The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) is one of the five Regional Aquaculture Centers established by Congress that are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. The mission of the Centers is to support aquaculture research, development, demonstration, and education to enhance viable and profitable U.S. aquaculture production to benefit consumers, producers, service industries, and the American economy.
NCRAC was formed in February 1988 to serve the twelve states in the North Central Region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. This region is home to over a quarter of the U.S. population, a large fraction of which are concentrated in major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Cleveland. The region's geography spans approximately 800 miles south to north and over 1,000 miles east to west. Aquaculture in the region is characterized by great diversity with over 50 different species of aquatic animals being cultured by more than 1,000 producers of food fish, baitfish, and fish for stocking into recreational water bodies. These producers are themselves highly diverse, ranging from well established producers who have made a significant capital investment and are interested in ways of reducing production costs while increasing output to those who could be classified as newcomers, who need training, capital, and an awareness of the potentially high risk, high investment, and low returns that most producers encounter.
NCRAC has supported projects on hybrid striped bass, salmonids, sunfish, tilapia, yellow perch, walleye, crayfish, baitfish, aquaculture wastes and effluents, and aquaculture drugs. All funded projects are directed at high priority industry needs that include
NCRAC works hard to keep individuals within the