The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is working with Hog Island Oyster Company and the University of California Santa Cruz to assess the interactions between oyster aquaculture and eelgrass in Tomales Bay, California. The use of drones may help with these studies, and the validation of such aerial surveys could be highly valuable in both their perspective and economy (as this approach could be much less expensive than conventional side-scan sonar or diver-based methods). This TNC-produced video captures the study site and plan beautifully. The Tomales Bay studies are just beginning, so stay tuned to further developments and discussion.
“Perspectives on Marine Aquaculture in California and the U.S.” is a short film recently produced by the Seafood for the Future program and Long Beach Aquarium and can be viewed here. It features prominent scientists and experts on the topic and discusses aquaculture’s role in the global food supply, the state of domestic marine aquaculture, and its future in the US and California.
“It’s important to put aquaculture into the broader context of food”, says Dr. Steve Gaines, Dean of UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. “It’s easy to focus on the negative impacts of one form of food production in terms of environmental impacts, without recognizing that all forms of food production have some negative impacts.” Dr. Gaines goes on to point out how important it is to look at how all of those food production methods compare to one another. Recent research analysis shows that aquaculture, done well using today’s current best practices, can exert the lowest environmental impacts of any form of food production on the planet. Continue reading
Just in time for National Aquaculture Week, the Aquarium of the Pacific, Sea Grant, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the second report of their Offshore Aquaculture Workshop series. This workshop continues the conversation with Federal and State agencies about how to improve regulatory confidence in aquaculture operations. The workshop introduced a model as a possible tool for decision making, and includes information on animal health management, protected species concerns, and a summary of the permitting process.
Webcast speakers include Dr. Jerry Schubel, president and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific; Dr. James Morris, marine ecologist, NOAA’s National Ocean Service and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science; and Dr. Paul Olin, aquaculture specialist, California Sea Grant and the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
NOAA is hosting a new webinar to share more information about this year’s Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant process. This webinar will discuss the grant application process, including the mandatory pre-proposal process in advance of a full proposal submission.
Call-in and webinar details, along with more information about the SK Grant, can be found at NOAA’s Website.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is now offering competitive grants to qualified small businesses. This program aims to support innovation that tackles scientific problems and local opportunities that can lead to improving communities. Aquaculture projects are encouraged to apply, especially concepts that look at issues such as reproductive efficiency and health management, among others.
Phase 1 includes grants up to $100,000 for a duration of 8 months, and will be awarded to businesses in order to create conceptual designs at a small scale. Once this proof-of-concept has been created, SBIR will open Phase 2, which will award larger grants to winning concepts in order to implement the ideas. Since 1983, 200 grants have been awarded through the program. The due date to apply is October 6, 2016.
Dr Fred Conte, Extension Aquaculture Specialist at the University of California, Davis, recently shared an upcoming study being lead by the Western Regional Aquaculture Center (WRAC) through the California Aquaculture Association newsletter. This study aims to look into the economic impact regulations have on the Aquaculture industry across the west coast. The research team will look at the shellfish and trout industries in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, and Idaho, using industry surveys as well as state and federal agency input to compile an economic analysis.
The 3-year study hopes to increase the understanding across stakeholder groups of how the regulatory process effects the industry and communities. The results of the study and related materials will be shared with stakeholders via internet, newsletters, and follow up meetings. A webinar for the general public is also being planned.
The research team consists of Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director Mr. Gary Fornshell, University of Idaho; and Co-Principal Investigators Ms. Bobbi Hudson, Pacific Shellfish Institute (WA), Dr. William Hanshumaker, Oregon State University; and Dr. Fred Conte, University of California, Davis. The Industry Advisor is Mr. Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish Co. (WA). The Project Monitor will be Dr. Gunnar Knapp, of the University of Alaska.
The Iowa State University and the National Aquaculture Association is hosting a webinar focusing on biosecurity for aquaculture farms. Register here.