The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) is one of the five Regional Aquaculture Centers established by Congress. A network of aquaculture extension specialists has been established among states served by NCRAC. These individuals coordinate development and distribution of educational materials on all phases of aquaculture ventures and conduct training workshops for extension colleagues and members of the industry. Regional networks of each center in the U.S. are also linked to facilitate the flow of aquaculture information nationwide.
The proximity of Illinois and Indiana to many major markets and the abundance of natural and agricultural resources provide tremendous long-term opportunities for aquaculture farms and businesses in these states. Whether you are an aquaculture producer or you are thinking of getting into an aquaculture business, resources listed here will provide you with science-based information and education to ensure a productive, innovative and profitable aquaculture business.
Small-scale aquaculture producers have income opportunities if they plan their production processes—and plan them
well. One of the fundamental principles in marketing is to make it part of the overall planning process. Consider marketing decisions as important as production decisions. No matter how small your aquaculture operation, developing a marketing plan for what you will produce is the best strategy because the fish have to be sold once they reach marketable sizes.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish & Wildlife has a list of aquatic species found in Indiana. Be aware as the species listed are concerning as they outcompete native species, threaten human health, change and degrade the ecosystem, and/or require intense maintenance and monitoring.
Non-native plants, animals, and pathogens can be introduced and spread through a variety of activities including those associated with boaters, anglers, water gardeners, aquarium hobbyists, and K-12 educators. IISG works with these groups to provide the tools they need to prevent the introduction and spread of these harmful organisms. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) has publications, programs, intiatives and news articles available to answer any questions you may have.
Aquaponics combines the soil-less growing technique of hydroponics with fish farming. Fish farming is gaining popularity in the state of Indiana and this concept of plant growth along with the fish farming technique is a topic many are wanting to learn more about.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) hosts annual fisheries meetings each spring and fall that highlight new and ongoing research related to fisheries and fishing on Lake Michigan. Workshops are held in the evening, with options for in-person at venues convenient for anglers in Illinois and Indiana as well as virtually. Anglers of all experience levels, ages, and backgrounds are encouraged to join to discuss topics such as how yellow perch use wetlands to forage, how the DNR decides how many fish to stock, and what contaminants to consider when preparing your catch for dinner.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) collate fisheries data from state fisheries agencies describing angling effort and species-specific catches for Lake Michigan. This work has resulted in more than 30 years of fisheries data published in two interactive websites: Angler Archive and Fish Atlas.
Eat Midwest Fish is an online resource hub that educates consumers about sustainable aquaculture in the Midwest. Consumers have a lot of questions about water farming and farm-raised fish products. Eat Midwest Fish provides resources to inform and inspire consumers to eat more fish and shellfish, including resources focused on where to find locally grown products, what types of products are available, how to source and cook these products, and how farmers are growing both freshwater and marine animals in the Midwest. Information is provided on aquaculture and farm-raised products from the twelve states in the North Central Region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant owns and maintains three real-time monitoring buoys that are deployed annually in nearshore Lake Michigan in the waters of Michigan City, Indiana, as well as Chicago and Wilmette, Illinois. The real-time buoy data is publicly available and used by a wide audience. The National Weather Service uses buoy data to forecast wave and weather conditions, observe current conditions, and change forecasts when observations are not as expected. Boaters, anglers, paddlers, and surfers use the data to assess conditions before traveling out for the day. Charter captains use the data to make decisions about the safety of their customers and crew, as well as which locations will be good for fishing. Scientists use real-time buoy data to improve Lake Michigan predictions for the near- or long-term future.