With today's focus on natural, healthful and locally sourced foods, a visit to a Wisconsin fish farm offers people of all walks of life the ideal way to celebrate a quintessential pastime of summer. On Saturday, July 18 — Aquaculture Day — the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association and member fish farmers welcome Wisconsinites to experience fish farming and learn firsthand how locally-grown, fresh fish are raised on today's farms.
"Family, fun and fishing go hand-in-hand when adults and kids learn how aquaculture provides local healthy food, and improves the state's economy, local communities and recreational opportunities," says Peter Fritsch, president of the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association and owner of Rushing Waters Fisheries in Palmyra.
Throughout the state, individual fish farms will offer activities including farm tours, a fishing contest, cooking demonstrations, recipes and educational talks. Some farms will have gourmet tastes including fresh and smoked fish, and spreads from trout and salmon, and more for sampling and sale. Several offer fee fishing, a fun outdoor family activity where guests can experience getting a fresh catch from a local fish farmer. Visitors can also learn about raising fish, both outdoors and in an aquaponic system, or simply have fun fishing.
To promote and celebrate the event, which the state legislature has named Aquaculture Day designating the third Saturday of July, Wisconsin's 68th Alice in Dairyland Teyanna Loether will be visiting Silver Moon Springs in Elton at noon to highlight the importance of aquaculture. She wants to bring a creative focus on where food comes from, connecting the farmer to the consumer and the food they eat and incorporating the story behind Wisconsin agriculture.
Participating Wisconsin Aquaculture Member Fish Farms open for tours and activities during Aquaculture Day, include:
•Bullfrog's Eat My Fish Farm, Menomonie (Central WI)
•Century Trout Farm, Oregon (South Central WI)
•Coolidge Springs Trout Ranch, Fifield (Northern WI)
•Eagles Roost Trout Farm, New Richmond (Northwest WI)
•Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, UW-Stevens Point, Red Cliff (Northern WI)
•PortFish, Knellsville (Southeast WI)
•Rushing Waters Fisheries, Palmyra (Southeast WI)
•Silver Moon Springs, Elton (Northeast WI)
•Skyline Gardens and Ponds, River Falls (Northwest WI)
•Timberline Trout Ranch, Rice Lake (Northwest WI)
•Vozka's Fish Farm, Deerbrook (Northern WI)
•Wilderness Springs, Inc., New London (Central WI)
For details on specific host farm tours and activities, visit www.wisconsinaquaculture.com, under "Events".
Aquaculture, or fish farming, is defined as the raising of aquatic organisms in controlled settings, and Wisconsin's private aquaculture dates back to 1856. Wisconsin fish farming is very diverse raising trout, yellow perch, and bluegills for food; walleye, northern pike, Muskie and bass for stocking; and minnows for bait. Wisconsin ranks 1st in the Midwest and 20th in the nation for aquaculture, and boasts a $21 million economic impact with more than 2,800 fish farms. This impact generates more than $2,400 every hour to our state economy.
From fish farmers to feed suppliers and tourism, aquaculture provides jobs in our rural communities throughout our state.
For more information on Aquaculture Day, visit the website www.WisconsinAquaculture.com or contact WAA Secretary Cindy Johnson at 814.515.2570.
Source: Wisconsin Aquaculture Association