​Top: The NADF offers tours and training to those interested in aquaculture.
Bottom right: The facility also partners with the aquaponics industry (raising fish and plants together in integrated culture systems.

NADF promotes aquaculture with a variety of partnerships

UWSP is the only university in the state to offer an undergraduate minor in aquaculture—the art, science and business of cultivating aquatic animals and plants for fresh or marine waters. 

Located north of Bayfield, the UWSP Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF) was created to promote and advance the development of commercial aquaculture (also known as fish farming) in a northern climate through demonstrations, applied research, education and outreach and by building relationships among commercial, tribal, state and federal agencies. 

The NADF is reaching these goals through a variety of successful partnerships, such as dozens of applied research and demonstration projects with the Wisconsin aquaculture industry including the development of advanced culture practices for hybrid walleye, sauger, lake herring, yellow perch, lake and brook trout. The facility also offers workshops that range in topics from starting new aquaculture business ventures to biosecurity and rules and regulations. Robert Summerfelt, ’57, one of the members of UWSP’s 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Council and a professor emeritus of fish biology at Iowa State University, was a speaker there this summer.

“The NADF and its affiliated programs have helped create and retain over 480 jobs in the state’s aquaculture industry over the past five years by providing technical and business support, and applied research results,” said Chris Hartleb, co-director of the UWSP-NADF.

Recently, the facility began a partnership with Nelson and Pade, Inc., the Montello-based leader of the aquaponics industry (www.aquaponics.com) that designs, sells and educates customers on the simultaneous raising of both fish and plant crops in integrated culture systems. This partnership allows Nelson & Pade, Inc. to offer Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) and undergraduate/graduate credit through an accredited university for participation in Nelson and Pade Inc. workshops, and allows UWSP to offer aquaponics courses to students across the U.S. for the first time.

“Aquaponics is a hugely popular area right now, from backyard farmers to commercial scale.  You can’t go to a farmers market without seeing products from an aquaponics business,” said Hartleb, who is working on expanding UWSP’s partnership with Nelson & Pade.

In June, the NADF hosted the “Coldwater Fish Culture,” and Aquaculture Field Day and Vendor Fair that offered presentations n research about coldwater species such as arctic char, coho salmon, Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout for fish farmers and hatchery personnel from across the U.S.

The NADF also provides technical assistance and educational workshops through partnership with the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association, including hosting high school students for hands-on training sessions and supporting internships for UWSP students throughout the state. Working closely with several Native American tribes, the NADF collaborates on research and projects with tribal hatchery programs and co-hosted the Midwest Tribal Aquaculture Workshop along with the U.S. Department of Interior–Bureau of Indian Affairs, Red Cliff Band of Lake Super Chippewa, Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, and UW–Extension., which was attended by 75 participants from 13 tribes.

“NADF’s partnerships allow us to expand our applied research, demonstration, education, and outreach programs so they serve not only the entire Wisconsin aquaculture industry, but those interested in aquaculture throughout the Midwest,” said Hartleb.

For more information, visit: https://campus.uwsp.edu/sites/cols-ap/nadf/Pages/home.aspx.