News, WSG News Blog, Aquaculture

Sea Grant Announces 2018 Aquaculture Research Awards

October 17, 2018

NOAA Sea Grant announced the award of $11 million in grants for 22 projects to further advance the development of a sustainable marine and coastal aquaculture industry in the U.S.

Washington Sea Grant is pleased to receive funding for one of the 22 projects titled: Consumer-focused strategies for understanding market acceptance of domestic finfish aquaculture

Although finfish aquaculture has advanced its methods and addressed many legitimate public concerns, throughout the US, and Washington State in particular, the current public perception of farmed finfish is largely negative. Such perceptions may impact the ability of this $1.3 billion-dollar domestic aquaculture industry to grow. This study will examine effective ways to communicate health benefits and environmental safety of domestic finfish aquaculture to the public by engaging University of Washington researchers, Washington Sea Grant, US aquaculture producers, seafood industry organizations, environmental NGOS, and professional marketing firms.

All the research funded will address specific priorities of the 2018 Sea Grant National Aquaculture Initiative including, supporting the development of emerging systems or technologies that will advance aquaculture in the U.S., developing and implementing actionable methods of communicating accurate, science based information about the benefits and risks of U.S. marine aquaculture to the public; and increasing the resiliency of aquaculture systems to natural hazards and changing conditions. The projects, which will be conducted over a three year period, include a 50% match by non-federal partners. One hundred proposals were submitted requesting a total in $48 million in federal grant funds.

Sea Grant’s investment in aquaculture research, outreach and education programs continues to produce results for coastal communities and their economies. Between February 2017 and January 2018, Sea Grant invested $11 million in aquaculture research, with additional funds and resources dedicated to outreach and technology transfer, and reported $78 million in economic impacts, including support of 792 businesses and 1,387 jobs.

As part of the Department of Commerce, NOAA facilitates the growing uses of and demands on our ocean resources. One of the most urgent opportunities in the “Blue Economy” is the need to expand sustainable seafood production in the U.S. —both through the better utilization of our wild-capture fisheries and the expansion of marine aquaculture. To learn more, view the announcement on the NOAA website.

See some of the impacts resulting from Sea Grant-funded aquaculture research and learn more about aquaculture in the U.S.