VOLUME 2 ISSUE 2  The Voice of New Hampshire Fish Farmers   SPRING 2002          

NH Dept. of Agriculture Grant Offers Opportunities for a Productive Year

Word has been received that Governor Shaheen and the Executive Council have given their approval to an Agriculture Promotion Grant awarded to the New Hampshire Aquaculture Association for a year long Aquaculture Education and Promotion Project. The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Foods put out a request for proposals with the goal of funding projects for the purpose of promoting and improving the state's agricultural industry. NHAA has joined the ranks of such groups as the NH Farm Bureau, NE Organic Farmers Association of NH and other well-established commodity groups by being chosen to receive funding from this special grant process.

        The impact of this funding is already effecting you in this issue of The Gillzette that you hold in your hands, as part of the funds will subsidize the production costs as we try to make this voice of the association better and better. Also, a new committee has been formed, thanks to Paul Kimball and Anita Weidknecht, to create as association web site.

        Plans are underway to provide three workshops this summer. Proposed topics include "Getting Started in Fish Farming " , " Marketing Your Product " and " Tools of the Trade and Species Selection " . Your suggestions for other topics would be greatly appreciated. We will have the ability to represent NH aquaculture production at events such a county fairs and ethnic festivals, visit classrooms to teach the next generation about agriculture, make improvements to our display at next winter's Farm and Forest Exposition and add more valuable items to our Tool lending Library.

        Funding is now available to reproduce our popular brochures about getting started in fish farming, pond stocking and the safe handling of fish products. We also plan to produce a new quality publication about NH aquaculture production, complete with photographs of many of our sites.

        New committees to be started will include a legislative watch group. All these activities will need the time and interest of more members. If there is something you can do, from clipping newspaper articles or copying website information of interest to our industry, or calling new members to make them welcome, all the way up to serving on a committee, we welcome your participation.

        Join us for our next general meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 29, at the Manchester Community Technical College to learn more ;and help us plan for the exciting year ahead. Pizza will be brought in so R.S.V.P. to 464-3301 to let us know you are coming.

Debbie Gile

Extension Export

J-J Newman
LTNH Cooperative Extension
jj.newman@unh.edu or 603-749-1565

Hi everyone! I hope the new year is treating you all well. I just have a few items of interest to share with you this issue:

1. For those of you who are getting started and looking for some basic information, there is an online course available. "Getting Started in Freshwater Aquaculture" that can be found at www.aguanic.orp-/courses/ ag448/index.htm. A written manual of the course is also available.

2. The 8th annual Aquaculture Water Reuse Systems Short Course will be held July 22-26, 2002. Put on by Cornell University and The Freshwater Institute, this year's course will be held at The Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. This one-week course is intended to give a thorough coverage of the design, operation and management of water reuse systems for finfish. Offered as a "hands-on" course at The Freshwater Institute or in a Distance Learning environment. Limited coverage will be given to engineering economics. Members of the Cornell Aquaculture Program and The Freshwater Institute will teach the course. A combination of "hands-on" laboratories and classroom presentations will be offered. At the conclusion of the workshop, individuals should be able to design their own water reuse systems and have a fundamental knowledge of the principles influencing design decisions.

I took this course back in 1997 and it was excellent! Melvin Murrel took it last year, so you can ask him for a review as well. For more information see www.bee.cornell.edu/extension/aquaculture/ or call Brenda Marchewa at (607) 255-2495.

3. The materials for the Aquaculture Water Reuse Systems Short Course have now been made into a textbook. You can order the book through the course website. The NHAA Tool Lending Library also has copies that you can check out.

4. Lew Newsky tells me that Wal-Mart has good-quality, coated minnow traps for $6. The smooth coating protects fish from injury and prevents the trap from rusting.

5. Mark your calendars for November 15-16, 2002. The Northeastern Aquaculture Conference & Exposition (NACE) will be held in Warwick, Rhode Island. A brochure with conference details will be out soon. If you don't receive one, contact me or call Ann Marie Rathbun at (401) 461-8848, ext. 391.

6. I am in the process of trying to decide if UNH Cooperative Extension will hold workshops this spring on growing fish in cages and on growing fish in small, indoor systems. If you would be interested in attending one of these, please let me know.

Thank you!

