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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Fish Farming Resources

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Fish Farming Resources:

What is aquaculture?

Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, shrimp and plants. Aquaculture products are used for food, stocking and environmental remediation. Producing domestic aquaculture products fills the growing demand for safe, sustainable, and locally produced food as well as providing economic opportunity in rural areas.


Ohio Aquaculture Industry Statistics

  • 173 farms have aquaculture permits
  • 80% of Ohio aquaculture producers have been in business less than 10 years
  • 87% of aquaculture farms in Ohio plan to maintain or expand production in the next five years
  • Industry Sales (USDA Census of Agriculture)

Year Sales Farms Reporting

  • 1992 1.0 million 43 farms
  • 1997 1.9 million 80 farms
  • 2002 3.3 million 100 farms
  • 2007 6.6 million 140 farms
  • 2012 3.9 million 107 farms

Unfortunately, there are no one-size-fits-all recommendations for becoming successful in aquaculture, but there is a lot of information and training available to help you make the best decision. We recommend thoroughly researching your idea, assessing available resources and defining your goals to decide if aquaculture is for you. We are here to help.

The Ohio State University Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development (OCARD) is located at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio. OCARD takes a multi-faceted approach, using both research and outreach, to aid in the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry in Ohio.

Aquaculture Resources


We maintain four listservs that allow producers, educators and industry specialists to share information and subscriptions are free.

  • Aqua-Ohio: A listserv dedicated to sharing a large variety of aquaculture information from International to local including announcement of workshops, fish for sale and relevant announcements.  This listserv will give you the big picture of what is happening in the aquaculture industry today. Subscribe here.

  • SC-aquaponics – The South Centers aquaponics listserv is used to discuss and share information related to the growing field of aquaponics. Subscribe here.

  • Yellow Perch: The yellow perch listserv is for sharing information particular to yellow perch culture. Subscribe here.

  • Shrimp-talk: The Shrimp talk listserve is for sharing information particular to freshwater prawn culture. Subscribe here.


Regional Aquaculture Centers

Equipment and Supplies

Quick Reference Guides

Fact Sheets

Step 1: Access your resources

Step 2: Investigate production systems

There are three main production methods used in aquaculture: open ponds, floating cages and indoor recirculating systems. Each system has its own risks and benefits. It’s important to match the production system you use to your resources and goals.

Culture Systems



Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS)

RAS Presentations - Things to Consider

Step 3: Species selection

There are over 20 species of fish and crustaceans grown in Ohio. Aquaculture facilities are permitted through the Ohio Division of Wildlife. This annual permit ($50-$100) gives farmers permission to culture and sell live fish in Ohio. Our most popular species include:

Yellow Perch

  • Grown primarily as a food fish in ponds

  • Takes a minimum of two years to reach market size


Bluegill/Hybrid Bluegill

  • Historically cultured as a stocking fish, but gaining in popularity as a food fish

  • Takes two years in ponds to reach market size

Freshwater Shrimp

  • Native to Malaysia, this species can be cultured in the summer in ponds

  • A high value niche species typically used for agritainment



  • Culture techniques for spot-fin shiners are being developed to supplement wild-caught and imported bait currently dominating the market


Largemouth Bass

  • Cultured for stocking recreational ponds and sold live to Asian markets



  • This warm water fish is cultured in indoor recirculating aquaculture systems and predominately sold live to ethnic markets


Hybrid Striped Bass












Cultured Species


Step 4: Business Planning

Aquaculture is agriculture and can be a risky business. It can be expensive to get started and difficult to make money on a small scale. However, we have seen success with people starting small and growing their business. We recommend careful business planning before undertaking an aquaculture project.

Step 5: Get Involved

Success can be enhanced by working with others. Join a producer association, attend workshops and get to know other fish farmers.

Technical Resources

Water Quality

Fish Nutrition

Fish Health

Aquatic Marketing