Aquaculture in the Regions
Since 2008, NOAA has been expanding its aquaculture efforts by establishing Regional Coordinators around the country. This allows NOAA to have a regional presence and allows better attention to and awareness of region-specific issues. The office has Regional Aquaculture Coordinators in the Northeast region, Southeast region, Southwest region, Northwest region, and the Pacific Islands region.
The Northeast region primarily grows salmon, oysters and clams for commercial purposes with lesser amounts of mussels and cod.
Research in the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Milford, Connecticut Lab focuses on shellfish and algal culture and environmental issues associated with shellfish culture like ocean acidification, benefits of shellfish aquaculture on habitat and water quality, and effects of shellfish harvesting on the benthic environment, etc.
Salmon aquaculture contributes significantly to Maine's economy and to the culture and vibrancy of Maine's coastal communities. [credit: Dave Alves, NOAA Aquaculture]
The Northwest region primarily grows Atlantic salmon, oysters (primarily Pacific), mussels (primarily Mediterranean and Bay), clams (primarily Manila, and geoduck as well as pinto abalone aquaculture for restoration in Washington State.
Aquaculture-related research at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center focuses on the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish, shellfish safety (harmful algal blooms and pathogens), and native Olympia oyster restoration. Finfish research emphasizes sablefish culture, lingcod enhancement, Atlantic salmon acclimation, alternative feeds for aquaculture, genetics, and life cycle analysis.
Mussels are farmed in "socks" on dropper lines in Puget Sound. In addition to providing seafood, shellfish aquaculture has both water quality and habitat benefits. [credit: Chris Botnick, NOAA Aquaculture Office]
The primary species for commercial purposes in the Southeast region are oysters and clams, although there are some commercial farms that culture red drum, shrimp and, to a lesser extent, cobia and sea bass. Red drum and spotted sea trout are species targeted for stock enhancement, while smaller scale enhancement programs exist for Southern flounder, red snapper, snook, and cobia. There also is a federal aquaculture live rock permit program for corals and sponges in federal waters off of Florida.
Research by NOAA labs in the southeast primarily is focused on husbandry and rearing methods for marine species such a red porgy. NOAA also has provided funding for projects related to culture of red snapper, blackfin tuna, cobia, and baitfish species as well as for research into alternative diets for marine finfish.
Research in the southeast includes development of culture methods for commercially important marine finfish such as black seabass. [credit: Jess Beck, NOAA Aquaculture Office]
The Southwest region primarily grows Pacific oysters, Kumamoto oysters, and manila clams for commercial purposes with lesser amounts of Mediterranean mussels, Atlantic oysters, red abalone, rock scallops, and seaweed.
Research in the Southwest focuses on abalone recovery at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center and Olympia oyster restoration by various sectors of academia, primarily in the San Francisco Bay area. There is growing interest in research on shellfish bio-remediation/
The Regional Aquaculture Coordinator for the Southwest region is Diane Windham. Contact Diane for any information.
Aquaculture of red abalone is used as an enhancement tool to mitigate the continuing decline in abalone abundance in California. [credit: Chris Botnick, NOAA Aquaculture Office]
The Pacific Island region primarily grows shrimp and marine algae for commercial purposes with lesser amounts of finfish such as kampachi (Seriola rivoliana) and moi (Polydactylus sexfilis).
Research in the Pacific Islands primarily focuses on marine spatial planning as it pertains to offshore aquaculture.
The Regional Aquaculture Coordinator for the Pacific Islands region is Alan Everson. Contact Alan for any information.
Experimentation leads to learning. The Velella project will investigate the potential of raising fish, in this case kampachi (Seriola rivoliana), in drifter cage arrays floating freely in the ocean current. [credit: Alan Everson, NOAA Aquaculture Office]