Notes from the Program Director

We had a great Farm and Forest Show this year, over a thousand people visited our booth seeking information on how to raise fish. We ran out of printed materials, business cards, extension brochures, flyers and books, they took everything we had to offer. The vast majority of these people had no intention, what so ever of becoming fish farmers. Most of them just wanted to raise fish for their own family consumption. Recent news reports on the high levels of mercury in wild caught fish and the events of September 11 have served to create a new understanding and desire for self-reliance. What was most exciting, was that the majority of these folks were fellow farmers. It was wonderful to see that they finally understood the value of our agriculture.

Getting ready for the show was hard work, our treasury was empty and our repeated requests for help were ignored by aquaculture support agencies. However, our members stepped up to the plate. We were like the New England Patriots, underdogs who believed in the power of teamwork. People came through with fish, equipment, time and money. These efforts made me very proud to be a member of the NHAA.

Mark Crook (Manchester Vietnam Veterans) came through with his vehicle and physical labor, Gordon and Fern Wilder, (Hy-On-A Hill Trout Farm), took time out from their very busy schedules to assist at the booth and in packing things up. In addition, Debbie Gile, (Hillsboro Trout Farm), Greg Bossart, (Pres. NHAA), Lew Newsky, (NH wholesale bate) and Klee Dugan, (Poling Aquaculture), were everywhere, doing everything necessary for our success.

We had a double booth space much larger than anything we had ever attempted before. We had Six aquariums full of fishes, a huge Recirculating system and tools. By the end of the show, we were worn out and our throats were sore from talking to so many people.

Cheryl West, (Lowell University,) Ruby Fogg, (Manchester Tech.,) and Mike Page, (Advance Wildlife Control,) contributed mightily in our endeavor, and a young man named Israel Torres put forward a great effort. Commissioner Taylor from the NH Dept. of Agriculture was our guest speaker and he was marvelous. The NHAA should feel good about the contribution and the good neighbor attitude of these members and supporters. Great job all, be proud to work with you anytime.

Melvin Murrel

Farm Profiles

Hy-On-A-Hill Trout Farm, Inc.
Tallow Hill Road
P.O. Box 308
Plainfield, NH 03781

Hy-On-A Hill Trout Farm was created during the 1970s by the Wilder family in an effort to save the farm after generations of dairy farming. When we were not able to find any trout to buy to stock our new backyard pond, we bought some eggs from a hatchery in Massachusetts and set up a small gravity- fed system in our basement with hatching (mayonnaise) jars and a trough. Hatches were eventually successful and, thinking that other pond owners might also wish to stock their ponds with trout, we explored the possibility of expanding our trout-rearing efforts. Raising trout would be a way for us to keep the farm in an agricultural mode without subdividing the property which today includes 150 acres.

Our first outside facility consisted of four custom-made septic tank bottoms that were supplied by gravity-fed water from a spring on the property. During the nearly 30 years since that first effort, the family (including our three sons) engineered and built six 30' x 4' round concrete pools, two 80' x 8' x 4' raceways, three more ponds, a hatchery building and a feed storage/processing building along with several water systems. Today, the primary water supply, a gravity-fed system, which the family also installed, originates from three springs 2800 feet above the rearing facility. An artesian well and two dug wells are available for supplemental water if needed. A 75 KW diesel powered generator provides power to the entire farm during power outages.

Each rearing pool gets its own fresh water with its own egress to a small settling basin. From there, all the water flows through the double raceway system and then into a larger ASCS-designed settling basin. The water exits the settling basin into a pond and subsequently into the brook. The basin is pumped out into a truck that spreads the liquid manure on our fields. This settling basin is believed to be one of only two like it with similar efficiency at any fish-rearing facility in New England - private, state or federal.

Two hundred thousand brook and rainbow trout eggs are hatched annually in the hatchery building. The eggs are purchased from Canadian facilities that have long histories of clean health inspection reports. Maintaining our clean health status is critically important, since our business is New England-wide and beyond. Each state has its own importing regulations and can deny importing privileges for diseased stock. Our trout are inspected annually by a certified lab for diseases believed to be detrimental to the environment.

The eggs are moved to the outside growout facility in early summer as soon as rearing pools become available after the spring stocking. From March through June, four transport trucks carry brook and rainbow trout in all sizes to fishing clubs, derbies and private ponds for stocking throughout New England and New York. The Kenworth truck is equipped with five large tanks each of which can be divided, individual tank aeration including liquid oxygen, plus its own generator. The Kenworth conservatively carries about 2,800 pounds of live trout on long trips. There is limited fall and winter stocking as well.

