Advancing East Coast Aquaculture: NYSG Contributes to Several Marine Aquaculture Research Projects
Marine Fisheries Resource Center - Press Release

Studies part of national suite of 42 research projects and collaborative programs supported by $16 million in NOAA Sea Grant federal funding

Contacts:

Ryan Strother, Freelance Publicist, NYSG, E: ryan.strother@stonybrook.edu, P: (612) 288-2418 

Antoinette Clemetson, Fisheries Specialist, NYSG, E: aoc5@cornell.edu, P: (631) 632-8730

Stony Brook, NY, November 18, 2019 – As part of $16 million in federal funding awarded by the National Sea Grant College Program, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is leading or participating in several East Coast marine research projects. The funding supports 42 research projects and collaborative programs designed to advance sustainable aquaculture in the United States. 

“Aquaculture as a source of sustainable food, healthy habitat and clean water, and economic opportunity has gained considerable, and growing, national and global attention in the past several years. However, there is still much to learn. New York Sea Grant is pleased to be able to participate with diverse partners on a suite of grants supporting collaborative research aimed at understanding and informing the potential of shellfish, finfish, and seaweed aquaculture across the state.” said NYSG Director Dr. Rebecca Shuford. 

NYSG’s contribution to aquaculture research supports three areas of need identified by the National Sea Grant Office federal funding opportunities. These areas include accelerating the development of aquaculture in established topics, exploring new opportunities, as well as addressing gaps in social, behavioral, and economic research relating to U.S. aquaculture. 


Hard clams. Credit: Bassem Allam; (Inset) A worker at Norm Bloom & Son Oysters offloads shellfish harvested from the company’s beds in Norwalk. Credit: Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant.

East Coast Hard Clam Selective Breeding Collaborative Project 

NYSG is leading a collaborative effort that will apply selective breeding to improve the resilience of hard clam stocks cultured across the Atlantic seaboard. The quahog clam,  an economically valuable marine resource in New York State, is extensively cultivated from Massachusetts to Florida. The work from this study will develop novel genetic selection methods in an effort to optimize and enhance the success of clam breeding in regional aquaculture operations. 

"This funding will allow us to complete the sequencing of the hard clam genome and to develop innovative genomic selection tools to improve breeding of that species for aquaculture and restoration activities. We will be able to breed clam stocks that better resist disease and harsh environmental conditions, for the benefit of clam farmers in New York State and throughout the region," said Bassem Allam, Marinetics Endowed Professor at Stony Brook University and lead PI on this project. 

"Farmers have used selective breeding for many years to develop robust crops that perform very well under specific growing conditions, and this project will use technology to obtain similar end results for the hard clam industry. Once completed, growers will ultimately have access to strains that can tolerate specific barriers  in their geographic region to boost production. This research will transform the hard clam industry along the entire East Coast, and our Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension partners are eager to transfer this knowledge to the industry and managers in future years," said NYSG Fisheries Specialist Antionette Clemetson. 

This project is a $1.2 million collaborative effort with NYSG, Cornell University, Rutgers University, Stony Brook University, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. It involves shellfish biologists and geneticists, Sea Grant and Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists, and industry partners located in five states (Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia), where there is significant hard clam aquaculture.


Connecticut Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist Anoushka Concepcion examines a piece of kelp. Anoushka is the the principal investigator on a new National Sea Grant Seaweed Hub that will serve as a central clearinghouse for available science-based, non-proprietary, practical resources related to previous and current seaweed aquaculture research and extension efforts. Credit: Tessa Getchis.

Nurturing the Successful Growth and Maturation of a Domestic Seaweed Aquaculture Industry: Identifying and Removing Barriers and Promoting Opportunities  

NYSG is involved in a collaborative effort being led by Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG) to establish a National Sea Grant Seaweed Hub. This Hub will serve as a central clearinghouse for science-based, non-proprietary resources related to previous and current seaweed aquaculture research and extension efforts. Once established, the Seaweed Hub will enable Sea Grant programs and  federal and state agencies to access information to guide planning and outreach efforts, as well as help those in the seaweed aquaculture industry to make better informed decisions. Antoinette Clemetson will lead one of the subcommittees and NYSG Associate Director, Kathy Bunting-Howarth, has been appointed to the project Steering Committee.

This project is a nearly $1.1 million collaborative effort led by CTSG, partnering with the National Sea Grant Law Center and Sea Grant programs in Maine, Alaska, Washington, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Woods Hole, among other groups. 


Aquaculture farmer J.P. Vellotti harvests kelp grown in beds in Groton, CT in 2018. Credit: Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant.

Other Sea Grant Aquaculture Grants Supported by the 2019 National Sea Grant Aquaculture Federal Funding Awards

In addition to federal funding awarded to the East Coast marine research projects, New York Sea Grant has also been announced as part of a three-year, $1 million multi-state Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative project designed to help Great Lakes States respond to consumer demand for freshwater fish and address the $14 billion national seafood trade deficit identified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service.

For more information on the 42 research projects and collaborative programs supported by $16 million in federal funding to advance sustainable aquaculture in the U.S., see the National Sea Grant College Program announcementseagrant.sunysb.edu/seagrantaquacultureawards.

And there’s more on Sea Grant's aquaculture efforts nationwide at https://seagrant.noaa.gov/Our-Work/Aquaculture.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.


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