AFDF Seeks Proposals for Alaska Mariculture Initiative

The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation
is seeking proposals for its Alaska mariculture initiative, an economic
analysis to inform a statewide strategic plan for enhancement, aquatic farming
and restoration of shellfish and marine plants. 
According to AFDF, the economic impact of mariculture could grow to $1
billion in Alaska by 2045, given a coordinated effort, a pubic-private
partnership, and a strategic plan designed to reach this goal.
The deadline for proposals is Sept.

Proposals will be judged on knowledge and
understanding of the project, experience with similar projects, demonstration
of capacity to complete everything within the required time, and cost, said
Julie Decker, executive director of the organization.

AFDF will fund the project with a $216,000
grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

AFDF notes that the ex-vessel value of
Alaska seafood in 2012 was some $2 billion, and of that salmon hatcheries
contributed roughly $100 million to $300 million, depending on the year.

Challenges acknowledged by AFDF include the
fact that they will be dealing with extremely remote sites which increase costs
and logistics, infrastructure investment, lack of organizational capacity, lack
of workforce which will require recruitment and training, regulatory hurdles
and environmental issues, including sea otter predation and ocean

An example of success in wild fishery
enhancement, shellfish farming and restoration operations has been found in
several areas of the world, from New Zealand, to British Columbia, as well as
Washington state and Alaska, AFDF said.

In Washington state alone, 3,200 people are
employed with $27 million in payroll, more than $100 million in annual sales,
providing a total economic contribution of $270 million, the report said.   In Alaska, meanwhile, salmon enhancement has
produced millions of dollars in ex-vessel value each year since 201, and
hatcheries have repaid most initial loans to the state with interest, the
report said.

information on the project is at