Ohio Tilapia Culture

While aquaculture is growing in Ohio, tilapia farms are still a minor contributor to the overall state fish production.Ohio Production




For more information, see Ohio Aquaculture Industry Analysis

Some Ohio tilapia farms:

Ripple Rock Fish Farms
6805 Old Stagecoach Road,
Frazeysburg, Ohio, 43822

Sugar Creek Fishery
7799 Sugar Creek Rd
Lima, OH 45801
Phone:(330) 554-7151

Regulatory Issues in Ohio Regarding Aquaculture

By: Laura Tiu, Aquaculture Specialist, OSU South Centers

Aquaculture is a form of agriculture in Ohio.

Ohio Revised Code 1.61. “Agriculture” defined.

As used in any statute except section 303.01 or 519.01 of the Revised Code, “agriculture” includes farming; ranching; aquaculture; apiculture and related apicultural activities, production of honey, beeswax, honeycomb, and other related products; horticulture; viticulture, winemaking, and related activities; animal husbandry, including, but not limited to, the care and raising of livestock, equine, and fur-bearing animals; poultry husbandry and the production of poultry and poultry products; dairy production; the production of field crops, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees, flowers, sod, or mushrooms; timber; pasturage; any combination of the foregoing; the processing, drying, storage, and marketing of agricultural products when those activities are conducted in conjunction with, but are secondary to, such husbandry or production; and any additions or modifications to the foregoing made by the director of agriculture by rule adopted in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

In a recent survey of State Aquaculture Coordinators, the 17 states that define aquaculture find it has a number of benefits:

  • sales and use tax exemptions
  • building code exemptions
  • right-to-farm laws developed to create a legal buffer between farms and encroaching suburbanites
  • allows for sovereign submerged land leases
  • protects farmers who follow BMPs from environmental lawsuits
  • provides for an ombudsman to resolve issues with regulatory agencies
  • disaster assistance from USDA
  • access to land, water appropriations, and discharge exemptions provided to agricultural operations
  • provides a seat on the state’s Agricultural Commission and representation by Farm Bureau
  • makes theft of farmed fish punishable
  • allows exemption from wildlife regulations on take method, season, limit, and size
  • allows producers to file for agricultural land tax rates
  • provides for coordinated fish health monitoring efforts

Aquaculture permits in Ohio.

Fee: $50.00 – $100.00

Ohio Revised Code 1533.632. Aquaculture permits in Ohio.

Permitting for production of aquaculture species is provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.


The Aquaculture Law Digest is accessible on-line as ODNR Publication 61.

Permits are annual from January 1 – December 31.

Transportation and Baitfish permits information available on the same webpage.

Fish Importation into Ohio

Aquatic fish health is regulated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture

Find more information on this website: http://www.ncrac.org/Info/StateImportRegs/ohio.htm#Importation

Storm Water Discharge permits – Ohio EPA

Fee: $200.00 – $500.00

As of March 10, 2003, if your construction project disturbs 1 or more acres of ground, you must get a permit to discharge storm water from your site. If your project disturbs less than 1 acre but is part of a larger plan of development or sale, you also need a permit to discharge storm water from the site. This includes excavation of ponds.

For more information: http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/storm/construction_index.aspx

NOI form: http://www.epa.ohio.gov/portals/35/documents/NOI_form2_fis.pdf

NOI costs: http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/permits/gpfees.aspx

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit

Specific language from Federal Register 40 CFR part 451, Vol. 68, No

162 August 24, 2004:

On June 30, 2001, EPA finalized a new rule establishing regulations for concentrated aquatic animal production (CAAP), or farm raised fish facilities. The regulation will apply to approximately 245 facilities that generate wastewater from their operations and discharge that wastewater directly into waters of the United States. This rule will help reduce discharges of conventional pollutants, primarily total suspended solids. The rule will also help reduce non-conventional pollutants such as nutrients. To a lesser extent, the rule will reduce drugs that are used to manage diseased fish, chemicals used to clean net pens, and toxic pollutants (metals and PCBs). The final rule applies to direct discharges of wastewater from existing and new facilities that produce at least 100,000 pounds of fish a year and discharge at least 30 days a year and facilities that produce at least 100,000 pounds of fish a year in net pens or submerged cages.

