Secretary of Commerce kickstarts US aquaculture industry with multimillion dollar research grants

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22 projects are taking part in the Aquaculture Research Awards.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is giving out $11 million in research grants aimed at rebooting the U.S. aquaculture industry in a bit to limit dependence on foreign seafood imports according to The Washington Examiner.

“With such vast coastlines, there is no reason the United States should be importing billions of pounds of seafood each year,” Ross said. Growing a domestic aquaculture industry would create jobs while making the nation more food secure, he said.

Less reliant
The U.S. imported more than 6 billion pounds of seafood, more than $21.5 billion worth, in 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The news was announced on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration site and the three year grants will address priorities such as: supporting new domestic aquaculture systems or technologies, communicating accurate, science-based information about the benefits and risks of marine aquaculture to the public, and increasing the resiliency of aquaculture systems to natural hazards and changing environmental conditions.

Sea lice
The Maine Sea Grant is one of the recipients, and has received $747,673 to look into new approaches on addressing sea lice control in the commercial culture of salmon.

The Wisconsin Sea Grant,  got $244,655 to study how to overcome barriers to support the growth of land-based salmon production in the Great Lakes region.

Space sea race
The current market value of fish farming in the U.S. is estimated to be around $900 million with the potential to grow to $5 billion by 2025.

In his 2018-2022 strategic plan, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, put aquaculture side by side with space exploration as a key driver of economic advancement.