N.H. Aquaculture Extension Enhancement to Facilitate Technology Transfer of Marine Finfish, Molluscan Shellfish and Seaweed Aquaculture to Gulf of Maine Coastal Communities (NSI)
NOAA’s National Sea Grant mission states the importance of building a safe and sustainable domestic seafood supply. This is especially significant since wild capture fisheries have plateaued at less than 100 million metric tons per year since the 1990s. Sea Grant Extension has an important role in developing a robust, domestic aquaculture industry through their expertise in education, outreach and technology transfer. To this end, New Hampshire Sea Grant requires assistance to increase their aquaculture extension capacity to reach students, fishermen and marine entrepreneurs as well as to meet the growing demands for marine aquaculture in New England.
Recent growth in the shellfish industry exhibits this demand for aquaculture technology and practice with a 300% increase in N.H. alone. New aquaculture technologies being developed at the University of New Hampshire and N.H. Sea Grant that could facilitate seafood production include integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) technologies of Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) and sugar kelp (Saccharina laminaria). The lower trophic shellfish and seaweed species extract excess nutrients produced by the fish, which has ecosystem benefits. This type of small scale aquaculture system is user-friendly and well-suited for nearshore, protected environments. With support for N.H. aquaculture extension, IMTA technology can be transferred to Sea Grant colleagues, students, fishing communities and small seafood business operators in the region.
N.H. Sea Grant extension activities will continue to address farming opportunities for oysters, submerged longline growout of blue mussels and culture techniques for different seaweed species. New technology transfer projects will focus on helping fishermen at the Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative build land-based shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) farming capabilities to supplement their income. In addition, a sustainable aquaculture program will be developed at the Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island off the coast of Maine and N.H. so students can learn to grow their own seafood for the island community that could lead to a possible career in aquaculture.