Aquaculture supports a large sportfishing industry in Minnesota. Licensed fish farms that hatch and (or) harvest minnows or gamefish are located throughout the State. The volume of water used in these operations can be expressed as the minimum capacity per pound of fish, total water consumed, total water dedicated to the farming operation, or total water withdrawn. In expressing water dedicated to the farming operation, the total surface area of water bodies dedicated to aquaculture in Minnesota in 1984 was about 141,500 acres, based on interpretation of data reported in license applications. Water withdrawals to fish holding tanks amounted to 0.73 million gallons per day in 1984. Water-use calculations address the possibility of errors in reporting. About 15 percent of the licensees use municipally supplied water for their holding tanks. One thermoelectric powerplant recently began reusing the heated water from its cooling towers to raise catfish. Little change in the number of licensees since 1980 -indicates that aquaculture is a viable segment of the Minnesota economy. Trout farming has grown from 10 farms in 1978, to 23 in 1984; most use dug ponds sustained by ground-water inflow. Withdrawals for aquaculture are nonconsumptive and are small compared to other water-use categories in Minnesota.
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U.S. Geological Survey
Minnesota Water Research Digital Library