Aquaculture North America

Report focuses on Alaskan mariculture

May 2, 2014
By Erich Luening

Mariculture could double the value of the Alaskan seafood industry within 30 years, according to a report completed by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF).

Julie Decker, chief executive officer of the AFDF told ANA some weeks ago that this would include wild fishery enhancement, shellfish farming, and restoration.

         Decker added that the shellfish-farming industry, which remains small, injecting about $500,000 into the economy each year, could be grown through a hatchery program of its own.

         Decker said that since Alaska’s Aquatic Farm Act was passed in 1988, growth in the mariculture industry has stalled. It’s time to “expedite” its development.

         As part of the Mariculture Industry Development Initiative, the foundation will complete a strategic planning process that will include all stakeholders – coastal communities, industry, the State of Alaska, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and interested conservation groups. Public-private partnerships, crucial to successfully implementing the plan, will be developed.

         Decker acknowledged that mariculture is not going to grow the seafood industry overnight. But provided everyone pulls together there’s great potential.

– Quentin Dodd

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