Processed rainbow trout for the table market are delivered weekly to local food stores and restaurants. The facility is fully licensed by both the state and federal governments to sell fresh and smoked trout products.
Gordon & Fern Wilder

Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center

A Research and Education Partner of the Aquaculture Industry
Tomas Vergel C. Jamir, Ph. D.
Executiver Director

The Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC) lies at the heart of 21st century expansion and diversification of the northeastern aquaculture industry, which will grow and compete in the global marketplace through the use of advanced production technologies.

NRAC is one of five Regional Aquaculture Centers established by the U.S. Congress and represents 12 states including the District of Columbia. Funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), NRACs primary role is to develop and sponsor cooperative regional research and extension projects in support of the aquaculture industry in the northeastern United States.

As part of its strategy, NRAC focuses on science and education programs that provide long-term public benefits through enhanced aquacultural development in the region. NRAC-sponsored projects emphasize science and education to stimulate the growth of the industry - measured in size and numbers of aquacultural enterprises - through development and dissemination of profitable and environmentally benign technologies.

NRAC also serves as a principal public forum for the advancement and dissemination of science and technology needed by northeastern aquaculture producers and support industries. NRAC accomplishes this by facilitating regional stakeholder communications, linking industry and government representatives to university scientists and educators, providing guidance and stimulating regional research and outreach initiatives.

Overall direction and management of NRAC is provided by a Board of Directors representing the region's, aquaculture industries, academic institutions and government agencies. Research and extension priorities are established by a Technical- Industry Advisory Council (TIAC) consisting of a Technical Committee and an Industry Committee.

The Technical Committee includes key aquaculture researchers and extension agents in the region, while the Industry Committee represents principal commercial aquaculture interests in the northeast. The TIAC is also responsible for annual reviews of the progress of NRAC-supported projects. Some of NRAC's recent regional projects include: (a) development of a regional extension network, fish health and necropsy training for the aquaculture community, expansion of Fish Guts fish disease diagnostics CD-ROM program, and surveillance of Infectious Anemia Virus (ISAV)in the northeast;

(b) publication of Recirculating Aquaculture Systems reference book Aquaculture Curricula Resource Guide: A Resource Tool for the Aquaculture Educator, Shellfish Quality Assurance Manual, and Aquacultured Products: Recipes & Information for Chefs and Food Service Professionals; and

(c) research on emergent market for live bay scallops in the northeast, improving larval survival of black sea bass for aquaculture, enhanced digestibility and food conversion efficiency of fish feeds, and feasibility study of razor clam culture in the northeast. For further information, please contact NRAC or visit our website at: The Executive Director Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road, Violette Bldg., Rm. 201
N. Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
Phone: (508) 999-8157
Fax: (508) 999-8590


Department of Agriculture

Often people considering developing an aquaculture enterprise in New Hampshire will run up against the local planning and zoning administrators who think raising fish "isn't agriculture." Actually, it's quite common for town and city officials to be misinformed about what constitutes agriculture generally and what state laws have to say on the subject.

Anyone encountering difficulties of this sort should go to their town or city offices, library or wherever there is an up-to-date set of state law books, the Revised Statutes Annotated (RDAs) and go to RSA 21:34-a. You don't have to be a lawyer to do this-it's simple to find. There you will find the official definitions of agriculture, farm and farming in clear black-and-white English, and you will see aquaculture specifically described in paragraph 6. Make a copy of this section and have it ready for whenever anyone tries to tell you aquaculture isn't part of agriculture. It's the law of the state and all its cities and towns.

If you have more difficulties, go over the RSA 672, which contains the declaration of state public policy that the legislature has adopted relative to agriculture. It says that agriculture is a vital part of the economic and environmental fabric of the state and must not be unduly regulated or hindered by use of local planning and zoning powers.

Be reasonable and cooperative with you local regulatory officials, but deal with them with an understanding on your part of what the laws have to say about agriculture and aquaculture.
Steve Taylor Commissioner

Presidents Column

With the growing season well upon us and an early season at that, it is quite apparent that the drought may have deleterious effects on aquacultural production. It is important to remain attentive to the water requirements typical to an annual production scheme. It is also critical to refer to previous production records so that one may account for a buffer in the average.

