Aquaculture News Newsletter

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Aquaculture News

June 28, 2018

Director's Message 

This is a defining moment for the NOAA Aquaculture Program. For the first time, increasing aquaculture production was highlighted as an objective in the Department of Commerce Strategic Plan. The DOC Strategic Plan 2018-2022 calls for improved federal permitting for aquaculture as well as an increase in support of research that advances domestic marine aquaculture. Along with increased focus from the department level, Congress appropriated additional dedicated aquaculture funding to NOAA in fiscal year 2018 - $15 million to NOAA Fisheries (compared to $9.3 million in FY 2017), and $11.5 million to Sea Grant  (compared to $9.5 million in FY 2017). Congress directed NOAA Fisheries to focus the increased funding on oysters and shellfish, pilot projects and partnerships in coastal communities, and aquaculture science staffing and resources at the Northeast and Northwest Science Centers. Part of the increased funding will also go to streamlining or improving the efficiency of NOAA’s participation in aquaculture permit reviews. 

Office of Aquaculture staff and I have devoted a great deal of time these past few weeks to reviewing how NOAA funding can address industry, coastal community, and science/research needs. I am also working closely with the directors and staff of the national Sea Grant office and the National Ocean Service’s science program (NOAA Fisheries partners in the NOAA wide aquaculture program). 

Moving forward we are focused on meeting our aquaculture goals through core areas including:

  • Regulatory Streamlining: We continue to collaborate with NOAA Fisheries regional offices, science centers, and headquarters offices like Habitat Conservation and Protected Resources to streamline permitting and federal consultations on aquaculture permits. We are also exploring additional programmatic approaches to permitting (e.g., nationwide or general Army Corps permits for shellfish farming), and providing our colleagues at NOAA and other federal and state agencies with science information about the environmental effects of aquaculture. 
  • Science Support, Innovation, and Technology Transfer at NOAA: Whether it is new technologies or a more efficient way of doing business, we are exploring innovative solutions to aquaculture’s challenges and opportunities. NOAA Centers around the country are working on new aquaculture species, increasing understanding of ocean acidification, documenting the ecosystem effects of aquaculture, and many other projects that move aquaculture production and restoration forward. We are also using new technologies to make applying for a marine aquaculture permit easier and more efficient. Recently, our colleagues at NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science released the first spatial planning tool designed specifically for offshore aquaculture development in federal waters of the U.S. The Gulf AquacMapper features over 50 aquaculture-relevant GIS data layers for oceanographic, biological, navigational, military, social, and economic analysis to help growers and coastal managers determine opportunities for offshore development.
  • Grants: The multiple grant opportunities that the NOAA Aquaculture Program coordinates address industry bottlenecks, keep waterfronts vibrant, and advance aquaculture science. These opportunities fund a variety of research such as shellfish farming disease and genetics, hatchery advances, siting of aquaculture facilities, and environmental effects and monitoring. NOAA Fisheries has also been working for the past year to fund regional pilot projects and partnerships through the three regional fisheries commissions. These pilot projects are helping to meet our stakeholders’ increasing needs for innovation and technology transfer. We are likely to continue to fund grants for pilot projects and for oysters and shellfish through the fisheries commissions in 2018—stay tuned.
  • Outreach: On the outreach front, we are working with aquaria staff to provide the public more accurate and timely information about aquaculture both as a sustainable food source and as a restoration tool. With the help of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Seafood for the Future program, we have collaborated on a needs assessment survey to highlight communication tool gaps in aquaculture. By investing time and effort in clear, coordinated, and consistent messaging with partners, we can create outreach materials and messaging that brand aquaculture as a sustainable food choice and restoration tool.  

We still a lot of work to do, but we have also accomplished a lot in recent years. Thanks to our partners and our staff, I am confident we will see many more milestones in the months and years to come. 

Best wishes,


Dr. Michael Rubino

Director, NOAA Office of Aquaculture


July 12

Application Process for SK-2019 Funds Public Webinar

July 15-20

National Marine Educators Annual Conference in Long Beach, California

July 16-20

The International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade Conference in Seattle, Washington

August 19-22

American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey

August 25-29

World Aquaculture Society in Montpellier, France

October 17-19

High Energy Mariculture Europe in Corfu, Greece

January 9-11

Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Exposition and the Milford Aquaculture Seminar in Boston, Massachusetts


FFAR Awards Four Grants totaling $1.5 Million to Enhance Economic Opportunity for Clam, Halibut, Scallop, Yellowtail and Sea Cucumber Producers in U.S.

NOAA Announces Projects Recommended for S-K Funding

The Minority Business Development Agency will provide Federal assistance to support innovative projects seeking to promote and ensure the inclusion and use of minority enterprises in aquaculture. Applications are due by July 11, 2018. 

The Tribal Resilience Program is solicits proposals from tribal organizations to support tribal resilience and ocean and coastal management and planning. Applications are due by July 12, 2018. 


