New Alaska aquaculture permitting portal and guidance document

Current and prospective aquatic farmers in Alaska have a valuable new resource to guide them through submitting, amending, renewing or transferring an aquatic farm application. NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region and Alaska Sea Grant have launched a web portal and printable manual to assist applicants with the aquatic farm leasing and permitting process.

Aquaculture permitting website image

The complex multi-agency permitting process was identified by the Alaska Mariculture Task Force as a significant barrier to growth in this emerging industry. Alaska Sea Grant and NOAA responded with the development of these resources, as part of a broad effort to support and grow the industry.

Front cover of Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Guide

Alaska’s mariculture industry, which includes shellfish and seaweed farming (and excludes finfish farming, which is illegal in the state of Alaska), is thought to have substantial economic potential. The state task force set the goal to grow it to a $100 million industry by 2038. Since 2016, 73 aquatic farm applications have been submitted. Approval of these applications could increase the area designated for production nearly tenfold.

Mariculture opportunities are tailor-made for Alaska and its workforce. Alaska’s rich and productive waters are well suited for growing shellfish and seaweed, Alaskans are skilled in maritime activities, and Alaska’s robust commercial fishing infrastructure can help support the mariculture industry. Mariculture can benefit coastal ecosystems through habitat protection and restoration, mitigating ocean acidification and pollution, and supporting fish populations. It benefits Alaskans with sustainable food production and green jobs.

The new website and manual were developed with input and oversight from state and federal permitting agencies, and provide not only step-by-step guidance through the permitting process, but also information on choosing a farm site, resources for growers, and an overview of governance of aquaculture in Alaska.

These resources are being released in time for the 2022 application cycle.

On December 2, Alaska Sea Grant will host NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Aquaculture Coordinator Alicia Bishop for a free webinar to introduce and explain the permitting portal and guide and how to use them.If you need additional assistance or have questions, please contact Alaska Sea Grant’s mariculture specialist Melissa Good.

Access the new aquaculture resources

Visit the Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Portal.

Order or download the Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Guide (2021) from the Alaska Sea Grant online bookstore.

Register for the Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Portal and Guidance webinar, 11am, Thursday, December 2, 2021.