In a time when fish from oceans and other waterways are being harvested at unsustainable rates, aquaculture has become the fastest growing food production industry in the world. But less than one percent of the farm-raised seafood consumed in the U.S. is produced in the Midwest. Through workshops, educational materials, and one-on-one interactions, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant helps aquaculture producers define markets and create value-added opportunities for their products.


Programs & Initiatives


Aquaponics is an intensive system that combines aquaculture fish production with growing plants in a hydroponic system. The basic principle is that fish are raised in tanks, and part or all of the nutrient-rich wastewater is then circulated to the hydroponic plant production system. The plants take up the water and nutrients, thereby cleaning the water, which is then circulated back into the fish tanks.

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Economics and Cost Analysis

Potential aquaculture producers need to consider the fish farming enterprise and ask: What will it cost me to get started? What type of return can I hope to make on my investment? What type of fish should I raise? What type of systems do I need to install and build? Where can I sell my product? IISG’s aquaculture program is providing science-based answers to these questions in the form of decision tools, information, and technical assistance needed to select appropriate species for production, develop enterprise budgets, and evaluate start-up costs and profit potentials.

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Farm Management

Managing a fish farm business involves much more than growing and selling fish, and a lot of it can be technical in nature. Some aspects that IISG can assist with are overall business planning, species selection, infrastructure for production, fish stocking, fish feeding, water quality, etc.

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Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative (GLAC) is a three-year federally funded project that seeks to create a region-wide group to foster relevant, science based initiatives that support aquaculture industries in the Great Lakes region.

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No matter how small the aquaculture operations may be, developing a marketing plan for what is to be produced is the best strategy because once fish are produced up to marketable sizes, they have to be sold.

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Fish sales from the majority of aquaculture producers in Illinois and Indiana currently take place in live markets in large metropolitan areas, often out of state or out of the country. We strive to sell foods locally when at all possible—nearby processing facilities provide another opportunity for producers to take advantage of local markets. Research on processing facilities, product yields, and the economics of processing and distribution can determine if the lack of local facilities is limiting the growth of aquaculture in Illinois and Indiana.

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Technical Assistance

Aquaculture is a science that takes quite a bit of research, biological understanding, and technology to be successful. We aim to lessen the learning curve for producers by providing technical assistance, helping emerging aquaculture operations become successful.

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Walleye Aquaculture Working Group

The Walleye Aquaculture Working Group is a multidisciplinary team of aquaculture producers, researchers, and extension personnel working to identify and address barriers to developing an environmentally and economically sustainable walleye aquaculture market in Illinois, Indiana, and beyond.

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Research Projects

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant funds original research projects that support and complement our education and outreach activities. The link below will take you the Aquaculture section of our funded research database, where you will find project descriptions, contact information, and final reports and publications.

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Aquaculture Contact Information

Topic Specialist

Kwamena Quagrainie
Aquaculture Marketing Specialist
Andrew Coursey
Aquaculture Specialist
Amy Shambach
Aquaculture Marketing Associate

Research Projects

Carolyn Foley
Research Coordinator


Ethan Chitty
Administrative Assistant

Education & Training

Terri Hallesy
Education Coordinator
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