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.

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...


Genetic Analysis of Virulence Factors of the Fish Pathogen Flavobacterium columnare

Mark McBride, UW-Milwaukee, (414) 229-5844,
David Hunnicutt, St. Norbert College, (920) 403-3200,

Flavobacterium columnare is a common fish pathogen that causes columnaris disease in wild and farmed freshwater fishes and results in devastating losses in the aquaculture industry. The disease has been recognized for nearly 100 years, but a lack of genetic tools to manipulate the bacterium has hampered identification of the mechanisms of pathogenesis. The researchers developed robust genetic tools and procedures for Flavobacterium johnsoniae and recently demonstrated that some of these function in F. columnare; they propose to adapt additional genetic tools for use in F. columnare.  F. johnsoniae GldN is a component of a novel protein secretion system.  The researchers suspect that F. columnare GldN is involved in secretion of the chondroitinase CslA, and that GldN and CslA are needed for virulence. To test these hypotheses, wild-type, gldN mutants and cslA mutants will be examined for ability to cause disease in the model zebrafish system and in yellow perch. R/SFA-08


Urban Aquaculture
UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences personnel, supported by Wisconsin Sea Grant, will provide technical assistance in all aspects of urban aquaculture with expertise in biological, chemical, physical and economic parameters. Sea Grant will use this opportunity to involve new people and potential investors in the urban setting, which has the advantage of product availability near consumer demand, which also reduces transportation costs and can create jobs in central cities.

Workforce Training on Aquaculture
This project recognizes the varied levels of expertise for those in Wisconsin’s aquaculture industry and responds with a series of teaching modules based on a three-tiered system of progressive advancement using online lectures and in-person workshops. Overall, the focus is on cold- and cool-water fish production Tier one encompasses a business plan, permitting and regulations, and marketing. Tier two involves nutrition, fish health and pond culture. Tier three will provide training on recirculating aquaculture systems, principles of biofiltration and aquaponics. This project aligns with NOAA’s 2013 strategic plan that calls for the need to create a skilled workforce and effective technology transfer.

Cool- and Cold-Water Aquaculture
Through this project, Wisconsin’s  existing and prospective aquaculturists will gain increased access to University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility technology and information regarding fish biology, engineering and water chemistry related to the health and growth potential for fish species such as hybrid walleye and sauger (known as saugeye), lake trout, lake herring, Arctic char, yellow perch and Atlantic salmon.

Aquaculture and Aquaponics Curriculum and Training
This project of Sea Grant, partner individual school districts, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and other groups will develop aquaculture and aquaponics curriculum and training programs specifically directed to science and agricultural educators within Wisconsin’s and First Nation school systems. This education program will expand Sea Grant involvement to more than 30 schools.

Aquaponics Manual
This project will produce a comprehensive, region-specific aquaponics manual covering all aspects of fin fish and plant production from initial concept and system design to the final phase of marketing and processing of fin fish, plants and vegetables. This new-age aquaponics concept will be used on a regional and national level.

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