Indiana aquaculture and soybeans were in the spotlight as National Seafood Month was celebrated during October. Indiana Soybean Alliance partnered with other Indiana organization and celebrities, including former Pacers player Deflef Schrempf, to assist the Seafood Nutrition Partnership in rolling out new messaging to promote the consumption of seafood.
ISA has been involved in supporting aquaculture as a market for soybeans for many years, including projects looking at the use soy-based fish feeds in countries like China, Egypt and India. Since 2007, the organization has focused on supporting domestic aquaculture production with the goal of building demand for soy-based fish feeds within the state.
As a leader in the aquaculture industry, Indiana was a good fit for the Seafood Nutrition Partnership to roll out its National Seafood Month campaign. The organization works to raise awareness about the nutritional benefits of eating seafood and give consumers the knowledge and confidence to meet the USDA's recommendations of two servings of fish per week.
Indiana is currently home to more than 40 fish farms, including a growing shrimp industry. Earlier this year, Bell Aquaculture opened a feed mill in Albany, Ind., which locally sources feed ingredients, including Indiana soybeans.
Currently, Indiana aquaculture producers raise roughly 1.5 million pounds of fish per year with an estimated value of $15 million.
"A key aspect of ISA's strategic plan is creating a robust aquaculture industry that utilizes our state's quality soybean in fish feed," said Sheila Lingle, director of ISA's aquaculture program. "The Seafood Nutrition Partnership spreads awareness of the benefits of a seafood-rich diet, and in turn, the value of Indiana's aquaculture industry."
ISA has worked with the Partnership to coordinate multiple efforts throughout Indianapolis to promote Indiana-raised fish and discuss the role the state's soybean industry plays in providing sustainable food.
The soybean checkoff assisted with the coordination of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership kickoff event earlier in the month, as well as various media interviews, including a panel discussion on a local NPR radio program featuring an Indiana aquaculture producer and a registered dietician.