Feb 01, 2018
Mark Luecke (left) from Prairie AquaTech testifies on aquaculture before the Senate.
A Senate hearing this week explored the future possibilities of domestic aquaculture. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Jan.30, 2018, titled Growing the Future: Opportunities to Support Domestic Seafood Through Aquaculture. One of the four witnesses was Mark Luecke from Prairie AquaTech in South Dakota. Prairie AquaTech is a member of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance (SAA), of which the American Soybean Association (ASA) is a member. Luecke and the other witnesses testified about the enormous opportunities for domestic aquaculture production, as well as the many challenges.
“We believe the reasons for our country’s slow growth in aquaculture include 1) the unavailability of high quality feed ingredients produced locally, which equates to over 50 percent of fish production costs, 2) the unavailability of investment capital to construct more fish production facilities, and 3) an inefficient regulatory pathway permitting fish production facilities while preserving our marine and land-based environments. An opportunity exists to improve our position,” Luecke testified.
Prairie AquaTech created a process using high quality feed soybeans that eliminates allergenic proteins and sugars that limit inclusion levels in aquaculture feed. Following the hearing, ASA and SAA staff joined Luecke in visiting the South Dakota Congressional delegation to advocate for expanding opportunities for U.S. aquaculture. Testimony from all four witnesses is available here.