May 27, 2021
Brian Vinci, IntraFish — Entrepreneurs, risk-takers, tech developers and others have been pushing forward recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for decades, and they know the challenges that lie ahead. Brian Vinci, director of The Conservation Fund's Freshwater Institute, discusses more.

January 5, 2021
Brian Vinci, IntraFish — Brian Vinci is director of The Conservation Fund's Freshwater Institute, one of the world's leading research institutions on recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and land-based salmon farming in particular.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”