James Currie is an Alaska Sea Grant State Fellow working with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Alaska Region Aquaculture Program in Juneau. James works with Alicia Bishop, the aquaculture coordinator for the NMFS Alaska Regional Office, to help facilitate aquaculture activities in the state. James is in the class of 2022 and 2023 fellows, as he will extend his fellowship through a second year.
He was initially drawn to the fellowship because of the variety of projects and diversity of skills involved. “I like being involved in a lot of different projects,” James said, “and my fellowship involves marine science, policy, and even communication work.”
In his fellowship, James assists with several NOAA Alaska Aquaculture Program initiatives. One of his assignments is to design and construct an educational seaweed tumble culture unit—an aquarium that can grow seaweed indoors—to bring aquaculture lessons directly into classrooms. He is also working on the launch of a new Aquaculture Opportunity Area initiative in Alaska by helping to coordinate state, tribal and stakeholder engagement.
“It’s been a privilege to learn so much about the Alaska aquaculture industry,” he said. “Aquaculture is an inspiring endeavor for creating sustainable food security in a way that has a low impact on Alaska’s coastal environments and resources. In the future, I hope I will be able to continue learning about, sharing, and promoting aquaculture in Alaska.”
One of his highlights so far is creating informational videos for the NMFS Aquaculture Program. “I particularly enjoyed creating videos,” said James. “We shot interviews with scientists and local mariculture farmers at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center Kodiak Laboratory, and then went out on the water with a camera in the pouring rain to see how seaweed farms work in action.”
James applied for the Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship as he was finishing his M.S. in marine biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has a background in science communication and filmmaking. He hopes to use the fellowship to help build a career that uses all of his various skills.
“The Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship was a great choice given my career goals,” said Currie. “While there are defined projects I work on, it’s also a flexible fellowship that gives fellows freedom to pursue their particular professional interests in Alaska.”