Aquaculture for all

USDA Invests $1.2 Million in Aquaculture Research

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US - The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced four grants totaling $1.2 million to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture in the United States.

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These awards were made through the Aquaculture Research Program authorised by the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grants Act, administered by NIFA.

“In 2015, Americans spent $96 billion on seafood, but only a small portion of that was produced by US aquaculture,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy.

“To meet the growing demand for this healthy source of protein, NIFA investments are helping enhance US aquaculture production to promote both economic opportunities and a safe, reliable domestic seafood source.”

Global demand for seafood is projected to increase substantially while harvests from capture fisheries are stable or declining. In cooperation with land-grant university partners and diverse stakeholders, NIFA provides leadership and administers federal funding for aquaculture research, technology development, and extension programmes.

NIFA Aquaculture Research Programme grants support the development of a globally competitive and profitable US aquaculture industry through investments that help improve domestic aquaculture production efficiency, sustainability, safety, marketing, and information sharing, as well as access to global science-based information and advanced technologies.

NIFA provides leadership in coordinating federal activities related to aquaculture through the Interagency Working Group on Aquaculture, under the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science.

Awards for 2016 include:

  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, $307,869
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, $275,887
  • Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, $326,250
  • The Research Foundation of State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York, $326,963

Projects funded in 2016 include research conducted by scientists at Michigan State University, who will identify strains of a common bacteria that threaten farmed rainbow trout as a step toward improved disease prevention and control.

Other projects include Virginia Tech researchers who will work with commercial farmers to compare profitability of both pond and recirculating-water commercial business models; an Auburn University project that will evaluate and optimize the economics, fish and plant biology, and food safety aspects of a high-yield aquaponics system that utilises fish waste to generate additional revenue; and the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, Stony Brook will use molecular genetics techniques to identify disease-resistant clam germlines to help improve commercial shellfish stocks.