Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Sea Grant Projects Provide $3.3M in Support of Seafood Industry Workforce Development

NOAA Sea Grant is pleased to announce the selection of 10 projects through two competitions aimed at bolstering workforce development efforts in both the wild-caught fisheries and aquaculture sectors. 

The FY2023 Young Fishermen’s Career Development Projects competition was offered in direct response to the 2021 Young Fishermen’s Development Act. Three projects were selected through this competition in Alaska, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. NOAA is providing $976,215 in federal funding to support the projects, which also include 25% non-federal match. The competition received 14 proposals requesting a total of $4.7M in federal funding. 

The FY2023 Aquaculture Workforce Development Support Projects competition was open to all Sea Grant programs. Twelve proposals were received requesting $3.7M in federal funding. The seven selected projects will receive a total of $2.4M and will support aquaculture workforce projects in California, Connecticut, Hawaiʻi, American Samoa, Guam, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Washington. 

“Supporting the training and development of seafood professionals is a priority for Sea Grant and a key component of ensuring sustainable U.S. fisheries and aquaculture,” said Jonathan Pennock, Director of the national Sea Grant College Program. “We look forward to seeing the positive impacts the 10 selected projects will have across the country.”

These two funding opportunities and the selected projects are examples of the work Sea Grant does to support Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture. Sea Grant’s fisheries portfolio includes national and local fisheries research, technical assistance and support to fishermen by Sea Grant extension agents, and education and training programming offered by each of the 34 Sea Grant programs. Sea Grant’s aquaculture portfolio includes a broad range of research and technical assistance efforts to inform the U.S. Great Lakes, coastal, and marine aquaculture, including knowledge exchange hubs, technical research, social science, and resources for new business owners. 

Project Descriptions

Young Fishermen’s Career Development Projects

AK On-Board: Young Fisherman Training and Apprentice Program
Alaska Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Gabe Dunham

The AK On-Board commercial fisherman training project (AK On-Board) will combine expertise and tried-and-true training methods from programs led by Alaska Sea Grant, the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, to provide regional training and mentorship opportunities for aspiring commercial fishermen. Applied skills training will give new crewmembers the basic technical and safety skills to be competent and professional on the water. Apprenticeships will facilitate professional relationships between new crew and experienced captains to share valuable experience. Networking opportunities will create cohorts of aware stakeholders with the knowledge to successfully engage in the fishery management process.

From the Dock to the Deck to the Wheelhouse: Developing Skilled Fishermen in New England through Three Early Career Stages
Fishing Partnership Health Plan Corporation, Principal Investigator: Daniel Orchard, (Massachusetts)

This regional collaborative project will allow young fishermen in New England to receive critical vocational training as they enter the industry, develop into competent deckhands, and transition to the wheelhouse as captains. Over the last few years, each project partner developed a successful but relatively new training program that trains young fishermen through one of their early career stages. Through this project, partners will collaborate to expand their training programs so that fishermen in each state can access each training stage. The fishing community is an active participant in curriculum development and implementation, ensuring that the training is relevant, hands-on, and progressively structured. 

A Next-Gen Seafood Industry: Implementing Career-Development Programming in the Southeast Region Through Public-Private Partnerships
North Carolina Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Sara Mirabilio

The project will allow for the implementation of near-term action items from the South Atlantic Planning Framework developed by Sea Grant programs in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia in FY21-23. Planning framework stakeholders identified safety skills, among other topics, including liability, financial literacy, business management, and marketing, as essential for a skilled seafood industry workforce. The overarching project goal is to increase the number of skilled individuals that are able and encouraged to enter career paths that support all facets of supplying high-quality seafood to consumers. The project team will market training activities to recruit underrepresented groups to the seafood industry, addressing historical barriers to entering these career paths.

Aquaculture Workforce Development Projects

Designing and launching a community college aquaculture workforce development program to help ready Southern California for a growing aquaculture industry
California Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Theresa Talley

This project will design a community college aquaculture workforce development certificate program (with credits transferable to an Associate’s Degree) to help ready the San Diego region, and Southern California more generally, for a growing aquaculture industry. Specifically, the project will 1) establish an Aquaculture Program Advisory Committee (AquaPAC) consisting of aquaculture interests and faculty, leadership and staff from project partner, MiraCosta College, who will inform the development and implementation of the program; 2) conduct an Industry Training Priority Needs Assessment; 3) conduct a Workforce Development Program SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis; 4) develop the Workforce Development Program Structure; 5) conduct an On-site Training Facility Options Analysis; and 6) pilot the program. 

