Don Leonard

Artemia Cyst Harvesting – Sustaining the Industry and the System

The Great Salt Lake ecosystem is a critical nesting, resting and staging site for millions of migratory birds, and an important resource for other avian species. It is also the world’s most important source of quality Artemia cysts (brine shrimp eggs), which are essential in aquaculture to help meet global protein production needs. The Great Salt Lake brine shrimp industry initiated and provided funding for the effort that resulted in the State of Utah’s successful resource management model for the brine shrimp resource. This sustainable model contributes to a healthy brine shrimp resource for both avian populations and for the brine shrimp industry, now and in the future. This presentation will provide a perspective of activities by the Great Salt Lake brine shrimp industry to preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and its brine shrimp resource, including the current successful, sustainable management model guiding the harvest of Artemia cysts. It will also discuss current and future plans to support the health and sustainability of this unique resource to assure its continuing contributions to global food security, to avian habitat, and to migratory shorebirds.

Don Leonard has served as President of the Utah Artemia Association, the brine shrimp industry trade association, for almost twenty years. During that time, he has served as an advocate for the Great Salt Lake ecosystem through numerous boards, committees and activities. He works as Chairman and CEO of Great Salt Lake Brine Shrimp Cooperative, Inc., a fully integrated cooperative that harvests, processes and markets Artemia cysts on behalf of its member companies. Don currently serves on the State’s Great Salt Lake Advisory Council, the Division of Water Quality’s Nutrient Core Team, the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands’ Great Salt Lake Technical Team, and on the Board of Friends of Antelope Island.
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