Information: http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/aquaculture/index.cfm

Form: http://www.epa.ohio.gov/portals/35/permits/cafo_fedrgstr_form2b.pdf

Water Withdrawal Facilities Registration

The Water Withdrawal Facilities Registration Program, as established in H.B. 662 by the Ohio General Assembly in 1988, implements one of the objectives of the Great Lakes Charter in Ohio. Section 1521.16 of the Ohio Revised code requires any owner of a facility, or combination of facilities, with the capacity to withdraw water at a quantity greater than 100,000 gallons per day (GPD) to register such facilities with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Water. The Water Withdrawal Facility Registration (WWFR) Program will provide information of great importance to the citizens of the state. Water, one of our most basic and precious natural resources, needs to be studied more intensely and water resource planners need reliable information to plan for the future. The state’s economy depends on water and economic development will continue to place increased demands on this critical resource.

Water withdrawal forms: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Water/wwfr/default/tabid/4265/Default.aspx

Fish Processing

Your aquaculture permit allows you to sell fish live or whole on ice. If you want to process your fish product, you fall under additional regulations.

On-farm retail: If it is 100% retail from the farm (no wholesaling), it does not fall under the federal or state seafood HACCP regulation, just the local health department.

Every “processor” must conduct a hazard analysis to determine whether they have likely food safety hazards that they must control. This processing falls under Federal HACCP regulations. For more information go to:


For HACCP questions in Ohio:

Diane R. McDaniel
Assistant to District Director
1600 Watermark Drive
Suite 105
Columbus, OH 43215
(614)487-1273 Ext 15
(614)487-9658 (fax)

21st Annual Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Short Course

Engineering Design for Recirculating Aquaculture (RAS), Hydroponic, and Aquaponic Systems

This three day course  (Tuesday – Thursday) reviews the basic engineering principles behind a successful recirculating system (RAS) design. The objective of this course is to provide sufficient information so that the participant will be able to design, construct, and manage their own RAS system. We also cover the basic principles of state-of-the-art hydroponic (plant) and aquaponic (fish and plants) techniques and cover the management of these systems. Several design options will be explored. Basic principles of business management for the small family farm will also be reviewed by guest speaker Michael Finnegan, CEO Continental Organics L.L.C.

The following topics will be addressed:

  • Water quality monitoring and measurement
  • Engineering design of individual unit processes
  • System management
  • Fish health management
  • Economic and risk evaluation
  • Indoor Shrimp
  • Tours of local aquaculture/hydroponics facilities

A “distance” learning opportunity for aquaculture only is also offered.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will have the essential information necessary to design their own systems and have a fundamental knowledge of the principles influencing the numerous design options.

In addition, a Farm Tour will be made to Continental Organics Inc. (2 acres of hydroponics and a 100,000 lb/year tilapia system); see www.conorgnx.com for farm details (within 10 minutes of educational venue).

Location: Mount Saint Mary College
330 Powell Ave., Newburgh, NY 12550

Host Professor: Dr. Lynn Maelia, Chemistry


Dr. Michael B. Timmons
Aquaculture & Business Management
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Dr. James M. Eberling
Aquaculture Systems Technologies, New Orleans, LA

Michael Finnigan, CEO
Business Management
Continental Organics LLCNew Windsor, NY

For more information, see http://fish.bee.cornell.edu/

Support for Tilapia Aquaculture in Trinidad

Hot on the heels of the launch of the floating raft cage culture system in November and an awareness building event for locally produced tilapia targeted at restaurants and supermarkets two weeks ago, last week, Devant Maharaj, the Minister of Food Production in Trinidad unveiled three other initiatives.

In his unprecedented and unrelenting efforts to support the long neglected Aquaculture Sector, Minister Maharaj commissioned a refurbished facility originally established in the 1950’s and re-branding it as the Aquaculture Demonstration Centre.


















At the same event, there was also the signing of a MoU among several of his Ministry agencies and the predominant farmers group for the purchase of farmed tilapia, processing of the fish and subsequent sale of the product under a newly created TT Tilapia brand. These are all bold and never before seen initiatives in the aquaculture industry anywhere in the world and many countries would do well to pay attention to this model for aquaculture support and development.

