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State Could Lead Nation in Aquaculture

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The Michigan Aquaculture Association’s (MAA) 2014 Annual Meeting, Jan. 23 in Tustin, focused on growing the sector to assert the Great Lakes State as a contender in national seafood production.

More than 90 percent of America’s seafood supply is imported from beyond our borders, adding up to an annual seafood trade deficit exceeding $12 billion.

With its unique natural resources and prudent investment in their conscientious use, Michigan could be poised to become a national leader in fresh water aquaculture.

The association’s new growth agenda commanded center stage during an informational session that day at the Kettunen Center in Tustin.

“This plan is the result of a two-year effort by Michigan aquaculture producers working with Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University, Michigan Farm Bureau and the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center,” said MAA President Dan Vogler, whose family operates Harietta Hills Trout Farm in western Wexford County.

“We’re looking to evaluate opportunities for aquaculture development in Michigan and to develop a strategic plan for achieving it, ” he added.

“Demand for seafood is increasing, but aquaculture is not keeping pace—there is a very tight supply of quality, affordable seafood in the U.S.,” Vogler said. “Without significant increases in domestic production, we could very well see shortages in the near future.”

Vogler estimates Michigan is capable of increasing its aquacultural production to $1 billion annually by 2025, provided an appropriate regulatory framework is in place to balance environmental stewardship, social responsibility and producers’ profitability.

“Our production standards are very high and result in safe, nutritious and delicious seafood products,” Vogler said. “Expanding our production would help ensure greater access to quality, heart-healthy protein for Michigan and the entire region.”

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