Climate Change Impacts on Fisheries and Aquaculture: A Global Analysis

Reduced swimming and metabolic fitness of aquaculture-reared California Yellowtail (Seriola dorsalis) in comparison to wild-caught conspecifics

Exploring the efficacy of vaccine techniques in juvenile sablefish, Anoplopoma fimbria

NOAA Lab News

NOAA Appoints Kristen Koch as New Science and Research Director for the Southwest Fisheries Science Center

NOAA Appoints Dr. Clay Porch as New Science and Research Director for the Southeast Fisheries Science Center

NOAA Aids Efforts to Manage Risks from Lipophilic Shellfish Toxins in Washington

New Report Evaluating U.S. Shellfish Aquaculture Permitting Systems Now Available

NOAA Fisheries has a long history of supporting shellfish aquaculture development and the agency recognizes that sustainable aquaculture development is critical to the nation’s food security. While U.S. aquaculture production is increasing, there remain significant regulatory and social constraints. In an effort to compare and contrast the numerous shellfish aquaculture permitting systems and their constraints, NOAA Fisheries supported a comprehensive review of federal, state, and local shellfish permitting systems around the nation. Learn more and download the full report here

Fishing vessel at sunset.

Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program Funding Opportunity FY2019

NOAA Fisheries is pleased to announce the 2019 Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Grant competition is currently open. 

This year's solicitation consists of two separate submission processes. All interested applicants must submit a 2 page Pre-Proposal to the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) posted at found here. Applicants interested in submitting a full application after the pre-proposal review process must submit the full application through

Please note that under this one Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) there are two competition links. Please be sure to submit your pre-proposals to the “PRE PROPOSALS FY19 Saltonstall-Kennedy” link within the dates specified in this NOFO. Please be sure to submit your FULL Proposals to the “FULL Proposals FY19 Saltonstall-Kennedy” link prior to the date specified in this NOFO. Be sure to read the NOFO and follow the directions closely.

The goal of the S-K program is to fund projects that address the needs of fishing communities, optimize economic benefits by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries, and increase other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable. The FY19 solicitation seeks applications that fall into one of three priorities:

  • Promotion, Development, and Marketing
  • Marine Aquaculture
  • Support of Science that Maximizes Fishing Opportunities, Revenue and Jobs in U.S. Fisheries While Ensuring the Long-Term Sustainability of Marine Resources

Farming in Water Story Map

NOAA Aquaculture Program Story Map Outreach Tool 

As part of our efforts to foster responsible aquaculture and increase internal and external awareness of marine farming the Office of Aquaculture has collaborated on a new Farming in Water story map. The story map is designed to help educate our stakeholders about the importance of aquaculture and explain NOAA's role in advancing science, funding, and outreach for aquaculture. 

New Tool Available for Aquaculture Siting in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science recently released the Gulf AquaMapper, a web-based ocean exploration tool for marine aquaculture development in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf AquaMapper compiles data that can be used to determine opportunities and constraints for aquaculture development in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The tool was developed in support of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's Gulf Aquaculture Plan and the regional permitting process. Learn more and explore the Gulf AquaMapper tool

Shrimp and fish at a market

U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program to Include Shrimp and Abalone by December 31

NOAA has lifted its stay on shrimp and abalone in the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program – known as SIMP. As required by Congress  by December 31, 2018, it will be mandatory for foreign shrimp products to be accompanied by harvest and landing data and for importers to maintain chain of custody records for shrimp and abalone imports entering the U.S. The inclusion of shrimp – the largest US seafood import- and abalone in SIMP nearly doubles the volume and value of imported fish and fish products subject to its requirements, further leveling the playing field for U.S. fishermen, aquaculture producers, and seafood producers around the world who play by the rules.

The United States is recognized as a global leader in sustainable seafood  both wild-caught and farmed. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud, including misrepresented seafood products, jeopardize the health of fish stocks, distort legal markets, negatively impact consumer confidence, and unfairly compete with the products of law-abiding aquaculture producers, fishermen, and seafood producers.  

NOAA and its U.S. Government partner agencies will continue to work with U.S. fishermen, aquaculture producers, foreign trading partners, and the international fishing community to support clarity and understanding of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program’s requirements and support an orderly and timely implementation of these initiatives. Additional implementation developments and opportunities for industry engagement will follow. Read more about the inclusion of shrimp and abalone in SIMP here.

NOAA leadership visit

Maryland Sea Grant and partners discuss aquaculture, diversity in marine sciences with NOAA Administrator

On a trip to the Baltimore area in May, Acting NOAA Administrator RDML Timothy Gallaudet visited with Maryland Sea Grant and the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) to learn more about their work to advance U.S. aquaculture research and to train students from underrepresented groups in marine sciences. Read more from Sea Grant.

CAPP Planning and Sitting

New Tools Available in NCCOS Coastal Aquaculture Planning Portal

Since its launch in 2016, the Coastal Aquaculture Planning Portal (CAPP) has nearly doubled its inventory of unique tools and resources for coastal managers, planners, and industry interested in the development of finfish, shellfish, and algae aquaculture in the United States. The portal now provides 87 tools and resources to assist with aquaculture development at the global, regional, local, and farm scale. Explore the CAPP site.

Oyster raw bar tray.

On the Reel: Aquaculture Videos You May Have Missed

Oyster Economics Research in Delaware: With support from Delaware Sea Grant, Dr. Kent Messer from the University of Delaware is using experimental economics to test how big the market for local aquaculture-grown oysters could be. Watch the video here

60 Minutes Seaweed Farming and Its Surprising Benefits: Seaweed may be thought of as a nuisance, but an increasing number of fishermen, scientists and consumers are seeing it as a solution. Watch the video here

Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission General Session on Off-Bottom Oyster Aquaculture: In 2016, the Gulf States Commission began a cooperative effort with NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture to develop and manage a small grants program to address the technical and regulatory opportunities and challenges of oyster farming in the Gulf region. With the 2016 projects completed, each of the Principal Investigators was invited to present the extent of their work. The session was recorded and can be viewed here