NOAA Releases New Alaska Aquaculture Report

The following is courtesy of NOAA Fisheries Alaska:

Oysters being farmed by Alaska Shellfish Farms in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries continues to direct support towards Alaska’s growing aquaculture (also known as “mariculture”) industry. Marine aquaculture in Alaska contributes to economic opportunities for coastal communities through the farming of shellfish and seaweed. Research is increasingly showing the ecological benefits of aquatic farming. 

To date, commercial aquaculture activities in Alaska have been relatively small-scale, and have primarily involved Pacific oysters, seaweed, and blue mussels. Finfish farming is illegal in Alaska state waters. 

To document and celebrate the continued growth of the aquaculture industry, NOAA Fisheries has released its first State of Alaska Aquaculture Report. This project was conducted in partnership with economic development organizations such as the Alaska Mariculture Alliance and Southeast Conference, and government organizations:

  • Alaska Sea Grant
  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • Alaska Department of Natural Resources

The report summarizes the current state of the aquaculture industry in Alaska including: 

  • How it has changed over preceding years
  • Where it is developing
  • Outlining some of the opportunities for aquaculture farmers, researchers, and other stakeholders interested in getting involved in the industry 
Front cover of the State of Alaska Aquaculture Report.
Front cover of the State of Alaska Aquaculture Report. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

The report includes an overview of oyster and seaweed production in the state and a regional breakdown of the industry across Alaska. It also includes perspectives on the current state of the Alaska aquaculture industry written by hatchery operators, farmers, and state officials. It contains information about aquaculture in Alaska, funding resources for those interested in getting involved, and information about NOAA’s plans to identify Aquaculture Opportunity Areas  in Alaska.

The State of Alaska Aquaculture report is a first-of-its-kind overview of the aquaculture industry in Alaska, revealing the state’s opportunities and challenges to date. It also highlights the potential for future industry growth in Alaska, and how much work is underway to improve sustainable aquaculture production around the state. Learn more about NOAA’s involvement with aquaculture in Alaska