GIS Assessment of Wisconsin Aquaculture

Project Abstract

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production systems in the world. The aquaculture industry in Wisconsin, comprised of approximately 2,000 registered fish farms, contributes over $7 million to the state’s economy annually. There are many species of game, food, and bait fish cultivated throughout the state in a variety of production systems. In recent years, the growth of the aquaculture industry in Wisconsin has slowed and the number of registered fish farms is beginning to decrease. The reason for the decrease in fish farms is not known, but it could be from the tough economic times, high costs of production, limited markets, environmental restrictions, or the site location of the fish farms. The objective of the study is to determine if the site location characteristics play a part in the success of the fish farm operation. The utilization of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will be used to create an evaluative model examining the environmental and socio-economic characteristics of current registered fish farms and those that have closed. The characteristics considered are land cover, soil types, elevation, water quality and source, and proximity to infrastructure and potential markets. The evaluative model will then be used to create a predictive model using a multi-criteria evaluation procedure using a GIS. The predictive model will be able to determine suitable locations for sustainable system-specific and species-specific aquaculture facilities.


Principal Investigators 

Dr. Chris Hartleb

Dr. Keith Rice

Douglas Miskowiak

Jon Galloy

Allen Brandt 

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