The weakest link in the perch production process has been and currently is obtaining high-grade feed trained fingerlings for grow-out. In the 1980s and 90s Wisconsin had several facilities which supplied feed trained fingerlings to new indoor recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS). Unfortunately, all of the RAS systems in Wisconsin, as well as other states, went out of business because of the poor supply of feed trained fingerlings as well as poor RAS designs. To achieve a premium grow-out perch, fish have to be continuously size graded (high graded for premium quality) in order to make grow-out profitable. We currently have a ready market for premium feed trained fish in grow-out systems such as the use of pond-side tanks at Blue Iris Fish Farm, most high school aquaculture systems and aquaponics systems the last two being viable RAS systems. Unfortunately, there are no growers supplying feed trained fingerlings for these markets. We intend to address that problem head-on and develop an intense recirculating perch rearing system that will allow each farmer to supply multiple grow-out facilities with the required number of feed trained fingerlings they need yearly.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1 will ensure that all participants obtain the training to conduct feed training perch fry.
Objective 2 will have each participant prepare onsite hatching and feed training facilities designed to create an adequate supply of feed trained fingerlings for sale to grow-out facilities.
Objective 3 is to create a local network of farmers supplying feed trained fingerlings.