Milwaukee — a Model for Urban Aquaculture

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A New Public/Private Enterprise for Milwaukee
Urban Aquaculture

In keeping with a new vision for urban responsibility, and to help end the unsustainable exploitation of wild fisheries, two local entrepreneurs are proposing an urban aquaculture attraction for Milwaukee that will demonstrate that fish protein can be grown locally. The economic development activities currently underway in the Menomonee Valley point toward a new urban paradigm involving green awareness and sustainability. These activities will be enhanced with the introduction of urban aquaculture. This proposed attraction involves both public and private components.

With the assistance of the Great Lakes WATER Institute and other agencies, the Urban Aquaculture Center (UAC) will develop a 150,000-square-foot indoor aquaculture/agriculture production facility, scientific research facility, and public demonstration venue with attached greenhouse and outdoor displays. Five acres of redevelopment land, preferably in a park or along the Menomonee River in the City of Milwaukee, will be transformed into an educational campus and tourist magnet. A private, 200,000-gallon recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) production facility will be the principal sustaining element to support the Center, which will also include classrooms and curricula focusing on urban agriculture.

A restaurant, gift shop, and fish market will provide additional jobs and enhance the appeal of this educational attraction. Milwaukee needs to build on its competitive advantages such as plenty of fresh water, a willing labor pool, and ready market for fish. Aquaculture in the city represents a new idea that positively affects our food security. Reuse of waste products such as growing plants with nutrient-rich fish water mimics nature and shows how waste can be reduced and a more sustainable food cycle established.

This exciting concept is inspired by a fish farm in Costa Rica once owned by Jon Bales, a Milwaukee businessman and artist who invites responses to this idea. . Concept development is by Leon Todd, a former School Board Director and mayoral candidate, who is concerned about replacing manufacturing jobs lost over the last three decades in Milwaukee.

— 2006

Jon Bales is eager to talk with people who would like to support his effort to establish a demonstration fish farm in Milwaukee.

I hope to find Jon teaming up with a Milwaukee school that structures its core curriculum around urban aquaculture and fish farming.

Please let me know if you or yours would like an introduction to Jon around this theme.

Jon had a fish farm in Costa Rica, and recognizes that Milwaukee has all the resources needed for

— James Godsil, February 2007

See links on the SideBar to notes, meeting information and founding proposal.

Last edited by Bales. Based on work by TeganDowling, jon and Olde.  Page last modified on February 02, 2008

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