Attendees at the first annual RAS-N workshop, held in Washburn, Wis., in December of 2019. An inset of Dr. Yonathan Zohar attended virtually (see inset).

Formalize a National Network

We will establish a national hub of aquaculture experts, industry partners and Sea Grant programs committed to building our regional and national capacity to support the emerging salmon recirculating aquaculture industry in the U.S. Inter-organizational leadership and work groups provide a mechanism for meeting network goals and objectives.

Gather Stakeholder Input

Each partnering region will gather stakeholder guidance, concerns, ideas, and associated input on gaps in technology, research needs, extension activities, outreach approaches, optimal use of available federal/state funding, and other pertinent topics. The network will collect input through workshops, meetings, surveys, and personal communications to inform and guide network activities, white paper topics, and roadmap development.

Identify Technological and Scientific Gaps and Prioritize Research to Address Bottlenecks

Expanding on stakeholder input, the network will design surveys to identify and prioritize technological and scientific gaps that constrain the industry. RAS-N is not a research platform, but through this process (and its inherent reach to the community of U.S. stakeholders), it can recommend research and development focuses and funding priorities that will best support the Atlantic salmon RAS aquaculture sector. The network will review industry needs to better understand bottlenecks and how to improve industry development, which will guide and support research programs of federal and state agencies, RAS-N partners, collaborators and other research institutions or industry.

Analyze Economic Viability of Atlantic Salmon RAS

A team of economists collaborating with extension, research and industry partners will develop a comprehensive economic analysis of Atlantic salmon RAS. Led by experienced economists from Morgan State University’s PEARL facility and integrating federal, state and private sector experts, this group will generate a thorough report on data collected from economic simulation models to inform the investment community.

Develop a ‘Concept Paper’ on Building Capacity for Atlantic Salmon RAS Production

Experts from industry, academia and federal agencies will provide background on Atlantic salmon production practices, review the state of RAS technology analyze economic feasibility, and examine knowledge and technology gaps and future needs. Partners will prioritize industry needs and assess strategies for improving workforce development, topical education and public engagement. A final draft of the Concept Paper is available here.

Undertake Public Outreach and Workforce Development Efforts

Sea Grant collaborators will work closely with industry and the public to integrate hands-on training opportunities, educational and technical workshops and other programs relevant to sustainable RAS concepts and technologies. Industry needs will drive this process and all efforts will build public awareness about RAS-produced salmon and address specialized skills necessary to support future industry growth.

Use Demonstration Projects to Introduce and Experience Innovative Ideas

Collaborators will introduce approaches and innovations of sustainable RAS in the U.S.

Projects can address one or more of the following:

  • Demonstration of available or experimental RAS designs and technologies
  • Research programs addressing specific needs and areas of concern outlined by industry partners
  • Outreach programs targeting the public and K-12 education
  • Career and workforce development programs, technical workshops and training opportunities

Develop a Strategic Plan/Roadmap for Atlantic Salmon RAS in the U.S.

Collaborators will host annual workshops, events, and demonstration projects over three years for initial identification of constraints to land-based Atlantic salmon aquaculture. The road map will assess needs and outline a strategy to better inform policy makers, federal agencies, and industry on future resource allocation and action plans for Atlantic salmon RAS in the U.S.

Work Groups

The activities of RAS-N are carried out by several work groups, described below.


The Communications Work Group brings together specialists from the Sea Grant programs in Maine, Maryland, and Wisconsin. Members work to provide the latest information about RAS-N by writing articles and web content highlighting partnership efforts, workshops, outreach events and more. That content will be shared through the RAS-N website, the websites and social media channels of the individual Sea Grant programs, press releases and other means. This work group will also engage with aquaculture industry publications to reach a broader audience.

Chair: Jennifer Smith (Wisconsin Sea Grant)

Members: Emma Wiermaa (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility/Wisconsin Sea Grant), Lisa Tossey (Maryland Sea Grant), William Hubbard (Maryland Sea Grant), Hannah Robbins (Maine Sea Grant), and Catherine Frederick (University of Maryland Extension)


The Economic Analysis Work Group is comprised of members who specialize in business economic analyses related to aquaculture or have industry experience with Atlantic salmon RAS production. Our industry partners provide input on best approaches for assessing the industry to our team of economists. The economists, in turn, conduct business analyses using hypothetical firms that reflect standard production volumes for on-land salmon production using RAS technology. Data gained from these analyses help inform current and future investors and industry stakeholders on capital and operational attributes.

