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
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
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
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
The Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility in Red Cliff, Wis.Credit: Marie Zhuikov
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