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UMaine secures $2.25M RAS research fund

April 26, 2023  By  Nestor Arellano

(Image: University of Maine’s Aquaculture Research Institute)

The University of Maine Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI) has been awarded US$2.25 million per year of congressional programmatic funding for recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) research.

The funding represents a significant investment not only for the future of the RAS industry but for workforce development, as well. Several new full-time positions have been created through both the ARI and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), enhancing infrastructure at the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture (CCAR) and expanding the facility’s capabilities for cutting-edge research and development.

The money help establish ARI as a nationally recognized RAS research facility, focusing on shellfish and finfish species. Prioritized research includes the development of domestic broodstock, sustainable alternative feeds, the impacts of climate change, innovations in waste processing, reduction of environmental impacts, elimination of off-flavour compounds like geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (MIB), and overall more energy efficient systems at the CCAR, according to a press release from the university.


“This will allow ARI and USDA to continue work on improving Atlantic salmon reproductive inefficiencies. Low eye-up rates have plagued the salmon industry for the past 15 years. A new reproductive physiologist will be hired that will address these inefficiencies. In addition, a new fisheries biologist will be hired that will address off-flavour and water quality as it relates to salmon grown in RAS,” said Brian Peterson, Director of the National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center.

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