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Louisiana Sea Grant Receives $700,000 in Aquaculture Grants

Louisiana Sea Grant will receive nearly $700,000 in grants for sustainable marine and coastal aquaculture research.

A total of $11 million in aquaculture grants are being awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for 22 research projects across the country. The grants were awarded to address specific priorities of the 2018 Sea Grant National Aquaculture Initiative including supporting the development of emerging systems or technologies that will advance aquaculture in the U.S.; developing and implementing actionable methods of communicating accurate, science-based information about the benefits and risks of U.S. marine aquaculture to the public; and increasing the resiliency of aquaculture systems to natural hazards and changing conditions.

The projects, which will be conducted over a three-year period, include a 50 percent match by non-federal partners. One hundred proposals were submitted requesting a total in $48 million in federal grant funds.

Sea Grant’s investment in aquaculture research, outreach and education programs continues to produce results for coastal communities and their economies. Between February 2017 and January 2018, Sea Grant invested $11 million in aquaculture research, technology transfer, and outreach and reported $78 million in economic impacts, including support of 792 businesses and 1,387 jobs.

Louisiana Sea Grant projects funded are:

Decreasing mortalities of triploid eastern oysters in commercial grow-out in Gulf of Mexico estuaries
Jerome La Peyre, principal investigator, professor, LSU Department of Animal Science

Project Summary: This project seeks to decrease mortalities of triploid oysters at commercial farms in Louisiana and Alabama by breeding them from diploid oysters better adapted to local environmental conditions. This will result in improved economic performance of northern Gulf of Mexico oyster farms and the greater resiliency in the oyster farming community within the region. In addition, differential mortalities between triploids and diploids will be investigated and their potential cause(s) determined. Finally, the biological consequences of different energy allocation in triploid and diploid oysters will be determined using a recently developed dynamic energy budget model for eastern oysters.

Revitalizing and increasing resilience in soft shell crab aquaculture
Julie Anderson Lively, principal investigator, Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter fisheries specialist

Project Summary: This project’s goals are to increase survival of soft-shell blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) under changing conditions, increase participation in the industry and make the industry more resilient to natural hazards. The project’s objective are 1) to increase survival in crab shedding systems under changing conditions by experimentally measuring the role salinity has on the virus CsRV1, determining the best recirculated system to withstand changing conditions, partnering with industry to document their Best Management Practices and developing new management and handling practices where appropriate; and 2) exchange research results to the industry by determining startup costs, developing outreach materials, and sharing results through workshops in and beyond Louisiana.