Redkey, IN – June 6, 2011 – Bell Aquaculture, a pioneer in sustainable fish farming operations, broke ground Friday on a $5 million expansion at its production facility in Albany, IN — the nation’s largest yellow perch (Perca flavenscens) fish farm. The announcement is made by Norman McCowan, president of Bell Aquaculture, who says, “Our team has been working diligently to bring this expansion to fruition and are thrilled the financing finally came together to help fuel Bell Aquaculture’s continued growth.”
Further, according to McCowan: “We are happy to partner with The Conservation Fund, Indiana Soybean Alliance, and Pranger Enterprise, Inc., to further develop Indiana aquaculture using sustainable water recycling technology. The added capacity of 3 million more fish per year is much needed to meet our growing customer demand.”
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. There’s no taste difference from wild-caught like some other farmed species. In years past, yellow perch was the fish typically served at Friday Night Fish Fries in the Great Lakes region, particularly during Lent (the period prior to Easter).
“The greatest difficulty in recent years has been the availability of yellow perch out of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie – the two predominant lakes for the supply of wild-caught yellow perch,” explains McCowan. “Which means restaurants that were typically serving customers who enjoy the taste of yellow perch and individual consumers, just couldn’t get the supply. Or, in some cases, they are getting lesser quality fish and selling it as yellow perch.”
The vision for a yellow perch farm was born when Founder Michael Miller became personally interested in aquaculture in 1994. After studying this science and becoming involved in the Indiana Aquaculture Association, Inc. (IAAI), he developed a dream to bring the local and personal favorite, yellow perch, back to the area. As McCowan says, “What started out as an idea on a Post-it note, ended up being 17 file cabinets of information.” So after more than 12 years of research, consulting fish experts and a lot of hard work, Bell Aquaculture was formed in 2005.
Bell Aquaculture is committed to these four guiding principles in producing its fish:
1) Controlled indoor environment
2) Toxin & mercury free – no hormones used
3) Healthy growth
4) Gentle to the environment
Fish Rich Product Line Launched June 1
Bell Aquaculture also recently announced the launch of its new product, Fish Rich Organic Fertilizer 2-3-2 (Fish Rich), available for purchase online at the company website. Fish Rich is made from toxin- and mercury-free fish, has a very mild fish odor and is good for any soil. Fish Rich contains these three major nutrients: nitrogen, which promotes green leaves, and quicker growth response; phosphorous, which is good for root growth, disease resistance, promoting seed and fruit growth, and for blooming and flowering; and potassium, which increases root growth, and offers disease and drought resistance. Further, Fish Rich is also a good source of calcium. For more information, visit: http://www.bellaquaculture.com
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