NOAA Fisheries Seaweed and Shellfish Aquaculture Strategic Science Plan for Alaska
New research plan for sustainable seaweed and shellfish aquaculture development in Alaska.
The cold and nutrient rich waterways of Alaska are ideally suited for the development of shellfish and algae aquaculture (also known as mariculture). While the industry is currently small (as of January 2022, approximately 82 permitted farms and 24 farms with permits pending; current value is approximately $1.5 million), the Governor’s Mariculture Task Force set the goal of developing a $100 million per year aquaculture industry in Alaska State waters in 20 years through workforce development, investment in or adaptation of seafood processing, hatchery, and harvesting infrastructure, research and development of current and new aquaculture species and products, and regulatory changes (Mariculture Task Force 2021). With such rapid growth comes the potential for impacts (both positive and negative) to wild populations, other fisheries, subsistence intertidal and subtidal harvest, marine mammals, and other uses of the coastal zone. In order to accomplish the triple bottom line of sustainable aquaculture - environmental, economic, and social sustainability – communication and collaboration across diverse partnerships will be critical. These partnerships include: federal and state agencies, non-governmental and nonprofit organizations, Alaska Native communities, corporations, and governments, universities, growers, hatcheries, and any other groups involved in the use or management of the coastal zone.