Aquaculture in Alaska
Shellfish farming and salmon ranching
Private non-profit (PNP) hatcheries, primarily owned by commercial salmon fishermen, support the fishery with releases of approximately 1.5 billion salmon smolt each year. In recent years, these smolt releases have contributed nearly 30 million fish annually to the commercial fishery.
New supplies of salmon from worldwide farming and strong wild runs in Alaska have reduced the market price, causing economic distress for the Alaska salmon fishery and PNP hatchery income.
How the Marine Advisory Program assists
The Marine Advisory Program is involved in PNP hatcheries in efforts to facilitate sharing of resources and information, and conduct a coordinated applied research program.
State law restricts aquatic farming to seaweeds and shellfish. Started as a fledging industry in the late 1970s, shellfish farming has been revitalized with passage of the Alaska Aquatic Farm Act in 1988. Since 1988, the aquatic farming industry has grown from a single farmer to over 60 farms. In 2002, the State of Alaska passed legislation intended to increase the number of shellfish farms and the variety of species available for farming.
The Marine Advisory Program's aquaculture mission is to provide support for the rapidly expanding shellfish farming industry and provide technical assistance to the salmon ranching effort.
The Sea Grant network has established a National Seaweed Hub to serve as a science-based, non-advocacy resource for the domestic seaweed and seaweed aquaculture industry. This collaboration provides a framework to share information, address challenges, identify needs, and find opportunities in this emerging industry.
Download the Seaweed Hub report for seaweed parameter testing resources.
The Alaska Mariculture Research and Training Center is building partnerships and leveraging resources to facilitate and coordinate training, research and dissemination across disciplines, including biology, engineering, economics, marketing, and food sciences, for better success of industry and community development and to improve mariculture management. AMRTC is an affiliate of the Alaska Mariculture Alliance, and coordinates among public and private mariculture research, training and development organizations; state and federal agencies; and Tribal entities in Alaska.
The Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Portal is a step-by-step resource for potential and existing aquatic farmers in Alaska. The portal guides you through the necessary steps to receive state and federal authorizations for a new aquatic farm, or authorization renewal, amendment, or transfer for existing farms. A companion printable Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Guide PDF is also available.
Alaska Sea Grant hosted the 2023 Mariculture Conference of Alaska. Video recordings of most of the presentations are available on-demand at the Alaska Sea Grant YouTube channel—2023 Mariculture Conference of Alaska. To find topics of interest, see the agenda available from the event page.
We are hosting the Access to Capital for Mariculture Businesses webinar series in collaboration with the Kodiak Archipelago Leadership Institute to share information about sources of capital for starting and expanding mariculture operations. Visit the site for information, dates, registration, and recordings.
We have compiled a directory of farms and retailers in Alaska that sell or ship Alaska-grown seaweed or shellfish products. Alaska seafood, whether grown or wild harvest, comes from pristine waters and is prized as some of the highest quality seafood in the world.
Alaska Sea Grant and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are inviting Alaska stakeholders to provide input regarding a federal Aquaculture Opportunity Area (AOA) designation program that has the…
Grilling is an easy way to enjoy fresh or frozen oysters at home. Oysters can be grilled whole in the shell, or shucked and grilled in the half-shell on a…
Alaska Sea Grant’s Alaska Shellfish and Seaweed Growers Project is launching a recipe series to celebrate National Seafood Month and highlight tasty dishes you can make at home from mariculture…
As part of the Alaska Shellfish and Seaweed Growers Project, we’re highlighting various mariculture crops from around the state with a “Meet Your Alaskan Farmer” video series. In this first installment, you’ll meet one of Alaska’s 60 mariculture farmers, Meta Mesdag from Juneau, Alaska, who recently started Salty Lady Seafood Company.
Alaskans who love fresh Alaska seafood will be happy to hear that Alaska Sea Grant has begun development of an online directory of farms and retailers that sell Alaska-grown shellfish and seaweed, locally or through mail order.
Alaska Sea Grant recently surveyed the Alaska mariculture industry to shed light on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on their businesses in February and March. Survey respondents…
Alaska Sea Grant has received new federal funds to help develop aquaculture projects in Alaska and to work with partners on regional and national priorities. It’s part of a $16 million award from National…
The Kodiak Archipelago Leadership Institute is offering a free, two-day workshop “Introduction to Mariculture in the Kodiak Region,” funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For the past…
Demand for seaweed like kelp has grown over the past five decades, and mariculture produces more than 96 percent of the world’s supply of seaweed products, currently valued at $4-5 billion, according to a 2017 report from Alaska Sea Grant.
An Alaska oyster farmer on Prince of Wales Island is hoping that a new device he spent years helping to design will increase his oyster farming productivity and prove useful…
Learn more about aquaculture
Find aquaculture-related books and more in our bookstore. For more information about Alaska's aquaculture industry, please contact Melissa Good.
Mariculture Specialist, Kodiak
Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center coordinator