A new report says the size of Indiana's fledgling aquaculture industry has more than doubled in the past seven years with the state now boasting about 50 farms that raise fish or seafood.
The Purdue Extension report found Indiana's fish farms had estimated sales last year of about $15 million, up from $3.5 million in 2006.
During that seven-year period, the report found that Indiana's number of fish farms grew from 18 to about 50. Aquaculture employs 169 people in the state making a total income of $3.7 million who pay $101,506 in income taxes.
The reports says Indiana's aquaculture industry ranges from small-scale producers raising fish in their backyards to large-scale producers growing fish to sell in national and international markets.
Some of the fish raised in Indiana for food are yellow perch, hybrid striped bass, tilapia and trout. Indiana farms are also raising marine shrimp and freshwater prawns.
The study was funded by Purdue Extension, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Indiana Soybean Alliance. The soybean alliance thinks aquaculture will be "the next major new market for soybeans" because soybeans are used in fish feed.
Some experts predict aquaculture could someday grow into a $1 billion industry in Indiana.