Connecticut Aquaculture Workforce Development Strategy
Connecticut Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Tessa Getchis

This project seeks to prepare the next generation of aquaculture farmers and supporting sectors by establishing more transparent, comprehensive, and accessible pathways for post-secondary aquaculture education and training in Connecticut. Activities will include performing a needs assessment for aquaculture workforce development in Connecticut and outreach and education.

Enhancing and Promoting Aquaculture Workforce Development in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific
Hawaiʻi Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Anne Rosa

This project seeks to increase participation and support the development of a diverse aquaculture workforce by providing internship, training, and education and outreach opportunities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region (American Samoa and Guam) to support the aquaculture and seafood sector needs of these communities. Four types of internship programs will be implemented for students and community members at academic institutions, aquaculture businesses and nonprofits that will provide training, skill and knowledge acquisition, and experience in aquaculture in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region. 

Extending and Integrating Aquaculture Workforce Development Between Communities
MIT Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Michael Triantafyllou

MIT Sea Grant, in collaboration with Woods Hole Sea Grant/Barnstable County Cooperative Extension, seeks to develop a pilot aquaculture internship program that pulls together recruits from a diversity of communities that often do not interact. The program will include a training phase consisting of online and in-person training for the intern cohort, followed by a period of short experiences with a variety of shellfish farms or related businesses. These engagements will give interns a feel for the industry and allow host sites to meet the recruits. Following training, interested businesses will hire interns, and the program will enter an evaluation phase to assess the efficacy in improving workforce development for shellfish aquaculture in Massachusetts.

Expanding the New Jersey Apprenticeship in Shellfish Aquaculture Program (ASAP)
New Jersey Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Diana Burich

This project seeks to introduce high school students to aquaculture as a career choice in an effort to foster a skilled workforce to support and meet the needs of New Jersey’s growing and vibrant aquaculture sector. Activities include the development of core aquaculture workforce skills through a week-long shellfish aquaculture “bootcamp,” providing opportunities for high school students to gain hands-on experience in the aquaculture field through placement on local shellfish farms for a paid eight-week apprenticeship, and supporting student apprentices with biweekly cohort meeting and networking opportunities.

Developing a Commercial Seafood Workforce Training Program in South Carolina
South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, Principal Investigator: Matt Gorstein

This project seeks to create a commercial fishing and aquaculture training program in McClellanville, South Carolina, to serve the Southeastern USA region. It directly builds off of two previously funded “Food From the Sea” Sea Grant Careers projects. Activities include co-developing a curriculum plan with a program steering committee; recruiting trainees; implementing a commercial fishing and aquaculture training program; and thoroughly evaluating the pilot program to facilitate adaptive management and incorporation of lessons learned for a second round and future iterations.

Tide’s Out: Shellfish Crew and Manager Training
Washington Sea Grant, Principal Investigator: Teri King

This project seeks to revive a previously successful crew training program by updating it to reflect current industry needs and adding a manager training component to equip employers with the necessary tools for recruiting and retaining a next-generation workforce. The project will provide the skills needed to be a successful farmhand through a crew training program; provide enhanced skills and resources for successfully recruiting and retaining a next-generation workforce through a manager training program; and evaluate the effectiveness of both programs in terms of employee recruitment and retention.


Related Posts
Four people install substrate for an oyster reef.

Biden-Harris Administration invests $60 million to build a climate-ready workforce through Investing in America agenda

Today, the Department of Commerce and NOAA announced $60 million in funding to help train and place people in jobs that advance a climate-ready workforce for coastal and Great Lakes states, Tribes and Territories as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda under the Inflation Reduction Act. To date, awards like these from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda have created more than 270,000 jobs across the country.

The funding will support nine projects around the nation, with $50 million going directly to the projects and $10 million for technical assistance to support the grantees.

Read More >

Sea Grant Aquaculture Academy in New Hampshire

Sea Grant aquaculture professionals from across the country convened in Portsmouth, NH in early April for a 4-day intensive “Sea Grant Aquaculture Academy” hosted by New Hampshire Sea Grant with support from North Carolina Sea Grant.

Read More >
Images of Sea Grant's work in research, education and extension provided by (from left to right) Wisconsin, Guam and Florida Sea Grant programs. Design by Hallee Meltzer | National Sea Grant Office.

Sea Grant takes center stage in Oceanography special issue

NOAA Sea Grant-funded research and work with coastal and Great Lakes communities across the nation are being highlighted in a special issue of “Oceanography,” the official journal of The Oceanography Society. 

This special issue, published in April 2024, features 36 articles contributed by Sea Grant authors across 29 programs and the NOAA National Sea Grant Office. 

Read More >
Scroll to Top