The world population is increasing quickly, and contemporary food supplies are struggling to keep up with the need. U.S. consumers continue to demand an inexpensive, healthy protein source with minimal environmental impacts, and wild catch fisheries can no longer keep up with the demand or ecological concerns. Currently, the U.S. imports more than 90% of its edible seafood each year, including 98% of its Atlantic Salmon consumption.

The Freshwater Institute has long been the premier source for development and growth of sustainable fish farming in the North America, leading the way in state-of-the-art water recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) technologies research. For several decades, the Freshwater Institute has used its expertise in aquaculture engineering, aquatic veterinary medicine, aquaculture husbandry and production, industry outreach and water chemistry to address critical issues in the domestic seafood supply.

A recent cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service will continue that legacy of work.


Over the next five years, the Freshwater Institute will conduct research activities to improve the health and welfare of fish raised in RAS and to advance the technical and economic efficiencies of land-based closed-containment operations.

Research activities will include:

  • Identifying genetic strains of Atlantic salmon and steelhead for optimal performance in RAS
  • Assessing methods to reduce early sexual maturation in salmon
  • Assessing methods to improve water quality for fish rearing environment optimization
  • Developing next-generation biomonitors and computing technologies to improve fish health management and RAS environmental control
  • Developing means for RAS producers to monetize waste streams for enhanced economic viability
  • Developing precision aquaculture technologies for RAS by applying artificial intelligence and machine learning for real-time biomass estimation, feed monitoring, and health assessments

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The Freshwater Institute’s research is helping to address critical gaps in current RAS performance, production, costs, and efficiency. Research results from these areas increase the feasibility and success of RAS facilities that seek to provide a sustainable domestic seafood supply using environmentally-responsible aquaculture.

Read more about our scientific publications from this (and previous) projects for free: