grant Fisheries Outreach Specialist Titus Seilheminer, Ph.D. and Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Elliot Nelson for an exciting cooking competition. This video features three culinary contestants who compete for a grand prize of $250. Each contestant chose a local aquaculture product to use in their dish and had 20 minutes to complete their creation. Contestants incorporated a secret ingredient and cooked in their home kitchens. Fox Valley Technical College Culinary Arts Instructor and Chef Jeff Igel and Minnesota Sea Grant Fisheries and Aquaculture Extension Educator Amy Schrank, Ph.D. judged the competitors culinary creations.