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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Howard Hinterthuer
Growing Power (414) 527–1546
or (262) 573–0325

Here is reassuring news for all of us who are fans of
the Wisconsin fish fry in general and the gloriously
delicious yellow perch in particular. Growing Power
(55th and Silver Spring), with assistance from the
Great Lakes Water Institute, is raising yellow perch
in an aquaponic system that mimics nature. As a
follow-up to a successful 2007 90-day trial at Growing
Power that produced 800 plate size perch, the group
will release 10,000 fish into Growing Power’s system
on Friday, April 18th between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
to begin a more aggressive 90-day trial.

To keep the fish happy and healthy, Growing Power’s
enclosed system circulates the water through aquatic
plants, edible garden plants, and other living filter
materials that extract and use the nitrates and solid
wastes from the fish.

“It’s a system that closely replicates nature,” says
Will Allen, CEO and founder of Growing Power. “In
this instance there is a symbiotic relationship
between the fish and the plants. The plants function
in much the same way as a wetland, filtering the water
and making the nutrients available to plants. We have
been able to build a functioning system inside of our
greenhouses, and effectively increase our overall
production of food. We’ve been raising tilapia ( Nile
tilapia, O. niloticus) using this method for twelve
years. The only difference is the perch like cooler
water.”

The system is of great interest to other potential
perch producers. According to Leon Todd, who with Jon
Bales, is striving to launch an urban aquaculture
center in Milwaukee , “Such business venture systems
can replenish lake perch for the dinner table . . . .
and fill up empty buildings, providing employment in
Milwaukee and elsewhere.”

Based upon the Growing Power model, the Urban
Aquaculture Center hopes to offer aquaculture training
to entrepreneurs who wish to produce fish, and
educational opportunities to school groups and others
with regard to natural systems, working with nature,
and sustainable strategies. Todd, Bales, the Great
Lakes Water Institute and others are interested in the
work at Growing Power because it is providing “proof
of concept” data.

Says Bales of the first Growing Power trial, “Not
only did the perch survive this ecologically designed
system but, from one who knows, the fish tasted just
great!”

Here is some background from Fred Binkowski of the
Great Lakes Water Institute:

Aquaculture related commerce within the US Great Lakes
locality continues to be an emerging industry. This
region is home to approximately 29% of the US
population that consumes more than one billion pounds
of seafood products per year. However, the commercial
aquaculture industry in this region generates less
than 4% of all US production. This raises the obvious
question: What are the constraints that are limiting
aquaculture production within the US Great Lakes
locality, and what action is required to address this
problem?

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Center (GLAC) at the UW
Great Lakes WATER Institute has been conducting
fundamental and applied research as a function of
improving aquaculture technology for Great Lakes
species production. This research encompasses a broad
spectrum of scientific disciplines including
reproduction, engineering, nutrition, fish health,
genetics, and animal husbandry principles. In
addition, the GLAC has been a leader in an aquaculture
Training/Outreach/Education program relative to
workshops, providing resource information, on-site
assistance, technology transfer, etc.

In cooperation with Growing Power Inc, we propose to
demonstrate the potential of utilizing the existing
and current urban greenhouse aquaponic systems to
allow for year-round and cost-effective fish
production for human consumption in a northern climate
in conjunction with herb and vegetable production in a
bio-secured system. This technological approach can
be applied to a rural location and within an urban
community. Urban aquaculture can reduce shipping
costs, place the product at the center of consumer
demand, and create jobs in economically deprived urban
areas. We are confident that the cooperative effort
between the Great Lakes WATER Institute, Growing
Power, and the Urban Aquaculture Center will provide
the foundation for the establishment of an urban
aquaculture industry.

Specific Study Parameters

  • The “Growing Power” approach to aquaponics

intentionally minimizes its reliance on the
mechanically complex and higher cost system components
used for indoor and year-round production

  • Measure water quality parameters to

establish the baseline environmental conditions

  • Introduce about 10,000 young yellow perch

(fingerlings) into the “Greenhouse System”

  • Monitor the biological, physical, and

chemical elements during the 7–10 day acclimation
period

  • Daily monitor: fish behavior, feeding, and

water temperature

  • Weekly measure: water quality parameters

(oxygen, total ammonia nitrogen, nitrite, pH, etc.).

  • Monthly measure and evaluate: growth performance,

condition factor (plumpness), survival, and estimate
food conversion

  • Critical study parameters are: fish growth

and survival, maintaining optimal environmental
conditions, and production cost

We believe our efforts will result in Milwaukee being
recognized as “The” urban aquaculture city in America .

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on April 17, 2008

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