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Sea Grant announces $3.4M for aquaculture research and outreach projects

Silver Spring, MD — The National Sea Grant College Program announced $3.4 million in federal funding to support aquaculture research and outreach today. The funding, which leverages all federal dollars 2:1 with state matching funds, will support 11 aquaculture research projects and 23 projects to organize and conduct conferences and workshops to transfer aquaculture information. This announcement of competitive awards is part of Sea Grant’s overall effort to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable ocean, coastal and Great Lakes aquaculture.

New research projects totaling $3 million in federal funds include research on managing the complex profile of biotoxins threatening the shellfish industry of lower Chesapeake Bay, integrating mussel and long-line kelp structures and management in New Hampshire, and developing technologies to expand the supply of emerging marine finfish fingerlings for commercial offshore aquaculture systems among other topics. A complete list of the 11 aquaculture research projects funded in the 2016 competition is available.

“Sea Grant’s research on aquaculture continues to advance the field in promising and sustainable ways, and this latest round of aquaculture research grants is no exception,” said Jonathan Pennock, National Sea Grant Director. “I am particularly pleased that these projects will begin to address priorities identified in the 10-year vision for aquaculture recently developed by the Sea Grant network in conjunction with industry partners and management professionals.”

Outreach projects totaling $400,000 in federal funding will support conferences, workshops, training and technology transfer efforts focused on advancing aquaculture knowledge, management and collaboration. Projects include strengthening the network of fishpond practitioners in Hawaii, building collaboration among the aquaculture and fishing industries in California, and training shellfish aquaculturists in Connecticut among others.  A complete list of aquaculture conference and training projects funded in the 2016 competition is also available.

“An important and often overlooked area is going beyond research to integrate useable science into people’s everyday lives. The conferences and workshops funded this year will contribute to filling that gap,” commented Pennock.

For 50 years, Sea Grant has combined groundbreaking research on aquaculture with local outreach to transfer the latest technologies and techniques to aquaculturists. Sea Grant also provides training on aquaculture and, through its legal expertise, works with communities to inform policies related to aquaculture.

Sea Grant’s current priorities for aquaculture include 1) research to inform pending, regulatory decisions regarding aquaculture on the local, state or federal level leading to an information product—such as tool, technology, template or model—needed to make final decisions on a specific question; 2) research that supports the introduction and/or increase in production of new and emerging species of aquaculture interest; 3) research that supports continued seafood safety and product quality; and 4) social and/or economic research targeted to understand aquaculture issues in a larger context.

The $3.4 million in grants announced today is part of Sea Grant’s $9 million national aquaculture research and technology transfer portfolio in 2016. Additional components of the portfolio include ongoing aquaculture research efforts ($1.8M for 27 projects) and ongoing technology transfer and extension efforts ($3.1M) by Sea Grant universities and partners around the country.

Learn more about Sea Grant’s work on sustainable aquaculture.

Download the Sea Grant 10 year vision for aquaculture (or download the summary fact sheet).

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