Fish Farming finds its way to land-locked Midwest

Margery A. Beck, Associated Press, 13 December 2014 — The latest of five generations who have worked the same ground in northeastern Nebraska, 52-year-old Scott Garwood, isn’t growing corn or cattle – it’s fish. Specifically, thousands of an Australian freshwater species called barramundi – often dubbed Asian sea bass because of its similar sweet, white flaky flesh – in large tanks inside a warehouse.

Companies to Watch: American Sustainable Indoor Salmon Farming

Nicholas Geisler, OSMO Systems blog, 30 November 2014 — As part of our deep love for all things aquaculture, we’re profiling the companies and people making a difference in the future of farming. Today we’re talking about The Freshwater Institute, the Seafood Watch-approved indoor salmon farm that is changing the way we think about raising fish.

You won’t believe the source of the world’s most sustainable salmon

Josh Schonwald, TIME Magazine, 18 November 2014 — When you hear the term “sustainable seafood,” you might envision a fisherman pulling catch from a pristine sea. But a few weeks ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, arguably the world’s most influential arbiter of seafood sustainability, gave its highest stamp of approval to three companies that are about as far away from that fishing idyll as possible.

Shepherdstown tour shows ‘future of fish’

Chelsea DeMello, The Journal, 22 August 2014 — SHEPHERDSTOWN- Sunday Morning began like a trip to another world, as dozens of scientific representatives geared up safely in blue and white space uniforms to tour the Freshwater Institute to see the facility’s progress on food production sustainability.

Case Study: The fish have landed 

James Wright, Senior Editor, 17 July 2014 — Salamone of Wegmans hasn’t given up on the idea of fish farms positioned in close proximity to key markets. The 68-year-old veteran said he wishes he were 30 years younger so he could see the industry evolve to a point that may seem like a fantasy today.  “Ten years from now a company like Wegmans could raise its own fish on land somewhere,” he said. “That is the future for land-based aquaculture.”

Could fish farms help take pressure off wild stocks?

Whitney Pipkin, Bay Journal, 14 May 2014 — Salmon skins glisten in the waters below as three men wait, nets in hand, for the right catch to swim near the surface. The fish, grouped into one corner of an expansive pool, flop against its surface as the nets swoop in, splashing water that’s conspicuously salt-free onto the metal platform. This, of course, isn’t the wild, where 2-year-old Atlantic salmon like this rarely venture south of the Connecticut River and have seldom been spotted in the Chesapeake Bay. This is The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute, located nearly 80 miles inland in Shepherdstown, WV.

Land-based salmon: Coming (temporarily) to a restaurant near you

Whitney Pipkin, The Washington Post,, 18 April 2014 — Still have farmed salmon crossed off your short list of eco-friendly fish? A local version that’s available for a limited time in the Washington area could temporarily rewrite your rules. Most farmed salmon are raised in open nets or pens in the ocean, where their waste and potential to introduce parasites, diseases or non-native fish to the wild present serious environmental concerns. The Freshwater Institute, a program of the Arlington-based Conservation Fund, has been trying another way.

 A Case Against Open-Net Salmon Farms

John Randolph, 18 March 2014 – Can wild Atlantic and Pacific salmon be saved from extinction if floating open-net-pen fish farms are replaced by chemical- and disease-free, closed-cycle farms on land? The idea sounds too good to be true to an editor/writer who for more than 30 years has been following the first-promising and highly promoted birth of industrial floating fish farms from Norway, to Scotland, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, the Canadian Maritimes, British Columbia, and Chile. It has been a failed promise. The new hope is land-based, closed-containment systems for fish production.

Fish Farming in Land-Based Closed-Containment Systems

Summerfelt and Christianson, World Aquaculture Magazine, March 2014  – The Aquaculture Innovation Workshop #5 – An International Summit on Fish Farming in Land-Based Closed-Containment Systems was hosted by The Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute, Tides Canada (TC), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) and the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, WV, 4-6 September 2013. This international summit provided an opportunity for aquaculture producers, scientists, engineers, aquaculture industry suppliers, regulators and investors to communicate progress on the technical, biological and economic feasibility of culturing fish – particularly salmon – to food-size in land-based closed-containment systems.

Low-Water Salmon Tanks Draw Experts to Watch, Learn

Christine Pratt, The Wenatchee World, 27 February 2014  —  BAKER FLATS - Healthier fish, 70 percent less fresh water use, easier care and maintenance, cleaner water.  At a time when fisheries biologists are tasked with improving efficiency and reducing the cost of raising and releasing young salmon, an experiment undertaken by the Chelan County PUD in 2008 is turning heads around the region.

Farming salmon on land is possible – the future of fisheries may not require fish to ever see the ocean

Evelyn Boychuk, CBCNews, January 6, 2014 – “It’s no longer possible to say that recirculation aquaculture systems … are not possible for Atlantic salmon, because we’re living proof that is [not] the case,” says Jackie Hildering, community liaison for the Namgis closed-containment project.

Making it work – ASF co-hosts an international summit on land-based fish farming

Jonathan Carr, Atlantic Salmon Journal Winter 2013 — Forty years ago, in 1973, a small group of scientists gathered at the College of Cape Breton in Sydney Nova Scotia, to hear a presentation about salmon aquaculture in Norway. The idea of net pen aquaculture in Atlantic Canada garnered much skepticism at that time. Read Jon Carr’s assessment of how we got here and where we are going in Atlantic salmon aquaculture.

