Study says education key for US aquaculture growth
A new study shows that a general understanding and acceptance of farmed marine foods by the American public is key to growing the US aquaculture industry.
The research from the University of Maine reveals that many Americans know very little about the industry stalling its progress, but that this could be changed with strategic consumer education.
The study led by UMaine researchers was led by assistant professor of economics Caroline Noblet and assistant professor of risk communication Laura Rickard, was designed and implemented to better understand how to create a more sustainable aquaculture industry.
“One of the things that there is a lot of curiosity about relates to how much people actually know about aquaculture,” Ms Noblet said.
“It’s been 20 or 30 years since the industry was first introduced here and things have really evolved. We wanted to take a closer look at that.”
Data from the survey also revealed a need for targeted efforts to address knowledge gaps in various demographic groups, including people who are older, have less education and live in landlocked states.
The survey showed that interest and engagement with aquaculture increases in communities with high rates of seafood consumption.
Participants expressed a desire to learn more about aquaculture and seemed, for the most part, open to expansion within the industry, as long as it doesn’t affect other coastal recreation activities.
This work, part of SEANET’s ongoing aquaculture research, is funded by the National Science Foundation and Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.
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