SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Almost a million dollars in grant money will help statewide aquariums and other programs build more sustainable fish breeds and raise aquaculture awareness.
The funding of $750,000 was awarded to seven facilities by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The aquariums at Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, and on Roanoke Island in North Carolina will use the money to increase staffing on animal care teams and expand breeding programs.
“The team is committed to sustainably breeding species that are of value to public aquariums and commercial fisheries,” Hap Fatzinger, director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, said in a release. “This opportunity to put more resources into the aquaculture programs at the North Carolina Aquariums, especially in raising public awareness, is important to our mission to inspire appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments.”
Aquaculture includes breeding and rearing of fish, shellfish, and other organisms, the release noted. Fourteen finfish species will be part of the program. The goal is to help reduce pressure on wild populations, make marine habitats sustainable and engage the public regarding sustainable seafood choices.
Sharing in the grant award are the New England Aquarium, Roger Williams University, Aquarium of the Pacific, John G. Shedd Aquarium, National Aquarium, and University of Massachusetts Boston. Partners will contribute reproduction methods for other institutions that embark on similar programs and research. It also will launch interactive storytelling so the public can learn about aquaculture.
In partnership with North Carolina Sea Grant, the aquariums will engage aquarium visitors and local communities about important initiatives.
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