March 8, 2016

Sea Grant celebrates its 50th anniversary

On March 8, Sea Grant will celebrate its 50th anniversary. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed The National Sea Grant College Program Act, and today, that program reaches every coastal and Great Lakes state, as well as Puerto Rico and Guam.

Over the past 50 years, Sea Grant’s research, education and outreach activities have encompassed diverse issues relevant to local, regional, and national priorities, such as healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities and economies, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and environmental literacy and workforce development.

In 2010, 123.3 million people, or 39 percent, of the nation’s population lived in counties directly on the shoreline. Coastal economies are a driving force for the economy of the nation as a whole, and Sea Grant has become an important part of this sector. The program regularly creates or sustains an average of 9,300 jobs and 2,825 businesses each year, and it has also provided over 1,000 fellowships to John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellows.

By drawing on the expertise of more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, law and policy specialists, public outreach experts, communications professionals and educators from more than 300 institutions across the country, Sea Grant is unique in its ability to quickly transfer research to application.



The MIT Sea Grant College Program became the first Sea Grant College Program based at a private college in 1976, and over the past 40 years has brought the expertise of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to bear on ocean related challenges. To date, MIT Sea Grant has funded over 1,000 marine science research projects, produced more than 1,600 scientific and informal publications and established an internationally acclaimed autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) laboratory. Our Marine Advisory Services staff guides our science and technology transfer effort. In addition to creating education and outreach programs, the Marine Advisory staff conduct research and offer training and workshops in areas including climate adaptation, ecosystem services, the effects of policy change on fishing communities.

Through staff efforts and funding given to Massachusetts based researchers, MIT Sea Grant has boosted coastal economic development by fueling discoveries through research, training students, developing workforce, and engaging with stakeholders.

As the U.S. population continues to grow, the next 50 years will bring new environmental and economic challenges, and Sea Grant’s expertise and place-based support will become even more vital to America’s coasts.

Learn more about Sea Grant's 50th anniversary celebrations.

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