Building capacity of land-based Atlantic salmon aquaculture in the US

Principal Investigator:

Fredrika Moser

Start/End Year:

2019 - 2022


Maryland Sea Grant College

Co-Principal Investigator:

James Hurley, Wisconsin Sea Grant; Gayle Zydlewski, Maine Sea Grant; Yonathan Zohar,University of Maryland Baltimore County, Department of Marine Biotechnology


Strategic focus area:

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture


The recent exponential growth in established or planned US closed-containment Atlantic salmon production has been associated with over $1B investment into this aquaculture sector. The success of this dramatic expansion/investment in land-based, RAS salmon production requires a national, coordinated and interdisciplinary effort to ensure that current barriers are eliminated and efficiency and cost-effectiveness are attained. While major progress has been achieved in recent years in RAS technology, its scaling up may face biological, engineering, technological, economical and societal constraints that should be addressed via a fully integrated research, extension, outreach, education and workforce development network. This network will provide broad support, as well as guide future federal investment toward responsibly building the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry in the US. This proposal recognizes that we are at an important juncture requiring a solid and effective support base for the development of sustainable land-based RAS salmon producers. To provide this support base, we propose to establish a National Coordinated RAS Network (NCRN) focused on Atlantic salmon RAS aquaculture that will provide crucial support and a capacity-building framework to address current issues/pitfalls and promote success in US salmon RAS production.

To ensure the success of the recent dramatic expansion/investment in land-based salmon production, we propose to establish a coordinated national effort that will review and identify challenges and bottlenecks, and develop a road map and comprehensive strategic plan to address and overcome them. The Maryland, Wisconsin and Maine Sea Grant programs will spearhead the integration of the academic and industrial collaborators into a National Coordinated RAS Network (NCRN) that will support US salmon Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS).

Our program will be guided by the following specific aims:

  1. Solicit early stakeholder input regarding technology background and industry status to identify gaps, constraints and research needs.
  2. Develop a coherent plan for national research efforts to address identified constraints and industry needs.
  3. Determine economic feasibility of Atlantic salmon production in RAS.
  4. Undertake public outreach and education efforts.
  5. Implement targeted industry extension and technology transfer mechanisms that include information sharing tools, site visits, and technical assistance.
  6. Develop demonstration projects that provide the main concepts and innovations of sustainable RAS technologies/designs and utilize them for hands on training opportunities, educational and technical workshops and internship training programs.

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