eeBLUE Blog Series: Harvest Stories
Through the NOAA-NAAEE Collaborative Aquaculture Literacy mini-grants program, NAAEE supported partnerships sharing the mutual aquaculture literacy goals of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Education, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and National Sea Grant Office. These mini-grants provided informal learning institutions (e.g., aquariums), aquaculture industry (e.g., shellfish, finfish, seaweed farmers), and NOAA partners with support for the co-development of innovative educational experiences that explored aquaculture topics and supported the engagement and advancement of public aquaculture literacy.
Grant activities focused on the co-production and delivery of essential education and outreach resources to the target audiences served by understanding and discussing aquaculture topics related to their community.
"This work is helping to ensure that our coastal communities can continue to remain who we’ve always been—people who work on the water—and see seaweed farming as a tool for these communities, who are some of the most effected, to thrive in the face of climate change." —Jesse Baines, Chief Marketing Officer at Atlantic Sea Farms
"Ocean Farmers has provided a wonderful opportunity to develop evaluative thinking and aquaculture literacy among education staff, as well. Sorting activities were facilitated by a full range of educators, from entry-level interpreters with only a few weeks’ experience, to managers with decades of experience." —Emily Yam, Director of Learning and Public Engagement at the Aquarium of the Pacific
"As education and community involvement have become increasingly virtual, these hands-on events have provided participants with an opportunity to connect with local businesses, industries, and each other in a safe and meaningful way." —Kate Holcomb, Co-Founder/Director, Canopy Farms L3C, and Theo Willis, Owner at Kaskalos Sea Vegetables
"While the Sea Center staff work in the field of marine science and science education, many were unaware of the scale at which aquaculture facilities can operate and do so in a sustainable manner. Yet, the Sea Center practices abalone aquaculture on a small scale every day!" —Devin Spencer, Hatchery and Production Manager at TCAF
"The people here are integrally linked to Apalachicola Bay and its rich resources. However, after several years of changing water conditions, the wild harvest oyster industry collapsed and was declared a fisheries disaster in 2012. Numerous efforts are being employed to bring back the natural oyster beds, and oyster aquaculture has helped sustain this region so well known for its oysters." —Dr. Marcy Cockrell, biological administrator at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Aquaculture, and Anita Grove, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve
"Chefs shared their culinary passions on the demonstration stage, and aquaculture advocates discussed a variety of topics from the origins of shellfish aquaculture in New England, to kelp culture, to how shellfish aquaculture can mitigate the effects of climate change. There were oysters and smiles at every turn." —Emma Green-Beach, Executive Director and Shellfish Biologist at Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group, Inc
"Name something that is 30 feet long and 9 feet high and teaches us something about the ocean. The mind drums up visions of Orcas and giant squid, but these are the dimensions of the colossal new Offshore Aquaculture exhibit at the Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida." —Laura Tiu, Ph.D., UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant
"Can a better understanding of this industry improve the ability of businesses to expand, diversify, and succeed in aquaculture? Certainly, the future of aquaculture is complicated, but stories can contribute to understanding." —Nicole Wright, Aquaculture Extension Educator and LEARN Coordinator at Ohio Sea Grant
"Oyster aquaculture is a growing industry and is new to the state of Georgia. In 2019, new legislation was passed that allowed oyster aquaculture leases to become established. To help increase awareness of this new industry throughout the state, the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant partnered with the Georgia Aquarium and Oyster South to develop a mobile display to be used to teach on-site and off-site groups." —Thomas Bliss, director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s Shellfish Research Laboratory and Dodie Sanders, marine educator at Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant
"In Maine, aquaculture is a growing component of our working waterfronts, and teachers and sea farmers are working together to link classrooms to the coast, create new educational programming, and build job pathways on the water for younger generations." —Jaclyn Robidoux, Marine Extension Associate at Maine Sea Grant
Grantees of the eeBLUE Aquaculture Literacy mini-grant program built diverse, collaborative networks in ten communities across the United States, advancing aquaculture literacy and building power to advocate for aquaculture from coast to coast.