Indiana aquaculture – and soybeans – are in the spotlight this October as National Seafood Month is underway.Indiana Soybean Alliance is partnering with other Indiana organizations and celebrities, including former Pacers player Detlef Schrempf, to assist the Seafood Nutrition Partnership in rolling out new messaging to promote the consumption of seafood. Indianapolis was one of the two pilot cities selected by the Seafood Nutrition Partnership to begin the national campaign. ISA – the soybean checkoff – has been involved in supporting aquaculture as a market for soybeans for many years, including projects looking at the use of soy-based fish feeds in countries like China, Egypt and India. Since 2007, the organization has focused on supporting domestic aquaculture production with the goal of building demand for soy-based fish feeds within the state.
“A key aspect of ISA’s strategic plan is creating a robust aquaculture industry that utilizes our state’s quality soybeans in fish feed,” said Shelia Lingle, director of ISA’s aquaculture program. “The Seafood Nutrition Partnership spreads awareness of the benefits of a seafood-rich diet, and in turn, the value of Indiana’s aquaculture industry.”
Indiana is currently home to more than 40 fish farms, including a growing shrimp industry. Earlier this year, Bell Aquaculture opened a feed mill in Albany, Ind. which locally sources feed ingredients, including Indiana soybeans. Currently, Indiana aquaculture producers raise roughly 1.5 million pounds of fish per year with an estimated value of $15 million.
As a leader in the aquaculture industry, Indiana was a good fit for the Seafood Nutrition Partnership to roll out its National Seafood Month campaign. The organization works to raise awareness about the nutritional benefits of eating seafood and give consumers the knowledge and confidence to meet the USDA’s recommendations of two servings of fish per week.
ISA has worked with the Partnership to coordinate multiple efforts throughout Indianapolis to promote Indiana-raised fish and discuss the role the state’s soybean industry plays in providing sustainable food. The soybean checkoff assisted with the coordination of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership kickoff event earlier this month, as well as various media interviews, including a panel discussion on a local NPR radio program featuring an Indiana aquaculture producer and a registered dietician.
Throughout October, Indianapolis residents have benefited from opportunities to enjoy Indiana-sourced seafood thanks in part to ISA. Indianapolis area restaurants prepared Indiana seafood in featured dishes for diners to enjoy on October 17. Indiana tilapia and shrimp samples were available at the Indianapolis City Market on October 21 during the mid-day lunch break.
The Seafood Nutrition Partnership caps off the month long celebration with a seafood cooking competition at Harrison College’s Chef’s Academy. Student chefs will create dishes on October 24 with Indiana seafood which will be judged by celebrity judges. This event is open to the public.