Wisconsin researchers work to breed yellow perch

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Researchers in Green Bay hope to reduce the cost of fish fry dinners by working with a local nonprofit to set up breeding tanks for the popular yellow perch, which is becoming hard to find in the wild.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and The Farmory hope the project will reduce prices, increase quality and get young people involved in locally-sourced food options, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

"There is a tremendous need for the youth of our community to think about agricultural careers, manufacturing careers, high tech careers," said Claire Thompson, The Farmory's executive director. "This is a perfect opportunity to display in full force how those three things can come together in an urban environment."

The fish will be bred and raised indoors in tanks that resemble hot tubs in a vacant downtown building, said Ken Webb, a research associate at the university. Small fingerlings will be sold to fish farmers, who will raise the fish until they're large enough to eat.

"Once this facility is closed in and sealed, we will have a bio-secure fish stock," Webb said. "When fish come out of here I will be able to certify it, that for the past 10 generations, or however long it's been, there has been no disease in this building."

Webb said the fish will be yellow perch and not an imported knock-off.

"It will mean that when you go to a perch fry you will probably actually get yellow perch. Because right now if you 'value shop' your fish fry, you are more than likely not getting yellow perch," he said.

The Farmory hopes to raise $125,000 for the project by the end of the year, with a goal of selling fish early next year.

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