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Sustainable American Aquaculture

Our Sustainable American Aquaculture Program advances bold research that supports sustainable American fish and shellfish production.

Development Contact

Lauren Hershey

This program is no longer accepting applications

The five grants resulting from this program were awarded in 2018.

Our Audacious Research Goals 

This rigorous research program advances science on farmed production of fish and shellfish to increase domestically produced, nutritious foods to meet growing demand. 

These awarded research grants focus on the following priorities:

  1. Genomics and breeding of less-commonly studied shellfish species, including mussels, clams and scallops, to improve performance. 
  2. Hatchery research including broodstock development and best early life-cycle production practices. 
  3. Market-based analyses for new species and/or production systems. 

About the Sustainable American Aquaculture Program

Roughly one billion people worldwide rely on fish and shellfish as their primary source of animal protein. Shellfish are an excellent source of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. However, the demand for fish continues to outstrip supply. 

Fish and shellfish can be farmed, known as aquaculture, or harvested from the wild. Wild harvesting can significantly harm the wild population. Currently, about 90 percent of seafood Americans consume is imported and half of that imported seafood is farmed. The other 45 percent is wild-caught. Imported seafood constitutes one of the largest trade deficits in the US economy and presents an opportunity to increase the production of domestic aquaculture. 

Furthermore, scientific research on aquaculture is significantly underfunded compared to other agricultural commodities. We see an opportunity to develop sustainable US production practices and ramp up the availability of various fish and shellfish species. This pioneering research can provide millions of Americans with nutritious foods while improving the local economies of communities nationwide.

Aquaculture Benefits

Shellfish, including mussels, clams and scallops, provide environmental benefits, including filtering water and increasing biodiversity. This research seeks to understand shellfish genetics and breeding to help researchers increase production and improve water quality.

Raising shellfish eggs and larvae is not well understood and yet critical for aquaculture production. Many biological and environmental factors influence egg quality and time of spawning. Similarly, larvae survival is another challenge. This research aims to better understand the early life-cycle stages to ensure a robust supply of eggs and larvae for commercial stocking.

Investing is the production of new species is risky without a comprehensive assessment of potential costs, market demand, yields and other factors that influence commercial feasibility. The lack of comprehensive financial assessments is a current barrier to US aquaculture production. This research funds socio-economic and market-based research for new species and production systems.

Sustainable American Aquaculture Awarded Grants

Toward Responsible Pacific Bluefin Tuna Mariculture in the United States: Captive Reproduction, Hatchery Research and Product

Awarded Amount $945,735   
Year 2018
Matching Funders Ichthus Unlimited, LLC, Texas A&M, Spanish Institute of Oceanography, Illinois Soybean Foundation, San Diego Port

Maine Scallop Aquaculture Initiative

Awarded Amount $300,000   
Year 2018
Matching Funders Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

Maximizing the Delivery of Water-Soluble Substances While Minimizing the Impact of the Carrier Particles on Fish Larvae

Awarded Amount $275,792   
Year 2018
Matching Funders Oregon State University, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute, Reed Mariculture

See all Sustainable American Aquaculture Awarded Grants

Want to do more to support our pioneering research?