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Make Eating Eating Wisconsin Fish a Routine

Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:00 am

Everyone has their routines. Daily routines like the time to wake-up and when you leave for work, weekly routines like what day you do laundry and when you go grocery shopping. For me, Friday is routinely when I enjoy a delicious fish fry.

Aquaculture has been a part of Wisconsin’s diverse $59 billion agriculture industry since 1856. Aquaculture is defined as the raising of plant and animals in controlled aquatic environments. Wisconsin farms raise over 25 different species of fish for food, stocking, bait and recreation; and in a variety of systems: ponds, flow through raceways, recirculating aquaculture systems, and aquaponics. Some common species include: trout, yellow perch, bluegill, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, bass and minnows. The Wisconsin aquaculture industry is composed primarily of recreational fish ponds, family farms, and state, tribal and federal hatcheries.

Last May as a 64th Alice in Dairyland finalist, I toured the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery. This hatchery grows more trout and salmon than any other hatchery and also raises coolwater fish including musky, sturgeon and walleye for recreational enjoyment statewide. Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery is particularly important to Lake Michigan fishing; 100 percent of the coldwater fish, trout and salmon raised at Wild Rose are stocked into the big pond. I even held a baby Sturgeon that was swimming in the cool water environment.

In July, I toured Roeseler Fish Farm in Juneau, owned by Randy Roeseler. You can see Randy’s passion for aquaculture as he is explaining his operation. He grew up loving to fish, so in 1995 he built a recreation pond. As the business continued to grow, Randy became a full-time fish farmer in 2006. That one recreational pond has evolved into 25 fish ponds, with more planned. Each beautiful pond has a windmill to provide power for the multiple aerators, providing oxygen for the fish.

Roeseler Fish Farm raises fish for stocking ponds and for food. Perch, walleye, bluegill, bass and specific crosses are raised. The benefits of crossing the fish species can include faster growth rates and overall bigger fish. Besides fish, Randy also offers services in the areas of pond design consulting, project management for pond installations and sale of pond related products.

Partaking in the routine of the Friday Fish Fry is good for Wisconsin’s economy too. There are 2,314 registered fish farms in Wisconsin that contribute over $21 million to Wisconsin’s economy. The 22 Wisconsin hatcheries are critical to Wisconsin’s $2.75 billion sport fishery industry. While Wisconsin ranks 20th in the nation for aquaculture sales, we are 1st among the Midwest states. Wisconsin ranks in the U.S. include 2nd in baitfish production, 6th in game fish production, and 9th in trout production.

Not only is fish good for Wisconsin’s economy, but it is good for us providing a powerful protein package. Fish are high in protein, potassium and Omega-3 fatty acid that have disease fighting benefits and also keep our minds strong. Plus fish are low in fat, calories and cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish, particularly fatty fish, at least two times (two servings) a week. A serving is 3.5 ounces cooked, or about ¾ cup, of flaked fish. The AHA suggests enjoying fish baked or grilled and to choose low-sodium, low-fat seasonings such as spices, herbs, lemon juice and other flavorings in cooking.

Make Wisconsin fish part of your weekly routine. To purchase fresh Wisconsin fish find a company at www.savorwisconsin.com. Purchasing Wisconsin-grown and produced products helps support all of Wisconsin agriculture and the local farmers, producers, communities and economies.

Alice in Dairyland Katie Wirkus is Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador. She travels more than 40,000 miles throughout the state, promoting Wisconsin agriculture to various audiences. Alice in Dairyland can be reached by writing to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), 2811 Agriculture Drive, PO Box 8911, Madison, WI 53718. To schedule Alice for an upcoming event, contact the Alice in Dairyland Program Manager at 608-224-5080 or by e-mail at DATCPAlice@wisconsin.gov. To learn more about Wisconsin’s $59 billion agricultural industry visit her travel blog at www.wisconsinagconnection.com/alice or become a friend on Facebook (Alice Dairyland), follow on twitter (Alice_Dairyland) or LinkedIn (Alice in Dairyland).



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