Related Information:

Tilapia Culture in Nepal

Prospects of Tilapia Culture in Nepal

Excerpt from: Tilapia-An Introduction and Prospects of its Culture in Nepal
C.N.R. Yadav
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science
Rampur Campus, Rampur, Chitwan, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Our Nature (2006)4:107-110

Though introduction of tilapia in Nepal has passed over a decade, its cultivation has not flourished. There is a general fear of displacement of indigenous fish species. Swar and Gurung (1988) found the reduction of 42 % in the yield of Mystus spp. and Puntius spp. after introduction of bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in the Begnas lake of Pokhara valley. But biology of tilapia favors for its cultivation in Nepal. The climatic condition in hilly regions can control to an extent the over breeding activity of the fish. The minimum temperature of tolerance for Tilapia is 10ºC – 11ºC. It cannot survive below this temperature. The physiological condition can easily be exploited in Nepalese subtropical climate to control the population of tilapia.

For cultivation of the fish, coldwater bodies can be selected where temperature is rather favorable during summer for growth. Those water bodies can be used for stocking tilapia for 7-8 months and the fish would be harvested during winter months. Temperature below 10ºC will kill the remaining fish after the harvest and there will be no fear of wild propagation. Their population will be controlled naturally.

Terai region can be utilized for brood fish stocking and seed production. In this way seed production in Terai and grow out production in hilly region will be the best combination for tilapia cultivation without the fear of displacement of the indigenous fish species of the country.

Polyculture opportunities in the mid-hills of Nepal for resource poor farmers

John Davis. 2011. Polyculture opportunities in the mid-hills of Nepal for resource poor farmers. Ecological Aquaculture Studies & Reviews, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I.

Nepal is a country of intense poverty and political upheaval. Many people live below the poverty level and there are many nongovernmental organizations at work within the borders of the country attempting to decrease the number of poor through the arming of the people with the tools necessary to become self-sufficient and raise their income levels while at the same time doing so in a way that improves social cohesion and the overall health of the population. I examined various methods and protocols for improving the living standards of the resource poor farmers with a focus on the utilization of aquaculture as a means to improve income, supplement diet and provide social stability and personal growth. The paper presents a suitable low cost solution to the issues facing resource poor farmers in Nepal through the establishment of an aquaculture network, with less reliance in inputs than more intensive practices.


Source: Fish Production Systems in Nepal
Madhav K Shrestha (Agriculture and Forestry University) and RN Mishra (National Fisheries and Aquaculture Program)

Other References

Aquaculture Study Shows Technological Advances Can Offset Resource Constraints

ROME – (November 14, 2014) – Fish farming will likely grow more than expected in the coming decade, offering a chance for improved nutrition for millions of people, especially in Asia and Africa, according to a new report.

Increased investment in the aquaculture sector – particularly in productivity-enhancing technologies including in the areas of water use, breeding, hatchery practices and feedstuff innovation – should boost farmed-fish production by as much as 4.14 percent per year through 2022, notably faster than the 2.54 percent growth forecast made earlier this year in a joint report by FAO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“The primary reason for increased optimism is that there is ample room for catching up with more productive technologies, especially in Asia, where many fish farmers are small and unable to foot the hefty capital outlays the industry requires to expand output without running into resource constraints,” said Audun Lem, a senior official at FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Economics Division and one of the lead authors of the 120-page report.

Africa, with formidable water resources, should also host ongoing rapid growth of more than 5 percent a year, the fastest in the world but building on a very low current base level, according to the report.

Aquaculture is a young industry compared to livestock farming and has grown from virtually nothing in 1950 to a record production of 66.5 million tonnes in 2012, up almost thirty-fold since 1970. About 50 percent of the $127 billion in global fish exports in 2011 came from developing countries, which receive more net revenue from the fish trade than from their exports of tea, rice, cocoa and coffee combined, Lem said.

In terms of direct human consumption farmed fish in 2014 surpassed captured fish, which reached a plateau in the mid-1980s and is expected to grow only 5 percent over the next decade thanks largely to reduced waste as well as better gear reducing unwanted bycatch and improved fisheries management.

Global per capita fish consumption increased from 9.9 kilograms in 1970 to 19.1 kilograms in 2012, although rates vary substantially by and within regions. Africa, Latin America and the Near East have consumption levels of around half the global rate, while Asia, Europe and North America all have rates of about 21 kilograms per capita.

