Aquarium Awarded Funding for New Ocean Farming Public Education Initiative Through its Seafood for the Future Program

The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Seafood for the Future program and partners have been awarded $147,737 as part of the 2017 Sea Grant Aquaculture Initiative, the aquarium announced Tuesday.

Led by the aquarium, the project will involve the creation of a video series, and interactive and educational web-based content as part of a multi-channel communications strategy to educate the public about environmentally responsible sea farming, according to the release.

The collaborative project includes partnerships with USC Sea Grant, California Sea Grant, NOAA Office of Aquaculture, NOAA Fisheries, NOAA National Ocean Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, according to the release.

“We need to have food for two billion more people as the population grows over the next thirty years,” Kim Thompson, Seafood for the Future program manager said in a statement. “Responsible marine aquaculture provides a promising opportunity to supplement well-managed, wild fisheries to provide a healthy source of food with fewer environmental impacts relative to other animal proteins.”

The award is one of $9.3 million in grants awarded by Sea Grant to support 32 projects that fall under its initiative to advance aquaculture research, address barriers to aquaculture and expand aquaculture production.

“Public-private partnerships play a vital role in advancing our nation’s sustainable domestic aquaculture and increasing food security,” Jonathan Pennock, director of NOAA Sea Grant, said in a statement. “This effort will help to educate the public about America’s domestic aquaculture industry and demonstrate how aquaculture can contribute to a safe, sustainable, and stable seafood supply.”

Featuring experts and farmers, the aquarium will produce five short videos communicating the science behind aquaculture production, while humanizing scientists and farmers, addressing environmental concerns and the benefits of aquaculture and also showing audiences how to cook sustainable seafood dishes. The video series, and an app-based interactive platform, will be launched at the aquarium during National Aquaculture Week in September 2018.

“New educational materials will help students explore the scientific, cultural, and social context of sustainable seafood,” Linda Chilton, education programs manager at USC Sea Grant, said in a statement. “By reaching students, we are building community awareness of healthy nutrition, sustainable aquaculture, and fisheries careers.”

With more than half of the global seafood supply coming from farmed sources, about 90 percent of America’s seafood is imported. The U.S. which ranks 15th in the world for farmed seafood production, could produce an amount of seafood equivalent to the total harvested from global fisheries in an area the size of Lake Michigan, according to a recent study noted in the release.

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