Growing aquaculture industry offers opportunities for youth, job development

Michigan Sea Grant Extension helps facilitate aquaculture programs for high school students.

Collected fish

Global demands for food sources has made aquaculture – the breeding, rearing and harvesting of aquatic animals or plants – the fastest growing sector of the seafood industry worldwide. While the private industry in Michigan is relatively small, there is huge potential for growth. Helping train a knowledgeable workforce is one of the keys to growing a sustainable and low-impact industry within the state.

Michigan Sea Grant Extension helped facilitate an Aquaculture Challenge program for high school classes. The program explores the potential and impact of aquaculture on the food system. The integrative learning curriculum also meets Michigan science standards. The competition is based on creating a mini-fish and plant farm within the classroom. Students design and monitor an aquaculture system, and create a business plan for an actual aquaculture business.

Michigan Sea Grant Extension also is developing an Aquaculture Technician Certification program, along with Lake Superior State University and area community colleges.

  • This year, with funding from the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center and Michigan Sea Grant, students in 10 classrooms from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie participated in the Aquaculture Challenge.
  • The two-year Aquaculture Technician Certification program will allow a new generation to explore low-impact, sustainable aquaculture opportunities.

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