Fish prices in 2022 will be 27 percent higher than today in FAO’s baseline scenario, but up to 20 percent lower if aquaculture expands more quickly.

Fish has a special nutritional role   Fish are the healthiest of meats, their farmed production has a far smaller carbon footprint than livestock, and they are also huge providers of the micronutrients people need. Beyond the energy and protein they supply, they lower the risk of coronary heart disease and improve cardio-vascular health. Fish are also supreme suppliers of long-chain n-3 poly unsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA), which are demonstrably linked to better cognitive development as measured by reading skills up to the age of 12.

“Fish is not just food,” says Jogeir Toppe, a FAO officer and expert on fish and nutrition. He cited the case of the mola, a pond fish in Bangladesh that has exceptionally high levels of zinc and iron and Vitamin A as well as 80 times the calcium content as tilapia. Similar pelagic species elsewhere, such as African lake sardines, have similar micronutrient profiles, but many indigenous fish have yet to be studied.

Those attributes are invaluable as 800,000 child deaths each year are attributable to zinc deficiency, 250 million children worldwide are at risk of vitamin A deficiency, and almost a third of the world’s population is iron deficient. Seafood is also practically the only natural source of iodine.

However, the new study noted that households with rising incomes often shift away from such humble types – what the industry calls “trash fish” – towards fattier and filet-friendly species such as carp which are less efficient providers of micronutrients. One reason is that the higher-status fish are often eaten as filets while the mola and its kin are typically eaten whole.

“The highest iron, zinc and calcium content of fish lies in their heads, bones and guts, which is often the part that gets thrown away, as with tuna,” said Toppe. Somewhat ironically, byproducts such as fish heads or the back-bones of Nile perch whose fresh fillets are exported may often be of higher nutritional value than the main product, he added.

Aquaculture governance challenges lie ahead   FAO called upon policy makers to take such nutritional considerations aboard, especially in a phase of growing aquaculture operations.

DOWNLOAD “Maximizing the contribution of fish to human nutrition”: www.fao.org/3/a-i3963e.pdf

Fish farming ought also to be analysed through a broad food system lens, as it impacts a host of factors, ranging from environmental impacts and hydropower projects through tenure rights for smallholders, sharing systems for common-pool water resources, to the employment of women in local retail networks, all of which involve complex social institutions and customs.

FAO’s report suggests that increased demand on fishmeal prices due to aquaculture’s needs is unlikely to impact prices as alternatives, such as feed based on vegetable proteins, will be developed to meet needs and respond to price pressures. Such innovation is particularly important for Africa, where fish farmers rely heavily on imported feedstuff from European countries.

A notable shift is already underway as Peruvian anchovy, Chilean mackerel and Scandinavian herring are increasingly being used for direct human consumption while more efficient use of other fish byproducts are being used for fish oil production.


Source: NewMediaWire

Hawaii Aquaculture Contacts

Business Development and Planning

Liz Xu
Economic Development Specialist
Aquaculture and Lifestock Support Service
Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture
Email Jing.xu@hawaii.gov

Business Strategies for a Successful Tilapia Farm

Education and Extension

Clyde Tamaru
Univ of Hawaii at Manoa
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Aquaculture Extension Specialist

Affiliated Associations

Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA)
The Oceanic Institute
41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy.
Waimanalo, HI 96795
Tel: (808) 956-3385

Hawaii Aquaculture and Aquaponics Association
PO Box 29398
Honolulu, Hawaii 96820

Hawaii Tilapia Culture

Hawaii’s tropical environment is suitable for growing warm-water fish like tilapia.

More information about tilapia culture in Hawaii


Hawaii has a long history of encouraging and supporting commercial aquaculture development that continues today. The state wants to use this food production technology to expand and diversify the economies on all islands and enhance overall island food selfsufficiency.
The Islands have the longest tradition of aquaculture in the United States, as evidenced by the many remarkable remnants of the coastal, stone‐walled fish ponds constructed by early Hawaiians over 800 years ago.

Permits and Regulatory Requirements for Aquaculture in Hawaii (Sept 1, 2011)

Europe’s First Tilapia Farm Earns BAP Certification

R.H. Ward (Welton) Ltd.’s tilapia farm, The Fish Company, in the United Kingdom is Europe’s first tilapia farm to attain Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification, the Global Aquaculture Alliance announced at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, Belgium, on May 6. It’s also the United Kingdom’s first aquaculture farm to achieve the distinction.

