GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Perch prices are on the rise as suppliers experience a shortage of the fish.
“The largest portion of our consumed perch is imported from Canada,” Ken Webb, a Research Associate at UW-Green Bay explained. “That’s what’s happening, is they had a bad year fishing.”
He’s working on growing a possible solution to the shortage right here in Green Bay.
“Perch farming is almost non-existent,” Webb said, “but aquaculture itself, that’s the fastest-growing sector in agriculture.”
The Farmory has set up a hatchery, raising fish for farmers to buy.
“What we’re doing is making sure that everybody who’s interested in perch farming can have a source of bio-secure, disease-free essentially, fingerlings whenever they need them,” Webb explained.
Fingerlings are young fish.
Next year, The Farmory hopes to produce 400,000 of them to sell to farmers.
“We have people calling all the time interested in buying fish,” Claire Thompson, Executive Director of The Farmory said. “Every year we hope to be able to produce more and more.”
Webb said that currently there is no significant perch-growing operation in the country at the moment, but that’s something The Farmory hopes to change.
“The Farmory is setting up so that farmers can come in, can produce all the little babies they need in to grow out for that season, and turn a profit in a single year,” he said.
It’s a long-term plan that officials at The Farmory say could completely change the perch industry.
“The more perch farms there are, the more perch that’s available,” Thompson said. “So the more supply you have, then hopefully the price starts to come down.”
For it to work, they’re going to need more setups like the one at The Farmory.
“We want these kinds of hatcheries to pop up all over Wisconsin,” Webb said. “That’s how our aquaculture in Wisconsin is going to grow.”
To learn how to volunteer at the hatchery, click here.