US agency outlines Alaska aquaculture growth plan
Although finfish farming remains illegal in Alaskan waters, the US agency responsible for fisheries and the environment, NOAA, has said it is ready to help the state expand its non-finfish aquaculture sector.
The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) statement suggests there is potential for growth in Alaska’s seaweed and shellfish sectors.
The NOAA has unveiled a blueprint for growth and says it is working with the Alaska Fisheries Science Centre to co-ordinate efforts to support what is a growing industry.
NOAA says: “The Alaskan aquaculture industry is in a period of growth, and many local, state and federal efforts are focused on supporting this developing industry.
“Aquaculture can be beneficial both to local communities and the environment, boosting coastal economies and providing habitat to marine organisms.
“NOAA Fisheries promotes scientific research and economic development that can sustainably advance the growth of the Alaskan aquaculture industry.”
The NOAA Fisheries Alaska Aquaculture Program has been engaged in a variety of projects over the last year, each of which aligns with NOAA’s recently released five year strategy plan. NOAA said its principles include:
- Manage Sustainably and Efficiently
- Lead Science for Sustainability
- Educate and Exchange Information
The statement added: “NOAA Fisheries supports cutting-edge research, as well as policy-making and regulation. We work closely with partners to improve and expand opportunities to promote sustainable marine production of shellfish and seaweed in Alaska.”
The NOAA’s Alaska Aquaculture Programme has just released its 2023 Aquaculture Accomplishments Report which has prioritised 10 out of 17 objectives listed in the five year plan which are diverse in both scope and design.
Oyster cultivation and seaweed and kelp production are listed as among the key components of Alaska’s aquaculture development.