Located in Welton Cliff, Lincolnshire, the farm, which has been in operation since 2007, earned BAP certification in April. The tilapia are reared in a centrally heated recirculating system inside in a custom-built 1080-square-meter facility heated by a waste-wood biomass boiler and partially powered by a 45-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array.

Currently, the company produces approximately 50 tons of tilapia annually but hopes to reach a full production capacity of approximately 100 tons in the near future. The fish are processed by B & L Filleting, a local, family-owned seafood-processing company in Grimsby, and are sold as gutted, whole round red tilapia to UK supermarkets under the “The Fish Company” brand.

“It has been essential for The Fish Company to maintain a standard of production in line with the stringent quality guidelines that consumers have come to expect,” said Richard Beckett of R.H. Ward. “Attaining the BAP certification provides assurances to our customers that our facility meets international quality standards and is an endorsement of our commitment to advanced, sustainable fish farming.”

About BAP
A division of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Best Aquaculture Practices is an international certification program based on achievable, science-based and continuously improved performance standards for the entire aquaculture supply chain — farms, hatcheries, processing plants and feed mills — that assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means. BAP certification is based on independent audits that evaluate compliance with the BAP standards developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance. (Date: May, 2014)

New Fish Vaccine Against Most Prevalent Disease Affecting Tilapia

BOXMEER, THE NETHERLANDS, August 18, 2014 – MSD Animal Health (known as Merck Animal Health in the USA and Canada) today introduced a new fish vaccine as a promising measure to help protect tilapia and other fish against the biotype 1 strain of Streptococcus agalactiae, which is the biotype specific to Thailand and other key tilapia-producing regions in Asia, including Malaysia.

“We are pleased to introduce a new fish vaccine to help producers protect their fish from one of the most costly diseases affecting the species,” said Norman Lim, Regional Technical Manager for aquaculture in Asia, MSD Animal Health. “The vaccine is backed by MSD Animal Health’s ‘Strep Control: Your Tilapia Health’ program, which provides producers with the support they need to implement an effective vaccination and control program.”

MSD Animal Health conducted extensive sampling of farms in the world’s most important tilapia-producing regions and found that Streptococcus accounted for 70 percent of all pathogens collected, making it the most prevalent disease affecting tilapia. Of the two Streptococcus strains that have been identified, S. agalactiae is the most economically damaging, causing widespread mortality and morbidity in larger fish.

In a laboratory test, fish experienced full onset of immunity one week after vaccination with this vaccine and protection was demonstrated to last for at least 12 weeks.1 In a large- scale field trial in an environment challenged by S. agalactiae biotype 1, the fish vaccine increased survival by 17 percent, increased biomass by 11.2 percent, and improved feed conversion efficiency by nine percent. Protection was demonstrated for the entire grow-out period.

The fish vaccine provides specific protection against the biotype 1 strain of S. agalactiae, the main cause of Streptococcosis in tilapia in Thailand. Fish vaccinated with the vaccine are safe for human consumption.

As part of the ‘Strep Control: Your Tilapia Health’ program, MSD Animal Health can help producers confirm the strain and biotype present on their farm, implement a surveillance and vaccination program, and train staff on appropriate control strategies. Producers can consult their MSD Animal Health representative or a fish health professional to learn about MSD Animal Health’s ‘Strep Control: Your Tilapia Health’ program and the new fish vaccine.

About MSD Animal Health

Today’s MSD is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD Animal Health, known as Merck Animal Health in the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of MSD. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier AnimalsTM, MSD Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well- being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. MSD Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.msd-animal-health.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Massachusetts Aquaculture Contacts

Agencies / Regulatory

Sean F. Bowen
Food Safety and Aquaculture Specialist
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
251 Causeway Street, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02114

Education and Extension

Bob Schrader
Associate Director, Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment
316 Stockbridge Hall
80 Campus Center Way
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
phone: 413.545.0143
fax: 413.545.6555

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (SEMAC)

Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (NEMAC)

Affiliated Associations

Massachusetts Aquaculture Association
P.O. Box 500
North Eastham, MA 02651