Aquaculture is a growing industry in Indiana with farm sales
of more than $15 million. Hoosiers produce a variety of fish and shellfish
including yellow perch, hybrid striped bass, tilapia, trout, marine shrimp,
freshwater prawns, catfish, large and small mouth bass, bluegill and ornamental
fish. Indiana’s geographic location allows the aquaculture industry to easily
access inputs like corn and soybeans as well as markets to sell the aquaculture
Developing a business plan is highly recommended by Purdue
specialists when considering starting an aquaculture venture. A resource to
help get started is The
Aquaculture Small Business Startup Kit produced by Purdue University,
Indiana Soybean Alliance and Sea Grant. The kit helps start the process of
“doing your homework”, understand the benefits of starting an aquaculture
business, learn the markets for aquaculture products, discover the different
production methods and start developing a structured business plan.
Through a study at Purdue University in 2011, the industry supports 280 jobs in Indiana within the aquaculture industry and supporting industries
In addition to the startup kit, below are resources for
planning and starting an aquaculture business.
Grant Illinois-Indiana – Aquaculture Economics and Marketing Resources has a website with aquaculture economics and
marketing resources for current or aspiring aquaculture entrepreneurs. The
website also has a section dedicated to aquaculture business with aquaculture
business planning information and budgets.
Determining the type of feed, where to procure the feed and
how much to feed is an important part of optimizing the venture’s production
and profitability. Feed management strategies are determined by several
features including, species, production system, environmental conditions, etc.
and Handling of Feeds for Fish and Shrimp
For more specific information on managing the feed price
risks for producing catfish, Mississippi State has developed a publication. The
2008 article stresses the impact of catfish feed costs on the profitability of
catfish operations since a main component of the feed is corn and soybean meal.
The article highlights the effects of supply and demand of corn and soybeans
for catfish producers. In addition, the article offers strategies for procuring
Price Risk Management Considerations for Catfish Producers
The Indiana Soybean Alliance offers more detailed
information on soy-based aquaculture feed through providing information on
soybean meal, soy protein concentrate, soy hulls, soy oil and soy lecithin.
The 2003 report below offers a snapshot of the availability
of aquaculture stock insurance at the market and farm level. The report also
offers a list of the companies that provide capacity as well as example of
different types of insurance policy wordings.
Availability of Aquaculture Crop (Stock Mortality) Insurance
To learn more about aquaculture insurance, slides from a
seminar by Conner Insurance Agency in Indianapolis, Ind., are available below.
The seminar offers information on aquaculture risk including mortality,
disease, property, equipment breakdown, liability and FDA programs.
A potential financing opportunity for an aquaculture venture
is grants. Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics offers a
presentation with information on how to write a successful grant proposal. The
slideshow also includes information on different grants available, including
Value-Added Producer Grants through the USDA. The presentation stresses the
importance of aligning your venture’s needs with the goals of the grant, making
sure applicants are applying for the appropriate grant. Working to develop a
“Plan of Attack” is the focus of this presentation.
to Writing a Successful Grant Proposal
Interested in what a lender’s perspective is on aquaculture
businesses? Ken Perkins of the First Farmers Bank & Trust in Peru, Ind.,
offers a lender’s insight on aquaculture through highlighting the importance of
having a business plan, a detailed financial statement, cash flow projections
and details on collateral offerings. This presentation offers a helpful
perspective and reminds entrepreneurs that bankers are lenders, not investors
and what that means.
YOU Want to Be a Fishmonger—Some Do’s and Don’t’s From a Lender’s Perspective”
Fish, like all animals, are susceptible to a variety of
diseases. Diagnostic services exists to help aquaculturalists identify the
disease, control the issue and prevent future outbreaks. This publication from
the Illinois – Indiana Sea Grant Program explains that fish diseases are the
interaction between a pathogen, a fish (the host) and a stressful environment.
A crowded tank or system can stress the fish and potentially lead to a serious
disease outbreak. This publication highlights further what causes fish
diseases, how diseases can be prevented (i.e. pathogen free fish facility,
buying fish from a reputable dealer, etc.), understanding the warning signs of
diseases and who to contact for advice and diagnostic services in Illinois and
Services in Illinois and Indiana
Below are specific publications on how to diagnosis and
treat various diseases:
and Treatment of Aeromonas Hydrophila Infection in Fish
and Treatment of Ich or White Spot Disease in Fish
Salt is a commonly used drug in aquaculture. The method of
salt application depends on the disease organism, the fish, and the size and
type of aquaculture system used. This publication outlines the three common
treatment methods, dip treatments, prolonged baths and indefinite treatments.
In addition, the publication helps determine the volume of the aquaculture
system, and provides a table to find the specific treatment rates and methods
for using salt to treat different diseases or stress.
The Use and
Application of Salt in Aquaculture
When planning an aquaculture venture, marketing is a key
step. In addition to determining production decisions, identifying a market to
sell your aquaculture products is just as important to the viability and future
success of your venture. This publication highlights the benefits of small-scale
aquaculture. Compared to large commercial aquaculture, small-scale aquaculture
has relatively lower operational costs and does not require expensive equipment
or structures. Often, many of the necessary resources for staring a small-scale
aquaculture business are already available on your farm. This publication also
highlights the time required of the entrepreneur or owner to operate a
small-scale aquaculture business and can explains that some production systems
can require only a part-time management. To learn more about marketing, selling
and profitability for small-scale aquaculture businesses:
A Guide to
Marketing for Small-Scale Aquaculture Producers
In Indiana, the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
and the Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) manage the permits and regulations for aquaculture
business. Another resource is the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). If outside Indiana, check with the DNR and BOAH in your
state, regulations and required permits vary in each state.
For more information on BOAH’s regulations, contact the
Indiana State Board of Animal Health at (310) 544-2395 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Kentucky offers information on processing
and marketing aquaculture products on a small scale. Small-scale aquaculture
businesses most commonly have different processing needs than large commercial
operations. This manual offers information on aquaculture processing, live
transport and marketing specifically for small-scale producers. Fish or
crustaceans that are sold to wholesalers, districutors, retailers and
restaurants, most often are required to be processed at a facility that has a
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan. A HACCP plan is a food
safety system based on prevention that identifies potential hazards with the
food, creating control points to minimize risk and keeping detailed records. A
HACCP plan is not required for direct sales of a processed product to the end
and Marketing Aquaculture Products on a Small Scale
Aquaculture is often practiced in three different systems,
open, semi-closed and closed. An open system is similar to nature and requires
little maintenance. Semi-closed systems focus on producing at a level above
nature’s level, which requires more maintenance. A closed system requires the
most intense management of the three production systems but also has the
highest yield. The publication below explains the difference production methods
in greater detail and can help determine the best production system through
analyzing the entrepreneur’s resources, time, the physical site and natural
resources available, regulatory concerns and different species to grow.
Systems for the Northeast
The Indiana Soybean Alliance highlights the different types
of production systems with resources for each system: