Aquaculturist holding oysters (Photo: North Carolina Sea Grant)

December 8, 2023 (Amara Davis, National Sea Grant Announcement)—Globally, aquaculture plays a significant role in seafood production, accounting for more than half of all seafood consumed by humans. In the U.S., aquaculture is increasing in importance and for over 50 years, Sea Grant has been a leader in promoting safe, strategic and sustainable aquaculture through research, education and extension. Whether it’s studying the scientific and social aspects of aquaculture or providing training and community support, Sea Grant’s efforts bring people together around American seafood.

In fiscal year 2023, Sea Grant invested $14 million in federal funding to support several new initiatives, including the Aquaculture Economics and Markets Collaborative, Aquaculture Technologies and Education Awards, Aquaculture Supplemental Awards and the previously announced Seafood Industry Workforce Development Awards. In addition, fiscal year 2023 investments supported the continuation of Early Stage Propagation Strategies for Aquaculture Species AwardsMarine Finfish Aquaculture Juvenile Production Technologies AwardsAdvanced Aquaculture Collaboratives, and the Aquaculture Information Exchange.

“Developing and supporting aquaculture science and technology is a key component of Sea Grant’s work. Our investments and partnerships strategically address a variety of challenges in the industry and demonstrate a continued commitment to supporting sustainable American aquaculture.” – Jonathan Pennock, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program Director

Sea Grant Aquaculture Supplemental Awards

Sea Grant provided $4.36 million in federal funding in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 for 28 aquaculture projects to support a range of aquaculture activities at Sea Grant programs focused on local priorities, including aquaculture extension, education or communication activities; a joint regional aquaculture research competition; a joint regional (or topical) aquaculture extension position; competitive exploratory aquaculture Program Development funds; and to support existing staff to expand their aquaculture activities.

MIT Sea Grant received $93,648 in federal funding to provide insights that may improve the domestic market for seafood, in particular, identifying ways to engage underrepresented communities who consume higher than average rates of seafood but do not engage with local producers for their seafood needs. These funds will support a pilot program bringing together engineering students and aquaculture producers to develop robotic interventions for industry challenges. This program will advance the aquaculture industry while training the next generation of aquaculture engineers.

>>View all projects and the full National Sea Grant Announcement

Aquaculture Economics and Markets Collaborative

In fiscal year 2023, Sea Grant established the Aquaculture Economics and Markets Collaborative through a competitive funding opportunity. Virginia Sea Grant was awarded $998,920 in federal funds over two years to establish the collaborative, which will focus on advancing and enhancing aquaculture economics and marketing research and extension services. The project scope includes creating an economics and marketing portal, conducting assessments, developing data resources, providing training and building partnerships to strengthen the economic impact of the aquaculture industry. It also provides opportunities for junior faculty and graduate students to gain experience in multi-faceted research and extension projects. >>View the projects

Aquaculture Technologies and Education Awards

In fiscal year 2023, as part of the Aquaculture Technologies and Education Travel Grants competitive funding opportunity, Sea Grant invested $289,457 in six one-year projects at Sea Grant programs to support domestic or international travel activities of aquaculture researchers, extension personnel and industry members to facilitate knowledge exchange and expertise towards enhancing coastal, Great Lakes and marine-focused aquaculture. >>View the projects

>>Read the full National Sea Grant Announcement