Board of Directors


Bill Lynch


William (Bill) Lynch received his B.S. and Master’s Degrees from The Ohio State University in Fisheries Management in 1980 and 1982, respectively. During his 30 years at OSU, Bill participated in a wide variety of research projects during his 18 years in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, including wetlands, reservoir and riverine management, and aquaculture. He also spent 12 years as an Aquatic Ecosystem Management Specialist with the OSU Extension program, helping private pond, lake, and wetland owners properly manage their water bodies. In 2007-2012, Bill was the University’s lead educator on Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB’s) occurring throughout Ohio, educating both public and private water pond and lake managers on HAB’s causes, health threats to humans, and remedial actions to control and prevent blooms. 

 Bill retired from OSU in 2012 but has remained active, particularly in aquaculture. Bill started his yellow perch pond culture facility in 2001 and sells all sizes of perch to pond and lake management companies. Bill is currently President of the Ohio Aquaculture Association. He also chairs the Industry Advisory Council of the USDA’s North Central Regional Aquaculture Center and serves on the Center’s Board of Directors. Bill still actively teaches and does 20-25 aquaculture presentations annually in Ohio and other north central states on yellow perch, water quality and disease prevention, aquaculture BMP’s, marketing, sustainability, pond management, and aquaculture cooperatives. 

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Jeni Blackburn

Vice President

As a Trustee on the Ohio Aquaculture Association's Board, Jeni serves to represent aquaponics for the Association. In June of 2011, Jeni and her husband, Doug, established Fresh Harvest Farm, a commercial greenhouse aquaponic farm. The farm currently has three large greenhouses containing three separate aquaponics systems; growing out tens of thousands of yellow perch, kale, and heads of lettuce annually. Their goal is to not only grow and sell perch and produce, but also to educate others about sustainable agriculture and the benefits of fresh, local, and chemical-free food that can be grown. As well as frequently hosting tours of their farm, Jeni often speaks to community groups, school classes, and regularly presents at workshops for the OAA, OSU and other organizations and universities. Prior to the OAA, Jeni served as Secretary of the National Aquaponics Association for four years.

In addition to serving as CEO for Fresh Harvest Farm, Jeni has worked at a local, private, independent all-girls school for the past 18 years in various roles. She holds a BA in Human Resource Management from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio.

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Dave Smith


Dr. Dave Smith, Ph.D. is an environmental and aquaculture scientist with degrees in aquatic biology (BS, Ohio State Univ.), marine sciences (MS, Louisiana St. Univ.) and nutritional sciences (Ph.D., Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison). He has 30+ years of hands-on experience in commercial aquaculture, was the first president of the Ohio Aquaculture Association (11 years as President, and another 16 years as a board member). He has been active in advisory, legislative and research activities for aquaculture in Ohio and the 12-state North Central Region, as well as testifying before Congress three times on behalf of national aquaculture programs. Dr. Dave is a native of Champaign County, living on the fish farm he founded and three generations of his family have operated since 1983 as Freshwater Farms of Ohio.

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Renee Koerner


Renee spent most of her career in the wine and food business working with some of the finest restaurants and wine companies in the Midwest. Several years ago she became enchanted with the idea of producing caviar. Now she is the Principal with Big Fish Farms, one of the first domestic, free-range caviar producers and a pioneer in low-impact, sustainable aquaculture. Big Fish Farms' innovative network of "reservoir ranches" provides its indigenous paddlefish with protected natural environments from hatch to harvest, producing caviar of outstanding quality and taste.

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Ashtyn Chen


Shortly after graduating from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Biochemical Engineering, Ashtyn started The Ocean’s Friend Aquaculture, LLC (TOFA for short) with his parents, all while working full-time as a Chemical Engineer in industry during the week. TOFA was the first commercial saltwater shrimp facility in Ohio, established in 2015 in Gratiot, Ohio.

Ashtyn knows it’s an honor to serve both on the OAA Board and on the Ohio Aquaculture Cooperative Committee. In addition to promoting the growth of his own personal work he knows it is a necessity to promote the growth of the Ohio Aquaculture Association, fellow aquaculture producers (and potential producers), and the entire aquaculture industry. In that light, please feel free to contact him.


Chris Kirk


Chris Kirk graduated from Eastern Kentucky University. As fish production manager for Jones Fish Hatchery, he oversees all fish-related activities, including fish inventory levels and daily delivery orders. Currently, Chris serves on the board of directors for the Ohio Aquaculture Association.


Mark Remlinger


Mark was born in the mid '50s to two wonderful people, Dolores and Carl. Mark graduated high school in 1973, and went on to a factory job where he spent 35 years. Mark's parents operated a small grain farm business which he helped operate. In the late '80s, they decided to get involved in fish farming. Carl investigated the opportunity and found an ad by Dr. Dave Smith of Freshwater Farms. Dr. Dave assisted the Remlingers in getting started. While Dolores and Carl have since passed away,  Remlinger Fish Farm is still family run. It is currently operated by Mark, his brother Bruce, and their brother-in-law Kurt Utrup. Remlinger Fish Farm currently raises largemouth bass for food andpond stocking in the spring, as well as selling aeration, chemical, fountains and other products for pond maintenance. You can find visit Remlinger Fish Farm online here.


Bob Calala

Former President

Bob Calala and his family have operated an aquaculture facility since 1963. Calala's Water Haven sits on 132 acres; 90 of which is in water comprising 60 individual ponds. They possess 20,000 gallons of indoor recirculating systems, long with flow-through and other holding facilities. Bob raises large and small mouth bass, yellow perch, golden shiners, fathead minnows, trap door snails, mosquito fish, crayfish and freshwater prawn. Calala's Water Haven is the only freshwater prawn nursery in Ohio.

Bob served as the president of the Ohio Aquaculture Association for 12 years. He has also served on several state local and national advisory panels dealing with aquaculture.

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Alycia Brehm

Executive Director

Alycia attended Ohio University and graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology.  While working at OSU's Stone Lab on Lake Erie in 2002, she met her husband, Matt Brehm.  Matt and his father Jim run Brehm's Perch Farm in West Liberty, Ohio, and is where Alycia was introduced to the aquaculture world.  Brehm's Perch Farm is a small, family business where Alycia and Matt, along with their two sons, James and Gabe, get to raise and harvest yellow perch.

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Matthew A. Smith

Ex-Officio Board member

Matthew started as the Extension Aquaculture Specialist for the Ohio State University (OSU) in the spring of 2016. He is currently part of several regional committees and boards including being a member of the Extension Technical Committee for the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, Ohio Aquatic Invasive Species Committee member, and an Ohio Aquaculture Association ex-officio board member. His national service includes being a member of the National Aquaculture Association’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee and an active member of World Aquaculture Society and U.S. Aquaculture Society for the last five years. In his OSU position, Matthew has spent a considerable time on fish farms learning about the Ohio industry, transferring the latest technology, and working towards expanding and streamlining their operations through diversifying markets and applied on-farm commercial scale trials. In Ohio he has sought and received several externally grant funded projects for both applied research and Extension/outreach activities. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries Management from Auburn University and his Master’s in Aquaculture and Fisheries from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. If you’re a farmer and want to chat one-on-one with Matthew then feel free to contact him anytime at 256.458.0967 (cell) or by email. For those interested in learning more about aquaculture then visit their website.