Emma Wiermaa – Aquaculture Outreach Specialist

Emma Wiermaa

Credit: Marie Zhuikov
July 2, 2014

By Marie Zhuikov

Emma Wiermaa is working to give aquaculture a good name -- not that it has a bad name -- but people sometimes have misconceptions about its fish-raising practices and food safety. Wiermaa is the new part-time outreach specialist at the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF) in Red Cliff, Wis. The facility is part of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and is used by researchers and fish farmers alike to learn more about cultivating fish.

Wiermaa’s position is a first for the NADF, which began operating in 2002 and sits just off Highway 13 on the scenic Bayfield Peninsula. It’s the result of a formal partnership with Wisconsin Sea Grant that began earlier this year in an effort to strengthen the state’s aquaculture industry. Among Wiermaa’s duties are writing, creating promotional materials like brochures, updating the NADF website, creating a Facebook page, conducting facility tours, and other public outreach activities.

“Yesterday, we had 40

The Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility in Red Cliff, Wis.

Credit: Marie Zhuikov
fifth-graders from Bayfield come for a tour,” Wiermaa said. “Other people just stop in. It doesn’t matter. We want people to come here and learn about the research that goes on and to learn more about aquaculture.”

Wiermaa said that during the tour, she described the usefulness of aquaculture to the children’s lives by explaining that most of the minnows they use for fishing bait come from aquaculture facilities. Wiermaa developed her way with children during college when, as part of her work study program, she took them to outdoor camps as well as coordinating after-school programs for elementary students. Wiermaa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in ecology and environmental science. Previously, she worked at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minn., where she coordinated the Adopt-A-BeachTM program for the Alliance for the Great Lakes for the first time in Minnesota.

Wiermaa is looking forward to receiving her official orientation at UW-Stevens Point, then she’ll be off, touring area fish farms and eventually making presentations at conferences. “It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’m excited by the opportunity,” she said.

For more information about the NADF, see our recent story.


contact Emma Wiermaa, call (715) 779-3461 or email her at ewiermaa@uwsp.edu.