Great Lakes Aquaculture Day to highlight regional fish farmers, chefs and extension specialists

All welcome at this free, virtual event

The first Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Day will be held Saturday, October 10. The online event will showcase the region’s potential for fish and seafood production and include a culinary competition. 

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Activities begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. central time with the cooking challenge, in which culinary students will test their creativity and flair.

The day will feature a variety of panel discussions and presentations on aquaculture. Those presentations will be targeted at a variety of audiences, from beginning and current farmers to consumers interested in learning more about preparing and cooking seafood.

The event is hosted by the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative, a project of Sea Grant programs across the region—including Wisconsin Sea Grant—that are working to share resources and promote best practices in the aquaculture industry. 

Emma Wiermaa of Wisconsin Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF) will be one of the presenters at Great Lakes Aquaculture Day. She is pictured with NADF Assistant Director and Research Program Manager Greg Fischer. (Photo: Narayan Mahon)

Wisconsin Sea Grant outreach specialists Emma Wiermaa—who holds a joint position with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility in Bayfield, where she is based—and Titus Seilheimer, a fisheries specialist, will participate in the event.

The day will conclude with a cooking demonstration featuring Chef Jeff Igel of the Wisconsin Technical College System, followed by a competition between three culinary students from the Great Lakes region. Each student will be required to use a key ingredient and local aquaculture products in his or her dish. 

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative is currently accepting applications from post-secondary students for the competition. The three students selected will each receive a $250 stipend to cover ingredients costs and time. 

All Great Lakes Aquaculture Day attendees will be able to interact with other participants throughout the event and during breakout lunch gatherings. 

As the fastest-growing sector of agriculture worldwide, aquaculture now accounts for more than 50% of world seafood production, surpassing that from wild-caught fisheries. However, aquaculture growth in the U.S. has been stagnant, and seafood supply from U.S.-based, wild-caught fisheries is not enough to meet nationwide demand. One result of that is a $14 billion seafood trade deficit. 

The U.S. aquaculture industry has potential for growth, particularly in the Great Lakes region, where abundant inland freshwater resources have enabled a handful of state-based aquaculture operations to employ a local workforce and produce sustainable, healthy and tasty fish. 

For more information about the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Day 2020 event and registration, visit the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative website or contact Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Elliot Nelson. For information about the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative, contact Minnesota Sea Grant Extension Educator Amy Schrank.