This fall Hoosiers can get the local catch of the day, from an unusual place. There are only four shrimp farms in Indiana and one in Martin County shows how they made aquaculture a sustainable business.
Tim Connor and his family have been growing shrimp in their backyards for the past 7 years. Connor, who says he got the idea from a family friend, can harvest up to 450 pounds of shrimp in his small ¾ acre pond. But aquaculture, or fish farming, is becoming a more attractive business for people who own enough land.
Purdue aquaculture professor Bob Rode says this could be a very sustainable business if people are raising the right fish.
“A lot of the species that we are trying to grow use feeds that are based on corn and soybeans, and so a lot of the fish we are looking to grow here are ones that can take advantage of the plant protein sources that we have in the US,” said Rode.
Connor said people can really tell a difference between his shrimp and imported.
“I believe our shrimp, the freshwater shrimp, that we grow with the grain fed and everything, there quality is much better then what we get from the Asian Countries,” said Connor.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. imported over 6 billion pounds of shrimp from southeast Asia. But many Americans are concerned about what is going in to raising their food. Which is why Rode says now is the perfect time for Americans to set a standard.
“The thing is, it is such a new industry that we can set a very good standard from the get go on setting up your operation to try to take care of any environmental concerns right from the beginning.”