Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) swim in a tank The Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute. (Photo: Scott Tsukuda)

Background

Land-based Atlantic salmon production using recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology offers the U.S. aquaculture industry a viable and sustainable means to expand domestic salmon production while also increasing biosecurity, minimizing environmental impact and improving local economies via proximity to regional markets.

As of 2020, over $2 billion has been invested in or committed to U.S. salmon RAS production, including multiple new facilities currently in development or construction. An additional $1 billion in investments is expected within the next five years in Maryland alone.

Vision

The RAS-N vision is to provide food security and reduce trade deficits associated with salmon imports by facilitating the growth of environmentally sustainable and economically feasible land-based Atlantic salmon production in the United States.

Mission

To support a growing domestic Atlantic salmon production industry and build capacity for land-based salmon aquaculture in the U.S., the Recirculating Aquaculture Salmon Network (RAS-N), a coordinated, national, public-private network of experts, will analyze the current status of RAS technology, address barriers to its development and provide a clear national plan to ensure economic, environmental and social success.

Goals and Objectives

Atlantic salmon fingerlings at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility. (Photo: Emma Wiermaa)

The overarching goal of RAS-N is to build capacity and establish a holistic hub of knowledge that will integrate past, current and future research as well as outreach, education and extension, to promote the successful growth, stability and economic feasibility of the Atlantic salmon RAS sector and, more broadly, U.S. aquaculture.

To accomplish this goal, we have identified six specific objectives:

  1. Solicit stakeholder input regarding technology background and industry status to identify gaps, constraints and research needs.
  1. Develop a coherent plan for national research and development efforts to address identified constraints and industry needs.
  1. Determine the economic feasibility of Atlantic salmon production in RAS.
  1. Undertake public outreach, education and workforce development efforts.
  1. Implement targeted industry extension and technology transfer mechanisms that include information sharing tools, site visits and technical assistance.
  1. Develop demonstration projects that provide the main concepts and innovations of sustainable RAS technologies/designs and utilize them for hands-on training opportunities, educational and technical workshops and internship training programs.

Photo credit for header photo at top: Sara Stathas, taken at Superior Fresh.