THE body which oversees fishery regulation in the United States is releasing $9.3 million in federal funds for research projects to help develop the country’s aquaculture industry.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the money will be spent on 32 separate research schemes in both coastal and at sea fish farming.
A NOAA report two weeks ago suggested that both fish farming and conventional fishing in the US was in the slow lane.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said: ‘This country, with its abundant coastline, should not have to import billions of pounds of seafood each year.
‘These grants will promote aquaculture projects that will help us reduce our trade deficit in this key industry.’
The funds were awarded through two competitions to help spur the development and growth of shellfish, finfish, and seaweed aquaculture businesses.
The projects, all public-private partnerships, include basic and applied research to improve efficient production of seafood, permitting of new businesses, management of environmental health issues, and economic success of aquaculture businesses.
Jonathan Pennock, director of NOAA Sea Grant department, said: ‘Public-private partnerships play a vital role in advancing sustainable domestic aquaculture and increasing food security.
‘Industry is working alongside researchers on each of these projects, which will help expand businesses, create new jobs and provide economic benefits to coastal communities.’
All projects will be led by university based NOAA Sea Grant programmes. With each project, every two dollars of federal funding is matched by one dollar of non-federal funds, bringing the total investment to more than $13.9 million.
NOAA revealed it had received 126 proposals requesting nearly $58 million in federal funds.
Between February 2016 and January 2017, the Sea Grant programme invested $9 million in aquaculture research, technology transfer, and outreach and reported $90 million in economic impacts, including support of 900 businesses and 1,800 jobs.