Michigan Sea Grant Aquaculture Integrated Assessment Project nearing completion
A Michigan aquaculture industry assessment is aimed to move Michigan’s aquaculture forward to satisfy consumer demands for safe and sustainable seafood.
Michigan Sea Grant funded an integrated assessment project that examined the causes and consequences of the current underdeveloped aquaculture industry in Michigan with a focus on production of seafood for human consumption. A comprehensive and thorough assessment of Michigan aquaculture helped the project team, along with potential and existing aquaculture practitioners, policy makers, the public and other interested stakeholders, understand the complex interactions between aquaculture industry growth, regulatory control, economics and stakeholder risks and benefits. Michigan Sea Grant has engaged a research team to lead this project and provide technical assistance as needed. The team consisted of experts from Michigan State University (MSU) and , a firm that specializes in helping companies and institutions in the food and agriculture sector create and deliver strategy solutions that satisfy consumer demands for healthier foods.
Within the integrated assessment, a needs assessment was designed to determine the overall scope of the aquaculture issues in the state of Michigan. Status, attributes, and barriers facing Michigan’s aquaculture industry were identified, as well as current and potential stakeholders. Using the data generated through the needs assessment, the research team developed a strategic action plan, designed to expand Michigan’s current aquaculture activities into a sustainable seafood production industry. This strategic action plan will be used as a guide for future planning and implementation, and provide stakeholders with a better understanding of sustainable aquaculture and benefits associated with seafood.
A recent meeting was held at MSU to discuss the aquaculture integrated assessment with participation from the aquaculture sector, various state agencies, Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension. Michigan has advantages for aquaculture production as we are in proximity to 20 percent of the world’s freshwater. Additionally, 41 percent of North America’s population is within 500 miles of Detroit which lends to potential markets. The vision is to grow a thriving and sustainable aquaculture sector. The mission in Michigan is to grow the aquaculture industry to a $1 billion food sector by 2025 that compliments natural resource conservation and recreational uses of water.
The goals to reach this aquaculture development in Michigan are quick wins through expansion of current extensive production capacity by 2014-15, establish Michigan as a leader in U.S. freshwater aquaculture, and achieve broad stakeholder trust in fish farmers as stewards of the water and the environment. For more details, see the Michigan Sea Grant Aquaculture Integrated Assessment Project.