Chairs: Scott Knoche and Kaitlynn Richie (Morgan State University PEARL [Patuxent Environmental & Aquatic Research Laboratory])

Members: Chris Hlubb (Salmo), Brian Vinci (Freshwater Institute), William Hubbard (University of Maryland/Maryland Sea Grant), Matt Parker (Maryland Sea Grant), Doug Lipton (NOAA Fisheries), and Jonathan van Senten (Virginia Tech)


The Education, Career, and Workforce Development (ECWD) Work Group is forming and streamlining a K-12 education to workforce pipeline that will connect non-formal and formal programs to a stronger workforce development plan. This plan will identify multiple entry points for skill development and training. Small-scale and pilot programs are managed by members of our ECWD Work Group, and individuals from industry partners provide input on how programs can best fit their workforce needs. Successful models from Sea Grant partners will be integrated into other Sea Grant programs. Examples include the Aquaculture in Action program (Maryland Sea Grant), aquaculture workforce development programs (Maine Sea Grant and the University of Maine Aquaculture Research Institute), and partnerships for workforce-based internships programs between University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and industry.

Chairs: J. Adam Frederick (Maryland Sea Grant) and M. Scarlett Tudor (University of Maine Aquaculture Research Institute)

Members: Sarah Cook (Skretting) and Emma Wiermaa (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility/Wisconsin Sea Grant)


The Extension Work Group enables the transfer of technical information related to Atlantic salmon RAS to industry partners. Members of Extension are experienced with identifying industry needs and partnering with stakeholders and public audiences to address those needs. Information is shared through printed publications, meetings, workshops, and online platforms. The work group also conducts surveys to better understand the needs and priorities of the industry; information provided to Extension is compiled and integrated within RAS-N action plans. The aim is to ensure that knowledge gained through research, education, and input is used to assist the industry in its development.

Chair: William Hubbard (University of Maryland/Maryland Sea Grant)

Members: Chris Bartlett (Maine Sea Grant), Laura Rickard (University of Maine), John Davidson (Freshwater Institute), Kathleen Hartman (USDA-APHIS), Emma Wiermaa (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility/Wisconsin Sea Grant), and Catherine Frederick (University of Maryland Extension)


The Research Work Group is comprised of industry leaders, researchers and experts knowledgeable about the current status of Atlantic salmon RAS production in the U.S. This work group provides guidance and input on available technologies, future needs, gaps in knowledge, performance bottlenecks, and funding resources for research and development. The aim of the Research Work Group is to clarify priorities, opportunities, and challenges in RAS in workshop sessions, through white paper publications, and with circulating stakeholder surveys.

Chair: Brian Peterson (USDA-ARS)

Members: Yoni Zohar (Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County / Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology), Steve Summerfelt (Superior Fresh), Bill Keleher (Kennebec River BioSciences), Chris Good (Freshwater Institute), Jason Mann (Riverence), Jesse Trushenski (Riverence), and Greg Fischer (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility)


Members of Wisconsin Sea Grant lead the Web Development Work Group, working closely with the Project Management Team, which generates and gathers content. Wisconsin has a cohesive team with expertise in web development, graphic design, science writing and content strategy. The RAS-N website is a key piece of the network’s overall communications strategy, and this work group will make information available to industry audiences and the public through a clearly organized, visually appealing website.

Members: Yael Gen (Wisconsin Sea Grant), Tom Xiong (Wisconsin Sea Grant), Jennifer Smith (Wisconsin Sea Grant), Catherine Frederick (University of Maryland Extension), Emma Wiermaa (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility/Wisconsin Sea Grant), and John Stubblefield (University of Maryland Baltimore City-IMET)

Photo credit for header photo at top: Narayan Mahon, taken at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility.