NOAA Sea Grant Awards $1.9 Million for New Aquaculture Projects
Sea Grant continues to support advancements in aquaculture
The NOAA Sea Grant College Program is announcing new grants totaling $1.9 million, for 15 competitively selected projects supporting the development of environmentally and economically sustainable ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes aquaculture. Through university, state and other partnerships, Sea Grant Programs will supplement the federal funding with an additional $1.1 million in non-federal matching funds, bringing the total investment to about $3 million for new national projects in 2015. These new projects center on extension and technology transfer of aquaculture tools and concepts, and complement the aquaculture research projects selected in 2014.
Hatchery-raised juvenile mahi-mahi. Image: Florida Sea Grant.
The U.S. imports over 90 percent of the seafood we consume, over half of that is farm-raised or aquaculture. Current estimates of U.S. aquaculture production, both freshwater and marine, are valued at $1.2 billion in the most recent annual report. This represents 6 percent of domestic seafood landings by weight and 20 percent of domestic seafood landings by value.
"These projects will help Sea Grant support the U.S. aquaculture industry and provide assistance with tools to be competitive in the marketplace," said Kola Garber, Ph.D., Acting Director for the National Sea Grant College Program. "Each project is required to have a local partner to ensure that the needs of their aquaculture community are being met."
Sea Grant has been involved in research to support sustainable aquaculture since its inception in 1966. This year's grants competition was devoted to aquaculture extension and technology transfer projects, and will support Sea Grant activities around the country in such areas as:
providing technical education, assistance, and advice to aquaculturists and the aquaculture industry to help further aquaculture activities that are safe, sustainable, and economically viable;
assisting the states and commercial industry in applying best scientific knowledge and stakeholder involvement toward decisions on regulation, state assistance and permitting; and
educating the public on the quality and sustainability of aquacultured seafood.
For a full list of funded projects click here.
Aquaculture structures. Image: Washington Sea Grant.
Sea Grant is a federal-private partnership of 33 programs based at top research universities in every coastal and Great Lakes state as well as Puerto Rico and Guam. Sea Grant leverages federal, academic, and industry partners to support the demand for increased efficiency and increased yield in the aquaculture industry. Sea Grant continues to invest in high-priority aquaculture research and engage communities through its integrated outreach program, bringing together the collective expertise of on-the-ground extension agents, educators and communicators to support the development and integrations of new aquaculture technologies.