New York Sea Grant (NYSG) in collaboration with the National Aquaculture Association, received $182,108 in funding for a project to increase end-user confidence in U.S. farm-raised seafood and to increase demand for U.S. farm-raised seafood in the foodservice sector. This project builds on efforts by Michael Ciaramella, NYSG’s Seafood Safety and Technology Specialist based at Stony Brook University. Last summer, Ciaramella placed interns in the aquaculture workforce through the Fish-to-Dish Intern Program, which introduced students to an industry with exceptional growth potential and empowered them to pursue careers in seafood science and aquaculture.
The project, titled “Increasing demand for U.S. farm-raised seafood in the food service sector through industry partnerships,” will be conducted by forming an effective network among Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension agents, state aquaculture coordinators, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Regional Aquaculture Coordinators, Regional Aquaculture Centers and the U.S. aquaculture industry partners in the area of foodservice education. The intent is to develop a communications strategy to effectively and cost-efficiently reach the U.S. foodservice industry with a consistent message about U.S. farm-raised seafood and reduce user conflicts by providing science-based information about the U.S. environmental and food safety regulatory framework.
Funding for this project comes from the NOAA and the National Sea Grant College Program as part of an $11 million investment in 22 projects to advance the development of a sustainable marine and coastal U.S. aquaculture industry.
“New York Sea Grant is a critical program that provides resources to our local anglers and businesses, and this federal funding will help them carry out this important mission,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin. “Their vital work helps preserve and support our local fishing industry. With 90% of consumed American seafood imported, we must ensure Long Island fishermen and shellfish farmers have access to the resources they need to sustain and grow their businesses.”
Sea Grant’s national investment in aquaculture research, outreach and education programs continue to produce results for coastal communities and their economies. Between February 2017 and January 2018, Sea Grant invested $11 million in aquaculture research, with additional funds and resources dedicated to outreach and technology transfer, and reported $78 million in economic impacts, including support of 792 businesses and 1,387 jobs.
“Seafood that is produced locally and in a manner that protects the environment and invigorates the economy provides us with an important source of protein and nutrients when handled safely. We look forward to working with our partners on this important initiative,” said Kathy Bunting-Howarth, NYSG’s Interim Director.