Nestled in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, Crystal Lake Fisheries has been a family trout farm for 70 years. Dwight and Mary Alice Emerson came to the site in 1950, drawn by the natural spring, and soon the Emerson’s were in the aquaculture business.
Crystal Lake Fisheries is the latest aquaculture farm featured in Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s video series Local Farmers, Local Fish.
“We created this video series to help inform seafood consumers as well as recreational anglers about fish and seafood farming in the Midwest,” said Amy Shambach, IISG aquaculture marketing outreach associate. “Aquaculture is a diverse and often misunderstood industry.”
This video is the first in the series to highlight aquaculture focused on raising fish for stocking.
The Emersons raise their own registered strain of rainbow trout from eggs to sportfish and they deliver these fish to private customers and through community and state contracts to stock local lakes and streams in Missouri and many other states.
“Our fish are fast biting and hard fighting,” said David Emerson, one of the Emersons’ sons and Crystal Lake Fisheries co-owner, along with his brother Marvin. “The majority of what we sell is stocked in water for people to catch.”
Trout have a long history of being farmed in the United States, going back to the 1800s, raised both for food and in state and private hatcheries for stocking. These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are considered a “Best Choice” seafood option for pregnant women and children by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.
This video is the ninth in the Local Farmers, Local Fish series that has highlighted farms in five Midwestern states. The project is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Sea Grant Office and in partnership with Purdue University, University of Illinois, North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, and the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.
For more information on trout and other locally raised fish, visit Eat Midwest Fish, which includes trout recipes, watch local farmers videos or download IISG’s Rainbow Trout: Farmed Fish Factsheet, developed to answer consumer questions about these fish.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant is a partnership between NOAA, University of Illinois Extension, and Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources, bringing science together with communities for solutions that work. Sea Grant is a network of 34 science, education and outreach programs located in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Lake Champlain, Puerto Rico and Guam.
Writer: Irene Miles
Contact: Amy Shambach