There is presently proposed legislation related to large groundwater withdrawals so as to allow for the assurance of future groundwater supply throughout the state. This act (SB410) is currently out in study committee due for review within the next 90 days;. To read this proposal in full, go to the the NH state web site (www.state.nh.us)....then to pending legislation, then enter $quot;groundwater $quot; into the search engine. In brief, this act suggests permitting requirements for groundwater withdrawal of greater than 57600 gpd for anything other than a public water supply.

The multiple parameters of aquaculture and the variable conditions and needs for successive and successful production can demonstrate the fact that this can impact the growth of aquaculture in any degree. As advocates of fish farming and upon a reliant relationship with a sensitive natural resource, we will need to ask ourselves, what is a reasonable land (water) use expectation? The obvious is true and is that which is dependent on our hydro-geological conditions (site specificity). production goals and species definition. It is equally true to take every measure possible to curtail additional barriers that may prohibit the advancement of aquaculture endeavors. It may be important to keep in mind that aquaculture water use is not a removed extraction of this natural resource (i.e.; water bottling), but is borrowed and returned. It essentially remains in the watershed rather than to become eliminated. This notion may be beneficial in the emphasis to committee delegates associated to this bill as well as you local representatives. Socio-economic benefits correlative to business goals and the aquaculture community are points to consider and being to light as well.

Alternative trends in aquaculture progress provides an evident and advantageous outlook. Recalculation technology demonstrates positive attributes in production design and implementation and will become increasingly relevant to the current climatic conditions.

In summary, the evolution of aquaculture will change with the growing socio-economic and socio-political issues regarding natural resource utilization and competitiveness. A driven effort in aquacultural development may be to encompass water efficiency measures and technology so as to provide for capable production. In all, a sound and diligent regard to a precarious and precious resource will illuminate aquaculture with positive impressionism.
Greg Bossart

New Hampshire Fish & Game

The days of the $quot;golden oldie $quot;music of today were also the golden days of rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax spawning runs, in the spring, at Black Brook, Sanbornton, New Hampshire, a tributary of Lake Winnisquam. The smelt file indicates that Fish & Game Department staff manipulated the run from 1957 through 1967 and beyond, collecting and transferring hundreds of millions to a high of 1.53 billion eyed eggs annually. "In 1959 a total of 348.5 million smelt eggs were collected and stocked in 31 lakes and ponds in New Hampshire." "A total of 447.3 million smelt eggs were collected in 1960 and stocked in eighteen lakes and ponds in New Hampshire." A large smelt population was considered necessary as forage for salmon and lake trout survival and growth. Deke Town, in 1959, found that smelt comprised 67% of the diet of Lake trout and 7 1 % of the food items found in salmon. Stocking lakes with eyed smelt eggs was a policy carried out for quite a number of years.

Peter E. Brezosky reported determining the average number of eggs found in female smelt between four and five inches at 3,533 eggs. The majority of the smelt spawning in Black Brook were in that size class. Pete also applied some fish culture techniques and treatments to overcome the major causes of natural egg mortality: 1) excessive accumulation of eggs, causing egg suffocation, 2) infection and rapid spread of saprolegnia W. fungus, killing the eggs, 3) heavy siltation of eggs by heavy rains riling up the brook, and killing the eggs. 1) In 1957 a new enlarged concrete raceway constructed at Black Brook was divided into five equal lengthwise sections by pinned wooden planks. Screened racks of various meshes were placed at the outlet end of each section to control the number of smelt allowed to ascend at a given time, to control the quantity of spawn deposited on the trays. As soon as sufficient numbers of eggs were deposited on the egg trays, the raceway was closed and a new one opened. 2) The eggs were treated with a 1: 1,000,000 solution of Malachite Green (chloride). If microscopic checks of the eggs showed fungus present, the solution was increased to 1:200,000 until the fungus was completely eliminated, after which the daily treatment was then again reduced to a 1: 1,000,000 solution. The drip treatment method was used and regulated to expose the eggs for a one-hour period daily. 3) At the appearance of excessive siltation, the trays were removed, washed free of silt and replaced in the raceways. Survival estimates were made based on microscopic examination of development, and was 85 to 95% due to the husbandry they received.

The trays were frames with burlap fastened to them. The burlap served as a substrate for the sticky peduncle of the eggs to attach to. As the eggs water harden after fertilization, the outer layer of the egg, the "zona radiata externa" is ruptured and turns back on itself, is sticky on the inside that folds out and sticks to the substrate it hits. So each egg has a little stand that holds it up in the current as it develops. As long as there are not too many other eggs stuck and piled on top of each other, this works well to keep the eggs well aerated as the embryo develops. So the trays were placed where there was an abundance of smelt spawning to receive a deposit of eggs. Care was taken to keep them alive until a few days prior to hatch, when they were moved and placed using two strategies: 1) Setting egg trays containing eyed eggs in brooks entering the lakes to be managed or 2) placing egg trays containing eyed eggs in wooden framed chicken wire cages and then setting the cages offshore in the lake.

