Chris Oliver backs US aquaculture efforts as NOAA Fisheries awards grants
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded USD 9.3 million (EUR 8 million) in grants for 32 projects to advance the development of a “sustainable marine and coastal aquaculture industry in the U.S.,” according to the agency.
The grants were backed by a statement made by Chris Oliver, head of NOAA Fisheries, supporting marine aquaculture in the United States. In a message posted on his agency’s website, Oliver called aquaculture “a resource-efficient method of increasing and diversifying U.S. seafood production that can expand and stabilize U.S. seafood supply in the face of environmental change and economic uncertainty.”
“Around the nation in many fishing and coastal communities, aquaculture is creating important economic opportunities and year-round employment,” Oliver said.
The grants were awarded through two aquaculture funding competitions to help spur the development and growth of shellfish, finfish, and seaweed aquaculture businesses. All projects include public-private partnerships and will be led by university-based Sea Grant programs.
The grant recipients included Florida Sea Grant and the University of Miami, which were awarded more than USD 967,000 (EUR 836,100) for their project: “Technology for Commercial Scale Hatchery and Nursery Production of High Value Marine Fish Seedstock.”
Another project, “Sustainable Post-harvest Processing and Value-addition of Aquaculture Seaweed,” led by the Maine Sea Grant and the University of Maine, was granted more than $908,000 (EUR 833,000).
Between February 2016 and January 2017, Sea Grant invested USD 9 million in aquaculture research, technology transfer, and outreach and reported USD 90 million (EUR 78 million) in economic impact, including support of 900 businesses and 1,800 jobs.
In 2015, farmed seafood accounted for 20 percent of total domestic seafood production, according to NOAA. U.S. aquaculture producers raised 41 million pounds of salmon, 33 million pounds of oysters, and 10 million pounds of clams in 2015.