COLUMBIA, Mo. – Ninety percent of the U.S. seafood supply is imported, mostly from China and Southeast Asia. Around 25% of U.S. wild-caught fish are exported to Asia for processing and then reimported to the U.S.

“Adapting improved fish and shrimp production technologies offers significant opportunity for Missouri farmers to profit from farm-raised fish and seafood,” says David Brune, aquaculture specialist and extension professor at the University of Missouri.

One major advantage of modern production technology is the reduction or elimination of threats to local streams and groundwater. Much of the global seafood supply is grown in environmentally unsustainable ways. MU Aquaculture and Fisheries Extension can guide farmers toward cost-effective seafood production using indoor, climate-controlled recirculating aquaculture systems with zero discharge of water or waste to the environment, Brune says.

Because of the increased cost of such productions systems, farmers will need to sell directly to consumers to capture the profit margin of the wholesale/retail chain, he says. That means farmers must also be prepared to bear the costs related to direct sales, including processing, holding, packaging, transport and advertising.

There is great potential for Missouri farmers to capture profits when selling directly to consumers, Brune says, but the key is to “start small.”

Brune and the MU Extension team have created videos and slide sets to highlight opportunities for aquaculture in Missouri and the technology that can help ventures succeed:

Importance of aquaculture

Overview of aquaculture economics

Aquaculture technology

Expanding Missouri aquaculture can help Missouri reach MU Agriculture and Environment Extension’s goal of sustainably doubling the value of Missouri agriculture by 2030. For more information, contact David Brune at 573-882-0689. Learn more about MU Aquaculture and Fisheries Extension at

Agriculture and Environment Extension is a partnership between MU Extension and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.