Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to Invest Up to $5 Million in Strengthening the American Aquaculture Economy

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By Milthon Lujan

Washington, USA.- The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit organization established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, today announced a competitive research program to stimulate innovative research on farmed production of fish and shellfish. The U.S. imports up to 90 percent of the seafood consumed domestically and approximately half is produced by aquaculture, often from countries that do not have strict environmental and product safety standards.

FFAR will invest up to $5 million for research that will improve economic opportunities for U.S. farmers and increase the supply of domestically-produced, nutritious foods. Doubling U.S. aquaculture would result in 50,000 domestic jobs and a billion dollars of new value, according to a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration study.

Researchers will be invited to apply for the program on July 10, 2017 and be required to identify matching funds to be eligible for a grant. The Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar matching model will ensure that research proposals come with funding partners who are invested in delivering value and seeing measurable outcomes. The FFAR investment of up to $5 million in aquaculture research will be at least doubled.

“The United States has the resources and innovation necessary to support a thriving aquaculture economy here at home,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., executive director of FFAR. “The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is committed to addressing the global demand for nutritious, sustainable protein sources, and this competitive grant program announced today will bolster that potential.”

This Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research program will support the long-term success of farmed fish and shellfish products in the U.S. by accelerating solutions to industry challenges. Unmet research needs to be addressed through this program will focus on understanding biological and technological barriers to economic viability and the environmental impact of a diverse range of aquatic species. This is the second initiative within the FFAR Protein Challenge, a suite of research programs that supports producers’ efforts to meet the growing global protein demand while conserving natural resources.

“We greatly appreciate the leadership and innovative grant program that FFAR is offering to resolve biological and economic sustainability challenges,” said Jim Parsons, President, National Aquaculture Association. “We strongly believe this will assist in the production of even better US farm-raised fish and shellfish, increase on-farm productivity for U.S. aquaculturists, and strengthen rural and/or coastal economies.”

The Foundation is committed to supporting research on the following topics:

– Genomics and breeding of understudied shellfish species, including mussels, clams, scallops for improved performance parameters.

– Hatchery research, including best early stage life cycle production practices for commercial fish.

– Market-based analyses for new species and/or production regions.

Researchers will be invited to respond to a Request for Applications, to be available on the FFAR website on July 10, 2017.

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