Virginia Tilapia Culture

Virginia has a diverse aquaculture industry that encompasses fresh water to salt (marine) water, to warm water to cold water and includes fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Tilapia is considered a warm water fish that can only be raised in enclosed building (barn, greenhouse or other structure) and in an enclosed production system (and these are usually recirculating systems). (Source: Robins Buck, Virginia Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services)

Blue Ridge Aquaculture located in Martinsville, Virginia raises nearly 4 million pounds of tilapia each year and is the world’s largest indoor producer of tilapia.

Regulations

To be able to raise tilapia, you must obtain a permit from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and this permit is renewable annually. You can contact Mr. Ed Steinkoenig of DGIF at 804-367-0585 or ed.steinkoenig@dgif.virginia.gov

“Virginia’s Finest” Standards for Farm-Raised Tilapia (PDF)

Business Planning

For business planning assistance, go to https://www.virginiasbdc.org/ and then click/hover on Virginia SBDC Offices and State Map to find the SBDC Office that services your area; call them and make an appointment for a business consultant to be assigned to you for development of your Business Plan (this is either free or for a very nominal fee). Also, you can go to VA FAIRS at http://www.vafairs.com/  and look down the left side for all kinds of information but especially look at Business Plans under Assistance and the Virtual Business Center under resources; you could do a Business Plan here before calling on your area SBDC Office. (Source: Robins Buck, Virginia Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services)

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