Aquaculture Research Institute awarded NOAA grant to develop applied certificate program

The University of Maine’s Aquaculture Research Institute was selected to receive a $123,735 NOAA Fisheries grant through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to fund a pilot project to create an aquaculture certificate program, which will be open to all applicants with at least a high school degree.  

A total of five projects designed to support NOAA’s efforts to foster responsible aquaculture and seafood security in the United States received $575,000 in funding. 

UMaine’s project, “Aquaculture Workforce Development: Certificate in Applied Sustainable Aquaculture,” will pilot a low-cost aquaculture certificate program designed to address aquaculture industry workforce and extension needs in Maine by facilitating alternative career opportunities for traditional fishing communities.

The project also will incorporate ARI’s internship program, which pilots new internship models to meet workforce needs through industry and academic partnerships.   

The 12-credit Certificate in Applied Sustainable Aquaculture, coordinated through the ARI, will utilize the University of Maine System’s extensive aquaculture resources and educational expertise to create hands-on modules credentialed through the UMaine Division of Lifelong Learning (DLL), according to an ASMFC release. These new curriculum modules will focus on aquatic animal health, shellfish and finfish husbandry, recirculating aquaculture systems, and shellfish farming, and will expand to other topics as the program grows. 

This year, the Aquaculture Research Institute celebrates 10 years of service to Maine as a research resource and an objective authority on aquaculture. ARI is an interdisciplinary research institute that coordinates UMaine’s aquaculture facilities and resources, and is dedicated to advancing a sustainable aquaculture future in the state and beyond through its research, innovation, and education programs. Over the past decade, ARI expanded from two to 11 faculty affiliates in seven departments across three institutions. A grant from the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) helped make this possible, and also allowed over 100 students, faculty and partner researchers to complete more than 50 aquaculture projects in five years. 

The other institutions selected for ASMFC aquaculture pilot project funding are the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, North Carolina State University, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

The UMaine project also is supported by University of Maine System funds. 

Contact: Meggan Dwyer, 207.745.0834;