April 9, 2014
The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) is gearing up to launch an Alaska mariculture initiative, which it says has the potential to create a $1 billion industry.
“It may take 20 years to get to this point, but it’s very doable,” Julie Decker, who took over as executive director of the AFDF from Jim Browning earlier this year, told Undercurrent News.
AFDF recently won one of ten recommendations for grant awards out of a pool of 250 applicants. Its recommended award of $216,812 – to be finalized after basic cost and legal analysis – comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program, and it launches a development project that has been in the works since March of 2013.
“What we’re hoping to do is put the bigger picture spotlight of the potential of mariculutre [aquaculture in saltwater] in Alaska to not just look at it as private aquatic farms but also enhancement of shellfish fisheries and restoration projects,” Decker said.