Ingenuity Featured in Portland Business Journal: Oregon Aims to Double its Fish Farming Industry to $23M
When it comes to cultivating aquatic species, Oregon is pretty much a one-note wonder: Oysters represent more than $10 million of the state’s annual $12.1 million aquafarming haul.
Oregon is a small player in the growing field of cultivating fish in both ocean and freshwater. But with aquafarming projected to provide two-thirds of the world’s seafood by 2030, Oregon is eyeing the concept as a key to boosting jobs and the regional economy.
The goal: Boost the value of aquafarmed products to $22.7 million, 90 percent more than the current value, according to the report.
Jerry Gardner, business development manager for the Department of Agriculture, said the discussion already is sparking plenty of interest, including a shellfish bill pending in Salem.
And there are promising signs of innovation in the sector.
The Ingenuity Innovation Center near St. Helens, founded by Kate Wildrick and partner Aaron Imhof, is home to a 1,500-square-foot greenhouse where fee-paying members are learning the basics of aquaponics, a form of aquaculture that grows fish together with produce in a closed-loop system.
The couple created the center in 2012 to inspire community-based solutions to community problems. The greenhouse allows those interested in aquaponics to give it a try for $50 a month. Members raise plants which are fertilized by tilapia.
Wildrick said participants come from all over the state to learn how to cultivate everything from tomatoes to lettuce.
Wildrick will serve on the Oregon Aquaculture Advisory Group, which is advising the agriculture department on how to support the fledgling industry. You can more about the growing interest in aquaculture — and aquaponics — in Sustainable Business Oregon next week.