A municipal sewage treatment plant opened in Laconia in 1961 discharged nutrients into the lake causing algae blooms. By 1963 the State's Water Supply and Pollution Control Commission had received approval from the New Hampshire Legislature to treat the lake with doses of copper sulfate to kill the algae. Copper is a heavy metal that is lethal in large doses, and tends to concentrate in tissues over time. The copper sulfate treatment continued on an annual basis and soon Winnisquam's smelt population began to disappear and the situation was pretty dire by 1976. It is unlikely that we will see the golden years of smelt runs returning in Black Brook. Today, the smelt do not use the brook: perhaps related to the habitat change to an unstable sand substrate, or taking too many eggs, however the lake population of smelt is adequate. They must spawn in the lake. The loss of nutrients going in the lake, after installation of a sewer pipeline to Franklin, has reduced the productivity. I theorize that the high number of smelt in the past was an artifact of fertilizing the food web with the nutrients man put into the lake.

Culture of smelt has proved to be very difficult from the sensitive initial larval stage. (The Black Brook experience stopped just short of hatch.) The transition period from endogenous to exogenous feeding has long been known to be a critical time, and a match or mismatch with abundance of the right food organisms theoretically has a significant effect on survival. A group of researchers at the University of Maine in 1979 to 1983 found they could get larvae to feed on the cultured marine rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis . They also raised some on natural foods in ponds up to commercial baitfish size. They were not successful in getting them to switch over to an artificial commercial diet. The reference is "Experimental Culture of Young Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 114:596-603, 1985.

J. J. Newman is involved in experimental rearing of smelt. Last spring, I helped her catch some gravid adults that spawned in her tank and grew for a period of time in green water. I am sure she has ideas for you and for the fish farmers who are working with her on this experiment. I think we will be doing it again a couple of weeks after ice-out if the ice ever forms this year. She will probably figure it out, with a little help from her friends. She is good at networking with people in the know. I cannot wait to get some more experimental animals for her. I think we may take our own eggs this next time instead of just letting them do it themselves. It is a lot of fun. Oops, maybe that should just be between you and me. I have done it before, but I never tried to raise them myself .
Robert S. Fawcett


Aqua Treatment TM

The Natural Solution to Fish Water Pollution!

You can Save Money, Time and Trouble when you use Aqua Treatment in your growout water. Our heterotrophic microbes convert ammonia, fecal material and excess feed to a microbial protein that the fish can use as food. Imagine, converting waste material to food while improving water quality, that's true efficiency.

Water Shortage!

Rainfall has been low everywhere, so water reuse will be essential to a bountiful fish harvest. Here's the way Aqua Treatment can help you conserve and reuse your water.

Simple Treatment: Our heterotrophic microbes dine on nitrogen, carbon and oxygen. The nitrogen is supplied by the ammonia given off by the fish; carbon by the fecal material, excess feed and some added by the grower. Oxygen added to keep the fish healthy, will also supply our microbes.
Waste to Food: Our microbes convert ammonia, carbon and oxygen to a microbial protein. Normally ammonia would be converted to nitrite and to nitrate but with our microbes in place ammonia is converted to protein that is food for your fish.
No Filters: Our microbes grow in the water; no plating material is needed. The new course for ammonia eliminates the need for bio-filters and all the nitrification related equipment so your capital and operating costs are much lower.

Melvin Murrel, of Poling Aquaculture, has been using Aqua Treatment in his pond and tanks for the past year. Melvin says the water quality was so good that he didn't have to change water in his recalculation tanks during summer. The bullheads in his ponds grew faster on less feed and tasted better than fish without our microbes. His crawfish required no outer cleaning after harvest and had a more delicate flavor than those without microbial water.

Melvin would be happy to talk to you about his experience with our microbes; he can be reached by phone at 603-464-3799, or E-Mail: murrel@iamnow.net For more information about our microbes you can also call Bill at 800-772-3775 www.aquatreament.net Phone: 800-772-3775 Fax:401-683-6666 E-Mail: bill@aquatreatment.net