Minnesota aquaculture industry asks for money for comprehensive plan

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Several representatives from different parts of aquaculture held talks on Tuesday, October 12, preceding the Minnesota Legislature’s agriculture finance and policy committee, over a bill that would give $ 100,000 to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. to develop such a plan. Don Schreiner of Minnesota Sea Grant, an association of the University of Minnesota Duluth and the federal government, said aquaculture is a $ 5 million business each year in Minnesota, about half of which is in the trap trade, 25% in the loading of fish from lakes and rivers and 25% in fish for consumption for buyers. “It’s the fastest growing type of agriculture in the world,” Schreiner said.

Even though baitfish make up the largest part of the state’s aquaculture industry, there continues to be a bait shortage in Minnesota.

While there is an aquaculture plan in Minnesota, he said it is over 30 years old and needs to be updated.

Barry Thoele of Lincoln Bait, in Staples Minnesota, is the baitfish representative for the Minnesota Aquaculture Association. He said the baitfish industry is important in supporting tourism and wants to avoid having to import bait from other states, which carries the risk of introducing invasive species and pathogens into the waters. of Minnesota.

The committee also learned that there is great interest in aquaculture among the minority community with an opportunity for economic development in urban areas.

“The land of 10,000 lakes should be able to produce enough baitfish for its own needs,” Thoele said.

The money for the plan is included in Bill 2391, sponsored by Ginny Klevorn, D-Plymouth.

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  • Minnesota aquaculture industry asks for money for comprehensive plan
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