State of the industry: Aquaculture

The state of the aquaculture industry … As provided for our annual Progress Edition, by Marty Domer of Domer’s Fish Hatchery

Having spent the past 30 years promoting and building the Ohio fish farming industry, I have worked directly with more than 165 farmers and harvesting 1,500 acres of water.

I have seen production peak at 10,000 pounds per acre and I have seen production on some farms barely cover cost. Those who take successful farmers’ advice succeed and those who get their advice elsewhere will learn the hard way.

Marketing is no different

Quality control will dictate volume sold in a given time frame. Traditionally, by fall most farmers have a crop ready for market; unfortunately, this directly coincides with very cheap salt water fish coming into season, as well. This is why market size and quality is very important.

The oriental market accounts for 90 percent of all Ohio fish being raised and sold. This is not a dead market — it is strictly 100 percent a live market by applying strict harvesting and marketing practices. The Ohio fish farming industry for many years experienced a 20 percent annual growth rate just to keep up with existing markets.

Ohio is on the map as the number one hybrid blue gill and number four largemouth bass producing state in the country.

Currently prices being paid live weight are $4 per 1/2 pound of hybrid blue gill and $5 per pound for pound and $6-$7 per pound for L.M.B. (Large Mouth Bass).

The state of New York has recently legalized largemouth bass for the first time ever, creating an additional $10 million farmgate value.

Fish are this country’s biggest import, second only to oil. Ohio has a potential $100 million Industry waiting to happen.

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