NOAA offices launch a new hub for aquaculture literacy

NOAA Fisheries, the National Sea Grant Office, and NOAA's Office of Education have worked together since 2017 to coordinate NOAA’s efforts supporting aquaculture literacy. In 2022, NOAA launched a new aquaculture literacy website to share updates on their efforts and enhance public understanding of aquaculture. This site provides a hub for the Community of Practice for Aquaculture Literacy, offers resources for educators and practitioners, and shares information about new mini-grant projects. 

A collage of photos each showing an activity from the eeBLUE aquaculture literacy mini-grants. Activities shown range from observing and tending to oysters to cooking seafood and talking with teachers.

eeBLUE aquaculture literacy awardees are partnering across sectors to offer everything from cooking classes with K-12 teachers to creating innovative aquarium exhibits, and more. Top (left to right): The Cultured Abalone Farm, Ohio Sea Grant, Canopy Farms and Kaskolos Sea Vegetables. Bottom (left to right): Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group, The Cultured Abalone Farm, Canopy Farms and Kaskolos Sea Vegetables! (Image credit: Photos courtesy of eeBLUE Harvest stories)

“We are thrilled to have a centralized space where NOAA offices can share outreach, education, and communications resources from our aquaculture programs and partners,” said Brianna Shaughnessy, Ph.D., communications specialist in NOAA Fisheries Office of Communications. “We look forward to continuing to update the website as NOAA and our partners develop and support innovations in sustainable seafood!”

Community of Practice for Aquaculture Literacy

Multiple NOAA offices, programs, and partners work together to conduct research in, manage, and educate the public about aquaculture. Each office contributes its own expertise for advancing sustainable aquaculture, and they connect regularly to share information and work together on overlapping priorities. In 2017, NOAA recognized the need to develop a centralized space to better connect these NOAA efforts with external partners across different sectors — including aquaculture industry members and aquarium educators — through a Community of Practice for Aquaculture Literacy (CoPAL). Learn more about the CoPAL logic model and the partnerships that make it possible. 

eeBLUE aquaculture literacy mini-grants

The eeBLUE aquaculture literacy mini-grants program is an exciting new pilot program that is supporting informal learning institutions, seafood farmers, and NOAA partners in co-developing innovative sustainable aquaculture experiences. Ten projects were awarded $15,000 each to develop aquaculture education, communication, and outreach programming. Collectively, these projects have reached 625 students, more than 300 educators, and more than 150,000 visitors to aquariums and informal education institutions hosting eeBLUE aquaculture literacy exhibits, from New England to the Great Lakes and California. Learn more about each project and read blogs written by grantees on the mini-grants section of the aquaculture literacy webpage. 

Resources for educators

The new site features content to help educators promote aquaculture literacy. Resources include everything from K-12 curricula and learning modules to teacher professional development opportunities. Anyone who’s interested can also sign up for the CoPAL listserv offsite link to receive the “Friday Harvest” of aquaculture literacy resources and stay up-to-date with events, funding, job opportunities, and education and communications tools.