California agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by the recent floods throughout the state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover. Impacted producers should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.
“Production agriculture is vital to the California economy, and USDA stands ready to assist in the recovery from these catastrophic flood events,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), who met with disaster-impacted producers last week in Fresno, Yuba, Salinas Valley and other areas. “I assure you that USDA employees are working diligently to deliver our extensive portfolio of disaster assistance programs and services to all impacted agricultural producers. We’re also proud of recent updates FSA made to disaster assistance programs that allow us to improve our response to California producers.”
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.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA–E) intends to issue a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in November, 2016, for the development of cultivation technologies benefiting the production of macroalgal-biomass (seaweeds) in the ocean. These technologies are expected to be deployed and support cultivation of macroalgal-biomass for the production of commodity fuels and chemicals. The primary challenge is to dramatically reduce capital and operating cost of macroalgae cultivation, while significantly increasing the range of deployment by expanding into off-shore environments.
The Teaming Partner List is being compiled to facilitate the formation of new project teams. ARPA-E intends to make the Teaming Partner List available on ARPA–E eXCHANGE (http://ARPA–E-foa.energy.gov), ARPA–E’s online application portal, in September 2016. Once posted, the Teaming Partner List will be updated periodically, until the close of the Full Application period, to reflect new Teaming Partners who have provided their information.
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.
The 2017 Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) Grant Competition is here, and NOAA is hosting a webinar to prepare applicants to get through the application process.
Approximately $10 million will be available to support fisheries projects in this grant competition. The proposal process is open on Grants.gov on July 22, 2016, and will close on December 9, 2016. New for this year is the requirement to submit a pre-proposal in advance of a full proposal submission. The pre-proposal process is intended to provide an indication to potential applicants of the technical merit and the relevancy of the proposed project to the SK program before preparing a full proposal.
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.
The USA contributes only 1% of the 100 billion dollar worldwide aquaculture industry and meanwhile imports nearly 90% of the seafood consumed here. There is a real opportunity for increased development of sustainable aquaculture that can feed and support our communities. Living Ocean Productions presents a detailed look at the success stories from around the country, and the possibilities available if we continue to explore the potential for aquaculture industry growth.
Meet the farmers growing & harvesting catfish, salmon, oyster, and mussels, and learn about their dedication to environmental sustainability, community engagement, and high quality products.
A company in Australia is working to find out just that. Indian Ocean Fresh Australia has been working with the Mid West Development Commission to build a commercially viable and environmentally responsible offshore finfish industry off the west coast of Australia. Through supported research, they’ve been able to grow out 15,000 Yellowtail Kingfish to harvest and send to market.
In the past, their predecessors in a similar project failed due to issues with disease. This new venture is making fish health a top priority and has established a proactive monitoring system, with frequent blood tests & dissections to insure a standard of high health. So far, the results of this experiment have been encouraging; the fish are healthy, and according to feedback from local restaurants, of high quality and good taste.
The challenges for offshore aquaculture are many, both in protecting the natural environment and creating an economically viable, high-quality product. This venture is a great step in understanding the different challenges and actively finding solutions to create a more sustainable future.
Watch the video below to get a taste of their offshore farm, and read more here.
Aquaculture Business Incubator Taking Proposals in San Diego
In the interest of promoting local business and sustainable seafood, the Port of San Diego has created a process to support local development concepts with their first business incubator – and it’s aimed at aquaculture. The Aquaculture Business Incubator will further the Port’s broader mission to promote fisheries, commerce, navigation, and recreation, by focusing on aquaculture partnerships. And they are ready to receive proposals immediately.