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Salmon farming industry gets boost with funding

The national office of Sea Grant has announced $11 million in grants for 22 projects across the United States with the goal of advancing the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry in the country.

Aquaculture is a $21-million industry in the state of Wisconsin where the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute was one of the Sea Grant programs selected for the funding.

The Wisconsin project, “Overcoming barriers to support the growth of land-based Atlantic salmon production in the Great Lakes region,” will receive approximately $245,000 in federal funds during its first year, according to a release from the Wisconsin Sea Grant website.

The total budget for the two-year project, including both federal and non-federal matching dollars, is approximately $773,000.

Researchers will focus on two key issues that have hindered the continuing growth of the land-based salmon industry in the United States: fish health and fish flavour.

“Land-based salmon aquaculture is growing by leaps and bounds in North America. This research study is very exciting because it is really going to help the industry,” said Greg Fischer, facility operations manager at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility. “We are working in close concert with private partners that are doing this type of aquaculture right now.”

Researchers say the farmed salmon must have a “flawless” flavour profile to fix the flavour problem with some farm-raised salmon tasting “off” or musty, the article states.

“This project will help to ensure that Atlantic salmon harvested have the very best flavor profile: succulent, buttery-rich and mild,” said Dr. Steven Summerfelt, chief science officer at Superior Fresh,the largest Atlantic salmon aquaponics facility in the world.

The impact of the research is expected to go far beyond the Wisconsin market.

Read the full story here.