USDA funds four university projects researching aquaculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced four grants totaling USD 1.2 million (EUR 1.13 million) to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture in the United States.
The grants will support research taking place at universities across the United States, according to a USDA press release. The funds were awarded through the Aquaculture Research Program authorized by the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grants Act, administered by NIFA.
A project Michigan State University received USD 307,869 (EUR 289,652) to identify strains of a common bacteria that threaten farmed rainbow trout as a step toward improved disease prevention and control.
Researchers at Virginia Tech received USD 275,887 (EUR 259,562) to compare profitability of both pond and recirculating-water commercial business models.
An Auburn University project that will evaluate and optimize the economics, fish and plant biology, and food safety aspects of a high-yield aquaponics system that utilizes fish waste to generate additional revenue was the recipient of a USD 326,250 (EUR 306,891) grant.
And researchers at the State University of New York, Stony Brook were granted USD 326,963 (EUR 307,562) to study how to use molecular genetics techniques to identify disease-resistant clam germlines to help improve commercial shellfish stocks.
The program grants are intended to “support the development of a globally competitive and profitable U.S. aquaculture industry through investments that help improve domestic aquaculture production efficiency, sustainability, safety, marketing, and information sharing, as well as access to global science-based information and advanced technologies,” according to the release.
“In 2015, Americans spent USD 96 billion (EUR 90.3 billion) on seafood, but only a small portion of that was produced by U.S. aquaculture,” NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy said. “To meet the growing demand for this healthy source of protein, NIFA investments are helping enhance U.S. aquaculture production to promote both economic opportunities and a safe, reliable domestic seafood source.”