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Saltwater Fish Farming Moves Inland

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief

Tags: farms, fish farming, ,

Hank Will and Mulefoot piglet.Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have discovered that some of the most cherished saltwater fish species can be raised from eggs to market size hundreds, if not thousands of miles from the ocean, or any body of saltwater for that matter. The two saltwater fish species in question, pompano and cobia, are among the most aggressively sought culinary delights in the restaurant business and natural populations run the risk of damage due to over fishing.

Market-sized cobia reared in tanks.

Using an energy and environmentally sparing re-circulating aquaculture system (RAS) ARS scientists have shown that it is possible to rear market-quality fish in water that is less than 20 percent the salinity of seawater. Compared with other sea-side salt-water fish farming methods that pump millions of gallons of seawater through rearing pens each year, the RAS method reuses most of the water more or less indefinitely and produces minimal daily wastewater (about 3 percent of the total gallons circulated through the system.

Market-sized pompano raised in tanks.

Although the RAS method of farming saltwater fish is still experimental, the possibility of setting up such an operation on acreages around the country appeals to me. Perhaps I will be a Kansas cobia farmer someday. Read more about this interesting new development here.

Photos by Stephen Ausmus – courtesy ARS.

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .