Mariculture

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With over 30,000 miles of coastline with clean, pristine, nutrient-rich waters, mariculture is poised for significant growth in Alaska.  Mariculture, or the enhancement, restoration and aquatic farming of shellfish and aquatic plants, provides economic, environmental and cultural benefits to Alaskans.  As more Alaskans see the benefits and opportunities that mariculture hold, more communities are getting involved to learn about and develop mariculture from Southeast, Southcentral and Southwest Alaska, including the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.  The Alaska Mariculture Task Force’s goal is to grow $100 million per year mariculture industry in 20 years.  Since 2017, 64 new aquatic farm lease applications have been submitted to the state, which will double the number of farms, and increase the number of acres under cultivation by over 600%.  Farms are primarily growing Pacific oysters and seaweed, although research and development efforts are also underway for King crab, sea cucumber, geoduck, and blue mussels.  The first harvest of farmed seaweed occurred in 2017 and has since grown to approximately 500,000 pounds in 2020. 

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