Federal funding for US aquaculture projects
Sea Grant has announced US$16 million in federal funding awards to support research projects and collaborative programmes aimed at advancing sustainable aquaculture in the United States.
The National Sea Grant College Programme was established by Congress in 1966 and works to create and maintain a healthy coastal environment and economy. The Sea Grant network is a federal/university partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and 33 university-based programmes.
“With our 2019 investments, we are building on investments by Sea Grant and NOAA over the last few years to fill critical gaps in information and strengthen connectivity of science to industry,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College Programme. “These investments will help advance US aquaculture in sustainable, thoughtful ways using the best science and talent across the country.”
The funding is concentrated in three areas, namely ten advanced aquaculture collaborative programmes focused on accelerating the development of specific aquaculture topics; sixteen projects exploring new aquaculture opportunities and another sixteen projects addressing critical gaps in social, behavioural and economic knowledge related to aquaculture and the communities served by it.
Meeting the demand for seafood
Sea Grant’s 2019 work builds on the foundation laid by recent investments from Sea Grant and NOAA and recipients must match 50% of their funding with non-federal funds. For the three funding opportunities combined, NOAA received 136 proposals requesting more than US$52 million in federal funds.
The US currently imports 85% of its seafood, resulting in a US$14 billion trade deficit. As consumption continues to rise, wild-caught fisheries alone cannot meet the seafood demands of the population. The economic benefit of Sea Grant’s investment in aquaculture in 2018 was US$65 million, including sustaining or creating 841 jobs and 345 businesses.
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