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Golden Prospects for Yellow Perch Business

INDIANA - America's largest yellow perch farm is now in operation. Bell with product expected to be available for restaurateurs by spring 2009 and consumer purchase soon after.

Founded by Bell Aquaculture, the Albany-based business facility currently has the production capacity of 100,000 pounds of fish per year but is aiming to produce in excess of 9 million pounds per year when fully operational. It will eventually employ 70 people in Albany.

Bell Aquaculture will operated the largest Yellow Perch farm in the US.

The vision for a yellow perch farm was born when Miller became personally interested in aquaculture in 1994. After studying this science and becoming involved in the Indiana Aquaculture Association, Inc. (IAAI), he wanted to bring the local and personal favorite, yellow perch, back to the area. Mr Millar's role has since expanded and he currently serves on the US Department of Agriculture's regional aquaculture extension team under NCRAC.

Ideas into reality

He says that what started out as an idea ended up as Bell Aquaculture - a company with four guiding principles for producing quality fish:
  1. Controlled environment: Bell's proprietary water recirculation and filtration system keeps its fish in a temperature-controlled and clean environment, which means healthier and cleaner fish.
  2. No toxins: Wild-caught fish must forage for food and eat what is available within environments that could contain pollutants. Bell Aquaculture fish are raised in pure, earth-filtered deep-well water and fed with specially formulated diets that ensure a high-quality product.
  3. Healthy growth: Bell has partnered with a major university and uses licensed technology for the production of juvenile fish. This means Bell Aquaculture has control of its yellow perch genetics. Bell carefully monitors the health of its fish and has access to the latest information about efficient and disease-free production of the species.
  4. Gentle to the environment: Bell does everything it can to ensure a positive impact on the environment. Fish are raised in indoor water recirculation systems using minimal amounts of water. Bell Aquaculture even recycles waste from its tanks for use as organic plant food.
Bell produces and processes farm-raised fish for restaurants and consumer use.

Yellow perch is one of the most popular of all North American pan fish. It has a mild, sweet flavor with firm white flesh and low fat levels, making it a favorite in residential and commercial kitchens alike. Traditionally, it was the fish typically served at Friday night fish fries in the Great Lakes region.

Ellen Hardy

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