Invitation to join the Alaska Mariculture Alliance

Membership applications due by June 23, 2021                                                       

The Alaska Mariculture Task Force (Task Force) is inviting all those engaged in mariculture in Alaska to join the newly-formed Alaska Mariculture Alliance (AMA). The AMA is a private non-profit organization to be initiated in June 2021 with a mission to “develop and support a robust and sustainable mariculture industry, producing shellfish and aquatic plants for the long-term benefit of Alaska’s economy, environment and communities.”

The AMA is the successor organization to the Task Force and will help shape and coordinate the bourgeoning mariculture industry in Alaska. The Task Force, formed in 2016 by Governor Walker and re-authorized in 2018 with support by Governor Dunleavy, will sunset June 30, 2021. Work completed by the Task Force was guided by the Alaska Mariculture Development Plan (brief version here) and the Five-Year Action Plan. The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) facilitated the administrative role for the Task Force, and will continue to do so for the AMA.

“On behalf of the Task Force, we want to invite all those who are involved in or want to develop mariculture to consider being a Founding Member of the AMA, and to help shape the future of mariculture in Alaska,” Heather McCarty, Chair, Task Force. The application for Founding Membership should be returned by June 23, 2021. The Task Force will meet June 25 to accept applications for AMA membership and stand up the new organization.

AMA membership is available to all individuals, companies and entities working in the field of mariculture and/or interested in the development of the mariculture industry in Alaska. Full Members are any grower, harvester, processor, nursery or hatchery of shellfish or seaweed in Alaska, whether an individual, co-partnership, or corporation; regional or village corporations formed under ANCSA; tribes; community development quota (CDQ) groups; city or borough entities of the State of Alaska, and research entities. Shellfish and seaweed enhancement permit holders will be incorporated into AMA membership upon approval of enabling legislation. Initial dues are $75. Associate Members are supporting businesses or non-profits that are aligned with the purposes of the AMA, and do not vote. Initial dues are $50.

Alaska Seaweed Farm Start-up Training Program – Resources

AFDF thanks all partners who helped put on the 2020 and 2021 Alaska Seaweed Farm Start-up Training Program! Specifically, a big thank you goes out to Alaska Sea Grant, GreenWave, Blue Evolution, OceansAlaska, ALFA, NOAA, AMSEA, ADF&G, ADNR, DCCED, mariculture farmers and enthusiasts across Alaska. Most importantly, we thank all participants in the training programs for 2020-2021, we couldn’t have done it without you! This includes over 280 Alaskans in 2020 and 2021.

The goal of the program is to provide tools and training for those interested in starting their own mariculture farm in Alaska. AFDF are partners are continually looking for opportunities to expand the reach and effectiveness of mariculture trainings in Alaska, please stay tuned!

For now, please see below link with Alaska mariculture resources, including many useful handouts, publications, links and presentations from our 2020 and 2021 mariculture workshops. This is an amazing resource for any interested mariculture farmer in Alaska!

2020 & 2021 Alaska Mariculture Trainings Resources

Phase I of the Economic Analysis to Inform the Alaska Mariculture Initiative has been completed and can be viewed here. Phase I is a set of case studies which looks at examples of successful mariculture industries around the world and how they may relate to the development of Alaska’s industry. Presentations of the results of Phase I and other mariculture development topics have been given during the following meetings: United Fishermen of Alaska, Alaska Shellfish Growers Association, and Pacific Marine Expo. These PowerPoint Presentations, and additional supporting materials, are available on AFDF’s website. If you are interested in a presentation, please contact the AFDF office to discuss options. This initiative is funded by NOAA grant #NA14NMF4270058.

AFDF has also raised approximately $20,000 to match a grant proposal to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in order to produce Phases 2 and 3 of the Economic Analysis to Inform the AMI. These phases of economic analysis are important to help inform stakeholders and policy makers regarding development possibilities for mariculture in Alaska.

The Alaska Division of Economic Development completed the Alaska Shellfish Farm Size Feasibility Study which compares short and long-term profitability for oyster and/or geoduck farms of varying sizes.8

Regarding policy changes, the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) included mariculture in its list of priorities for projects to fund in NPRB’s 2016 RFP (see pages 3 and 13).

AFDF has also been working with Governor Walker’s Administration towards the creation of the Alaska Mariculture Task Force. Stay tuned for more information on this in the future.

Recent news articles on mariculture in Alaska: