Federal Funding Awarded to Alaska Mariculture Projects

    Juneau, AK (KINY) - Alaska Sea grant has received funding to help marine aquaculture businesses find good locations, obtain geoduck seeds, and avoid shutdowns after heavy rains.

    About $400k was given to three Alaska projects. About $9.3 million was awarded nationally to aquaculture projects by Sea Grant, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    The funding will go to three non-profit organizations to conduct the research:

    • The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation will develop a geographic information system tool to help investors identify appropriate mariculture sites in Alaska, using methods developed in Maine. The grant provides about $140,000.
    • OceansAlaska, with $150,000, will develop geoduck seeds for farmers, who are constrained by inconsistent supply. The project aims to improve geoduck spawning and increase knowledge of hatchery procedures.
    •  Pacific Shellfish Institute, with $95,000, will study the relationship between rainfall and water quality in remote areas. Heavy rain can wash coliform bacteria into the ocean near shellfish growing operations, prompting closures. However, shellfish grow several feet underwater, where coliform concentrations may be lower. “The research and data will help determine if these closures are justified,” said Gary Freitag, Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory agent in Ketchikan.


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