Representative Jeffrey Mursau
Chair, Committee on Environment and Forestry
Wisconsin State Assembly
PO Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
The Honorable Representative Mursau:
The U.S. Trout Farmers Association was the first aquaculture organization created to promote the culture of farm raised fish, in the United States. Our 60 years of existence has been led by the focus of our Bylaws to encourage economical and efficient promotion of commercial trout for table use and live trout for sport fishing. Among the pioneers in trout aquaculture were many farmers in Wisconsin. The clean waters and respect for your state’s natural resources was ingrained into our organization and industry.
Throughout the United States, the recognition of aquaculture as a form of agriculture is the norm. Every state has to address this in the manner appropriate with their statutes. We have reviewed and evaluated AB 640/ SB 493. This clearly addresses a number of issues which are pertinent to recognizing aquaculture as agriculture and specifically identifies the needs of aquaculture as that of a water dependent activity.
Propagation of trout and other species is a significant economic activity in many areas of Wisconsin. These farms tend to be small, family based operations. Many of which have been in operation for decades.
The best management practices used in commercial production are the same as used in state, federal and tribal hatcheries nationwide. All require the utilization of clean cold water and whether the end product is wholesome food for our families, stocking fish for recreational sport fishing or the restoration of fish, environmental stewardship is inseparable from the process.
We, The U.S. Trout Farmers Association wish to express our support for AB 640/SB 493. This is a vital step in full recognition of aquaculture as a form of agriculture and a recognition of the economic benefits received by this environmentally sound industry. We encourage you and your fellow legislators to support Wisconsin’s fish farmers by enacting this legislation.
Thank you for the opportunity to express our thoughts.
United States Trout Farmers Association