A daddy and boy who share an entrepreneurial spirit are bringing a new product from their Kentucky farm to the regional marketplace.
Tilapia is the first locally-raised fish from the Daviess County aquafarm. The task belongs to Kentucky’s recently established aquaculture industry that produces fish for commercial customers.Inside the greenhouse at Thomas Aquafarms in Daviess County, water is constantly flowing through nine intense blue tanks that are shoulder height and 8 feet in size. Each tank has about 500 tilapia of numerous sizes swimming around.Forrest Wynne, an aquaculture extension expert for Kentucky State University
, is dropping a probe into one of the tanks.”It’s a dissolved oxygen meter. We ‘d like this to be up around 5.
That would be ideal. This one’s a little low, about 4.2, “said Wynne.”Liquified oxygen is the most essential criterion. The fish can suffocate with too low liquified oxygen. “Wynne is at Thomas Aquafarms with 2 other aquaculture professionals. “We’re attempting simply to obtain some individuals that are interested, get them a foothold, get them to be able to market their product and succeed, “stated Wynne. “That’s kind of what we’re doing here today.” He says there are a handful of aquafarms in Kentucky raising fish for commercial use.”We have a lot of imported item entering into the country and quite honestly a lot of that item may be managed or it might not. You simply have no idea what you’re purchasing when you buy a lot of imported products.”He states in addition to diversification for farmers, more fish originating from Kentucky aquafarms would be a plus for customers, who are significantly thinking about healthy, locally-sourced food.”Which’s one of the selling points for locally-grown fish like this.
One, the carbon footprint is less due to the fact that it’s not being trucked around the world, “said Wynne.” And secondly, this fellow and his household are here, you know, you can come over and take a look. There’s more accountability behind the item.” Eric Thomas, 22, and his dad, Rick Thomas, teamed up on the aquaculture job to raise fish on the household’s 34 acre farm. Eric says he became interested in koi when he was 8 years of ages. Now he has a service structure koi ponds.” So I used my knowledge that I got from koi and put it to the systems that we
have actually got implemented for tilapia, “Eric Thomas said. “The greenhouse has actually been running for about one full year now and it’s been a very high knowing curve. “Thomas states the nine tanks are divided into three closed systems.” It’s a biosecurity thing to where if one system gets a disease or a parasite, it doesn’t affect the other systems.”He says he has plans for the three different systems. “So we can have salt in one tank and grow marine shrimp, or we can have cold water
in one tank and raise rainbow trout, while the other tank is 95 degrees and freshwater for tilapia.”Thomas has currently taken tilapia to the Owensboro Regional Farmers Market and sold almost 300 fish in the past few weeks. Now he’s offering tilapia to
regional restaurants.Researcher Noel Novelo says Eric and Rick Thomas are innovators offering a new item at the right time.” The marketplace in the United States, normally tilapia is in high need,” said Novelo, a professional in aquaculture genes at Kentucky State University dealing with ways to improve production of tilapia to assist meet the demand.”For instance, in the Kroger in Frankfort, Kentucky, the filets themselves are flown in straight from Honduras on ice, they are never frozen, and they are gone within a few days.”Andrew Ray is an assistant professor of aquaculture production at Kentucky State University whose specialized is shrimp.”There’s a variety of shrimp aquaculture operations throughout the country. Indiana has numerous and Iowa has quite a few,”said Ray.”I’m attempting to bring some of this proficiency to Kentucky and get some of our farmers doing this, to present a brand-new item, to innovate and diversify our agricultural portfolio here. “Ray says there are currently 2 farms in Kentucky raising shrimp, Rolling Blue Farm in Fayette County and Faul Family Riverside Farm in Henry County.Thomas Aquafarms in Daviess County plans to quickly add its name to that list.
Eric Thomas states he currently his license from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to raise, transportation and offer shrimp.