Shepherdstown’s Freshwater Institute offers sustainable aquaculture, December 2, 2013. — Tucked away off the back roads of Shepherdstown is a typical-looking farmhouse. A gravel drive winds behind it, leading to a nondescript building, a research lab that is the heart of the Freshwater Institute, an internationally recognized program of The Conservation Fund.  Nature is teeming in that lab, the centerpiece of which is a tank filled with 40,000 gallons of water and 5,000 Atlantic salmon, each weighing about 4 to 6 pounds. That tank and the fish within it feed the research into sustainable aquaculture conducted by the staff, including Senior Research Associate John W. Davidson III.  VIDEO: Watch this great piece by the Herald Mail featuring our work producing Atlantic salmon.

Seafood Solutions Of The Future: Growing By Sea And By Land

Press Release. September 19, 2013. — International Symposium Offers Insights into Rapidly Evolving Aquaculture Technology and the Growth of Clean, Land-Based Systems.

Does the future of fisheries rest on dry land?

Rosemary Westwood, Maclean’s September 1, 2013 — The idea of Prairie seafood may seem outlandish, but with soaring demand running headlong into environmental concerns over fish farms, some believe the future of the fisheries industry rests on dry land.  At the Cheslakees Indian Reserve near Port McNeill on Vancouver Island, environmental groups and the ’Namgis First Nation recently opened North America’s first commercial-scale Atlantic salmon farm based entirely on land.

Land-based salmon farming waiting for its big break

Elisabeth Fischer April 4, 2013 — The views on land-based salmon farming are ambivalent, but the call for a move onshore seems to be growing louder every day.  Up to a dozen new farms are currently in various planning or construction stages all around the world, in addition to the four that have already been stocked with smolts.  And the industry interest is “tremendous” and growing, Steven Summerfelt, director, aquaculture systems research at the Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute, one of the major research institutes into on-land recirculation systems for salmon, told Intrafish. (Article pdf courtesy of  Land-based salmon farming waiting for its big break -First in Seafood News – Intrafish )

Update On Viability Of Land-Farmed Salmon – Interview with CBC New Brunswick  Information Morning St. John  February 4, 2013 — The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute in West Virginia has been experimenting with large-scale, on land salmon farming. The private non-profit is ready to release a report on its findings soon. Steven Summerfelt is the Institute’s director of Aquaculture Systems Research.  Dr. Steven Summerfelt provides an update on the realities and the promising future of land-based closed containment salmon aquaculture with CBC’s Hance Colburne on the Information Morning St. John show.  Highlights include a response to concerns about production costs compared to conventional net-pen ocean farming and illustration of the need for consumers to consider the full value of environmentally responsible sources when making purchase decisions.  

Aquaculture Innovation Workshop No. 4 – Comox, British Columbia, December 15, 2012 — Proceedings and presentations are available for the 4th Aquaculture Innovation Workshop held 5-6 November, 2012 in Comox, BC .  Working with co-hosts Tides Canada and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Fund’s Freshwater Institute assembled an international agenda of speakers with a focus on farmed salmon production in land-based closed-containment systems.  A special seafood reception for attendees and guests featured salmon preparations from fish sustainably produced in the Freshwater Institute’s Shepherdstown, WV facility.

Second Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture – Future of Smolt Production October 30, 2012 — Freshwater Institute staff were invited for presentations at the Second Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture – Future of Smolt Production, held 23-24 October 2012, in Sunndalsøra, Norway. The conference focused on Norway’s recent emphasis to expand Atlantic salmon smolt production using water recirculating systems to conserve water and provide a more optimum environment for smolt production.  Dr. Christopher Good’s presentation was titled The Effects of High (20 mg/L) Versus Low (10 mg/L) Dissolved Carbon Dioxide Exposure on Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar in Replicated Water Recirculation Systems. Dr. Steven Summerfelt provided a keynote presentation titled Research and Developments in Closed Containment Aquaculture Throughout the World.  

New Farming Technologies Produce Healthier Salmon September 24, 2012 — A partnership between Freshwater and the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), a conservation organization with headquarters in St. Andrews New Brunswick, is producing healthy, unstressed farmed salmon that are free of disease and sea lice in closed-containment freshwater facilities on land without vaccines, harsh chemicals and antibiotics. The goal is to give fish farmers and regulators the opportunity to choose a different way to grow fish that is not only better for the environment, but also better for business. 

Public Health Threats Are Lurking In Water Supply

Martinsburg Journal-News. August 17, 2012 – Following up on the article “Jefferson Stream Declared Impaired By Fecal Bacteria,” Freshwater Institute scientist, Michael Schwartz provided details on the Institute’s Septic Risk Model in a Letter to the Editor.  The model can be used to identify particular zones in the watershed where poorly performing or sited septic systems would almost certainly lead to pollution of the stream.  The data can then be used to assure that cost-share funding will be targeted to provide the best environmental outcome.

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito Visits Freshwater

Shepherdstown Chronicle. April 20, 2012 – On Friday, April 13, 2012, West Virginia Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito visited with Dr. Steven Summerfelt at The Freshwater Institute to learn about our ongoing research to produce healthy, safe and nutritious fish in the United States. 

Closed-containment Salmon-farming Project Paying Environmental, Economic, Culinary Dividends
SeaFood Business Magazine. April 5, 2012 — Article titled “Closed-containment salmon-farming project paying environmental, economic, culinary dividends” in the April 5, 2012 edition of SeaFood Business magazine mentions our Atlantic salmon research. 
YSI Donation To Freshwater Institute Helps Protect And Restore Healthy Populations Of Salmon

Press Release. November 15, 2011 — The Freshwater Institute benefits from a donation of technology and expertise from YSI, a developer and manufacturer of water quality monitoring and testing equipment. Freshwater is using the donation to grow healthily populations of salmon and trout on land.