NOAA Sea Grant announces $2.1 million to support aquaculture research and extension in Maine


ORONO – NOAA Sea Grant announced $2.1 million to fund four projects that advance aquaculture research and extension to support sustainable aquaculture in Maine. The projects are part of a larger $14 million NOAA Sea Grant investment to strengthen aquaculture across the United States.

Researchers from the University of Maine Aquaculture Research Institute, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, UMaine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research and Maine Sea Grant will lead projects to develop finfish feed , improve sea scallop hatchery techniques, diversify the lumpfish broodstock and advance work. of the Maine Aquaculture Hub, respectively.

“Innovation and diversification in Maine’s aquaculture industry has created new jobs and economic opportunities in our state. We welcome this investment from NOAA, which will support ongoing cutting-edge research by UMaine scientists and students. These projects will help increase the sustainability and economic viability of aquaculture in coastal communities here in Maine and across the country,” U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King said in a joint statement.

“Year after year, the Sea Grant program protects thousands of acres of coastal ecosystems, generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development, and creates thousands of jobs across the country,” Rep. Chellie Pingree said in a statement. A press release. “As a longtime supporter of the Sea Grant program and advocate for it through my role on the House Appropriations Committee, I am delighted that aquaculture projects in Maine are being invested in. This funding is another example how Sea Grant fosters innovation and entrepreneurship to support Maine’s waterfront and coastal communities.

Projects in Maine receiving NOAA Sea Grant funding include:

Nutritional strategies for enhancing larval production in marine fish with a focus on Seriola sp.

PI: Matt Hawkyard, UMaine Aquaculture Research Institute

One of the major challenges in keeping marine fish in captivity is associated with bottlenecks in the early life stages. Marine fish larvae are among the smallest vertebrates on Earth and therefore require microscopic food. In the wild, marine fish larvae eat live marine organisms (zooplankton) that cannot be economically reproduced in hatcheries. Additionally, formulated feeds are difficult to produce on a microscopic scale and present a series of challenges given that they must pass through water before they are hopefully consumed by fish larvae. Researchers will work with industry partners to produce and refine microparticulate larval foods and assess the effects of diets on the growth and survival of yellowtail and yellowtail amberjack.

“We’re trying to move away from living organisms as animal feed and towards formulated diets, like we do in other areas of agriculture. This project will allow us to develop practical and adaptable power technologies for industry use,” said Hawkyard.

“Crack the Shell”: a collaborative approach to develop hatchery production of the Atlantic sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus

PI: Chris Davis, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center

This project will establish reliable best practices for sea scallop larval rearing and establishment protocols, identify sea scallop hatchery microbiomes based on their health status, examine sea scallop larval immune systems, establish reliable best practices for conditioning and spawning sea scallop broodstock, assess the economics of commercial-scale hatchery production, and engage with stakeholders to create a community of practice.

“This Sea Grant-funded project is an exciting opportunity to bring together academic researchers, NGOs, industry and the federal government to develop reliable best practices in the hatchery and nursery culture of Sea Scallops from the Atlantic,” Davis said. “The team of researchers hails from the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, University of Maine, Mook Sea Farms, Downeast Institute and NOAA Fisheries Milford Laboratory and represents a wide range of scientific disciplines including aquaculturists, biologists molluscs, microbiologists, aquatic immunologists, and economists.We hope this research will help Maine’s aquaculture industry continue to lead the country in developing innovative approaches in sustainable seafood systems.

Lumpfish Domestication and Breeding to Accelerate Successful Commercialization and Use for Biological Sea Lice Control in the Northeastern United States

PI: Stephen Eddy, UMaine Center for Cooperative Research in Aquaculture

Lumpfish are widely used in farmed salmon pens in Europe and eastern Canada as a cleaner fish for biological control of parasitic sea lice, and salmon farmers in the northeastern United States are looking forward to implementing the approach here. The main objective of the project is to establish a self-contained and geographically diverse lumpfish breeding colony using wild juveniles collected from the Gulf of Maine in the United States. During the project, researchers will capture young lumpfish, acclimate them in captivity for breeding, and then raise hatchery juveniles for storage in commercial salmon pens.

“This project is a great example of how the University of Maine can partner with organizations such as Sea Grant, USDA, University of New Hampshire, and the private sector to conduct applied research relevant to the world. industry while making aquaculture more sustainable,” Tourbillon said. “We are thrilled and grateful that Sea Grant is helping us expand our efforts to develop a lumpfish program in the United States.”

Supporting industry needs through the Maine Aquaculture Hub

CP: Dana Morse, Maine Sea Grant

This funding will continue to support the Maine Aquaculture Hub, a collaboration between Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, UMaine Aquaculture Research Institute, School of Marine Science of UMaine, Maine Sea Grant and the cooperative extension of UMaine. Through this project, the Hub team will continue to coordinate the Aquaculture in Shared Waters (AQSW) program and support efforts to implement the recommendations of the Maine Aquaculture 2022 Roadmap. The collaboration will continue to grow with new partnerships, as a functional way to meet the growing and increasingly diverse educational, research, outreach, and industry needs in the state.

The project also includes specific activities to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), starting with needs assessments of underrepresented communities, groups and individuals. Needs assessments will articulate challenges to accessing pedagogical and technical training programs and guide future programming efforts. The Hub team will also centralize all AQSW program documents on a single web-based platform, with the aim of making them more easily accessible and organized. “Shared waters aquaculture has proven to be a valuable and important resource, and we are excited to continue this work,” Morse said. “The needs assessment will allow us to better understand the different challenges, expertise and experiences of the different people working in this space. Sharing expertise, approaches, networks and ideas will make the entire aquaculture sector more creative, inventive and ultimately more successful.


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