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Yellow Perch May Spark Indiana's Fish Farming Industry

US - Supporters of Indiana's fish farms are hoping Midwesterners' taste for yellow perch can help spur the growth of the fledgling industry in the state.

Bell Aquaculture, one of more than 4,000 fish farms in the United States, is producing yellow perch for the restaurant market in indoor tanks filled with water pumped from the ground.

The farm about 10 miles northeast of Muncie recently received a certificate of occupancy from Delaware County for its first buildings, where yellow perch are being raised in tanks ranging in size from 1,000 gallons to 10,000 gallons.

Yellow perch have long been a favorite in the Great Lakes region because of their mild flavor, firm flesh and low fat levels.

A white paper prepared in 2003 for the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center by the University of Wisconsin said that market "readily absorbed" the peak yellow perch harvests of more than 33 million pounds a year in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, however, the wild yellow perch harvest fell to between 11 million and 18 million pounds, and the paper predicts that the golden years of harvest are gone forever.

Source: WSBT