FFAR Awards Four Grants totaling $1.5 Million to Enhance Economic Opportunity for Clam, Halibut, Scallop, Yellowtail and Sea Cucumber Producers in the United States

Research Teams led by Coastal Enterprises, Inc., McDowell Group, Oregon State University and University of Washington Aim to Create Jobs, Improve Markets and Expand Nutritious Food Production

A Maine research team is investigating potential economic benefits of a scallop production technique called “ear-hanging,” in which scallops grow attached to lines hanging vertically in the ocean, as shown above. Photo: Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2018– The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, today announced four grants totaling $1.5 million for research to improve economic opportunities for farmed fish, shellfish, and marine invertebrate production and increase the supply of domestically-produced, nutritious foods in the United States.

FFAR awards are matched by five companies, one industry association and three universities for a total of $3 million in funding for research including best practices for aquaculture producers and economic feasibility studies. All research results will be shared publicly with the goal of stimulating aquaculture markets.

“The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is committed to expanding sustainable protein availability,” said Sally Rockey, executive director of FFAR. “We are optimistic about the potential for these four unique projects to help expand economic opportunities for farmed fish and shellfish producers in the U.S., and as a result, increase our supply of domestically-produced, nutritious foods.”

The following individuals were successful applicants to a public call for applications issued in 2017. Each awardee was required to secure non-Federal funding to match the FFAR grant.

Hugh Cowperthwaite, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) fisheries program director, is pioneering new scallop production techniques with the aim of establishing an economically viable market for farmed Atlantic Sea Scallops, beginning in Maine. Cowperthwaite will investigate the economic viability of a Japanese scallop production technique that has been shown to grow scallops faster and produce larger meat yields. CEI is providing the required matching funds to double a $300,000 FFAR grant.

Matt Hawkyard, Ph.D., Oregon State University research associate, and collaborators are developing more efficient methods for delivering nutrients to commercially raised marine fish with the goal of improving production of California yellowtail and California halibut, two high-value fish species. Researchers expect the technology to be applicable to other species and available for adoption by industry within three years of project completion. A $275,792 FFAR grant is being matched by Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute (HSWRI), Oregon State University and Reed Mariculture.

Robert Koenitzer, McDowell Group senior project manager, Charlotte Regula-Whitefield, Ph.D., co-directors of the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDFA), and collaborators are conducting an economic feasibility study to examine the potential for an aquaculture facility to produce Alaskan Sea Cucumbers, a high-value marine invertebrate. Sea cucumbers are primarily exported to markets in Asia, with some distribution in the U.S. Currently, commercial-scale production of the species does not exist in the United States. SARDFA is matching a $50,000 FFAR grant.

Steven Roberts, Ph.D., University of Washington Kenneth K. Chew endowed professor, and collaborators are researching how to improve Pacific geoduck clam production by altering environmental conditions at key stages of the cycle and identifying genetic markers associated with optimal traits. Results will help inform best practices for breeding high-yielding clams and will be applicable to other shellfish species. The $877,006 FFAR grant is being matched by Baywater, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, University of Rhode Island and University of Washington.

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