Sustainable American Aquaculture Grants

The Sustainable American Aquaculture program from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is intended to advance innovative research in sustainable fish and shellfish production. Aquaculture has the potential to provide millions of Americans with nutritious foods while contributing to the economic health of communities across the country. The objective of this RFA is to stimulate innovative research in farmed production of fish and shellfish, providing economic opportunities to U.S. farmers and increasing the supply of domestically-produced, nutritious foods to meet growing consumer demand.  Pre-proposals due August 9, 2017.

Scientific research in this area has typically been funded at low levels compared to other agricultural commodities, however as the industry grows, research will play a critical role in understanding the biology and marketability of a variety of fish and shellfish species and in developing environmentally-friendly practices that sustain production.

The Sustainable American Aquaculture program will bring together major stakeholders from the public and private sectors to support the aquaculture industry.

There is a major need to understand the biological and technological barriers, and market potential for a diverse range of aquatic species. In addition, research focused on understanding and minimizing potential environmental impacts of aquaculture production will be key to public acceptance of farmed fish and shellfish products, an important consideration for long-term industry success.


Applicants to the Sustainable American Aquaculture Program must address at least one of the following program priorities, and that connection must be explicit in the application along with metrics to measure success of the research program:

The overarching goal of this RFA is to support innovative research necessary for further development of sustainable aquaculture in the United States.

FFAR is committed to supporting research on the following topics:

1) Genomics and breeding of less-commonly studied shellfish species (e.g. mussels, clams, scallops) for improved performance parameters. Farmed shellfish such as mussels have high feed conversion efficiency, reproduce quickly and can be grown and harvested with minimal environmental impact. Shellfish may also provide important ecosystem services such as water filtration and increased biodiversity around cultivation beds. Investigating shellfish genetics and breeding for improved performance has the potential to yield substantial gains in the production of sustainable and nutritious protein sources.

2) Hatchery research including broodstock development and best early life-cycle production practices. Establishing a reliable and sufficient supply of high-quality eggs and larvae is critical for successful aquaculture production. Many biological and environmental factors such as nutrition, photoperiod, water conditions and timing of sexual maturation influence egg quality and time of spawning. Similarly, survival of larvae is impacted by environmental conditions, complex feeding protocols, stocking densities and other factors. Better understanding of early life-cycle stages will be important for ensuring a robust supply of animals for commercial stocking.

3) Market-based analyses for new species and/or production systems. One of the barriers to production of new species is comprehensive assessment of the potential costs and market demand, yields, substitutability and other factors that influence commercial feasibility and decision-making. FFAR intends to fund socio-economic and market-based research for new species and production systems, and will use best efforts to support topics not currently supported by other federal agencies.


Research topics NOT covered by this initiative:

· Molecular mechanisms of pathogen transmission, pathogenicity, disease resistance, breeding for disease resistance or evaluation of therapeutics (e.g. pre- and pro-biotics, feed additives or drugs).

· Food-safety related research, traceability and seafood fraud

· Oyster genetics and breeding


Funding Opportunity Announcement
June 9, 2017

Pre-Proposal Submissions Open
July 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM ET
Full RFA posted on this date

Pre-Proposal Submission Deadline
August 9, 2017 at 4:59:59 PM ET

Invited Applicants Notified
August 30, 2017 at 4:59:59 PM ET
Full proposals open to invited applicants on this date. 

Full Proposals Deadline 
October 11, 2017 at 4:59:59 PM ET

Award Announcement 
December 2017

Anticipated Funded Projects Start 
January 2018


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