Indiana agriculture is not limited to grain and livestock. There is also a growing aquaculture sector that illustrates the Hoosier State’s agbioscience industry. One example is AquaBounty Technologies, which operates a facility in Albany.
Based in Massachusetts, it was the first company to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to raise and sell genetically engineered salmon.
“For a company that grows genetically modified salmon, innovation is key,” Mark Walton, chief technology officer for AquaBounty, said to Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick. “Our innovation begins with genetics. We use a growth hormone gene from a different salmon species.”
He said the genetics allows the AquaBounty fish to feed more consistently and grow to market-ready size in half the time as conventional salmon.
“We’re just another form of farming,” said Walton. “The U.S. is not a big aquaculture producer, ranked 17th global. As such, the U.S. is the biggest importer of fish products.”
The company saw an opportunity to feed that growing demand. It purchased the current facility from Bell Aquaculture in 2017. Following some revisions to the plant, it opened its first U.S. tank farm in the U.S.
Location was a key driver in selecting the Midwest for its first farm.
“Proximity to major population centers. We believe the future of our form of aquaculture is to put relatively small farms, closer to major population centers, so they can get fresh salmon within a day,” Walton said.
The salmon are expected to hit the U.S. market next year, but their consumer success remains to be determined.
Learn more about AquaBounty in the weekly Ag+Bio-Science podcast presented by AgriNovus Indiana.
Each week, host Gerry Dick conducts conversations with leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in Indiana’s agbioscience sector, discussing the confluence of food, agriculture, science and technology.
The full podcast will be available Monday morning. Click here for more information on how you can listen.