The following is one example of the impact Michigan Sea Grant has had throughout the state, region or beyond.

Although Michigan has the natural resources to be a leader in freshwater aquaculture, the industry has been relatively stagnant and has received little support from state agencies and private investors.

In 2012, Michigan Sea Grant began supporting an Integrated Assessment to evaluate the challenges and opportunities for aquaculture in Michigan. Led by a researcher from Michigan State University, the project has a diverse advisory committee that includes representatives from several state agencies, environmental groups, foundations and aquaculture businesses. The advisory committee has been meeting regularly to guide an analysis of potential seafood products and business models for aquaculture facilities.

Results: This collaborative research project has increased interest and established a solid working relationship among economic development, agriculture and environmental agencies in Michigan, which is already leading to new initiatives. For example, the project’s advisory committee has initiated a project to re-purpose unused industrial buildings for aquaculture in downtown Saginaw, Michigan.

Sea Grant research results are helping this group select the most suitable fish species and aquaculture system, and to develop a robust business and marketing plan. With advice from Sea Grant extension educators and researchers, a community foundation and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation have made financial investments to help three new aquaculture facilities begin operations in Saginaw by 2015.