Freshwater InstituteFreshwater Institute
October 9, 2020
Mari-Len De Guzman, Hatchery International — Thirty-four-year-old Curtis Crouse is the assistant aquaculture production manager at The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Learn more about Curtis, his role as a hands-on RAS expert, and why he's a Top 10 Under 40.

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January 5, 2020
Amy Nordstrom, IEEE Spectrum, January 5, 2020–Inside a row of nondescript buildings in the small town of Albany, in northeast Indiana—approximately 1,000 kilometers from the nearest coast—Atlantic salmon are sloshing around in fiberglass tanks.

Only in the past five years has it become possible to raise thousands of healthy fish so far from the shoreline without contaminating millions of gallons of fresh water. A technology called recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) now allows indoor aquaculture farms to recycle up to 99 percent of the water they use. And the newest generation of these systems will help one biotech company bring its unusual fish to U.S. customers for the first time this year.

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October 31, 2018
Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS). Photo by Scott Tsukuda
Media Statement by Brian Vinci, Director, Freshwater Institute

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February 5, 2018
Jason Huffman, Undercurrent News, February 5, 2018– Large-track construction vehicles roll over white sand on 80 acres of property that until recently was used to grow tomatoes. Everything has been progressing here in a way that should allow Atlantic Sapphire to open what would be the US' first operational, large-scale commercial salmon farm and deliver an initial harvest of 800 metric tons by mid-2020 as planned, Johan Andreassen, the founder and CEO, assured a small group of investors during a tour late last month. 

The Freshwater Institute, a research organization sponsored by the Conservation Fund, has been raising salmon on land in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for the past seven years as part of an effort to advance the practice, frequently selling its small 20,000 to 40,000 lb annual harvest to a Maryland dealer.

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January 10, 2018
Sharon Durham, AgResearch Magazine – Although the global aquaculture industry produced 73.8 million tons of fish and shellfish, with an estimated first-sale value of $160.2 billion in 2014, the United States is still the leading global importer of fish and fishery products. 

ARS also provides funding to The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute (TCFFI), in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to develop these kinds of technologies. Recirculating water systems can help increase the amount of fish available to markets while solving some of the problems inherent in open-water fish farms.

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November 15, 2017
Gloria Dickie, Oceans Deeply, 15 November 2017 – The recent escape of 160,000 Atlantic salmon raised in Pacific Ocean pens and environmental concerns about the impact of fish farms on wild populations have prompted a new look at inland aquaculture.summ

“The biggest challenge is the capital that’s required to produce salmon on land and compete in the marketplace,” said Steve Summerfelt, director of aquaculture systems research at the Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute, which specializes in the design of aquaculture systems to promote water conservation. “When you start accounting for paying back capital, it makes it a more challenging business proposition. Right now, entrepreneurs are trying to prove it’s economically viable. There are only a few pioneers trying to be first, and a lot wanting to be second.”

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November 14, 2017
Victoria Ritter, Gears of Biz, 14 November 2017 – Most of the studies investigating the use of ozone for enhancing the quality of water in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) reiterate the effectiveness of ozone in creating an ideal water environment. 

The ability of ozone to improve the water quality and to control various other water parameters in municipal and aquaculture tanks has been established. According to a study conducted at the Freshwater Institute, rainbow trout (Figure 1) exhibited more growth in an ozonized low exchange RAS than in a non-ozonized system. The study focussed on investigating the ability of ozone to create a favorable water environment for salmonids.

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August 31, 2017
Jordan Simonson, Jackson County Chronicle, 31 August 2017 – The largest Atlantic salmon farm in the country, Superior Fresh, opened its doors to Gov. Scott Walker Thursday in the small town of Northfield in Jackson County, providing a look into the future of harvesting fish and producing vegetables.

With the vision Superior Fresh has shown in the project, Steven Summerfelt, Ph.D., the director of aquaculture systems research for the Freshwater Institute, said it is the wave of the future.

“Superior Fresh is showing us what the future of seafood and agriculture is looking like at a commercial scale. Just the tour today, if a picture is a 1,000 words, this was a novel, and this novel isn’t science fiction. This is the future of environmentally-controlled agriculture,” Summerfelt said.
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