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Sustainable Aquaculture Systems- Supporting Atlantic Salmon (SAS2)

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The Sustainable Aquaculture Systems- Supporting Atlantic Salmon (SAS2) program is a US/global partnership between academia and industry that will use a transdisciplinary, integrative systems-approach to foster the development of transformative, environmentally sustainable, and economically feasible Atlantic salmon farming in the US.

Currently, 95% of salmon consumed in the US are imported, contributing $3.4B annually to our trade deficit. SAS2 combines research, education, and extension to address the major challenges to the success of a rapidly emerging innovative platform of salmon farming - Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) that are land-based and fully contained.

In collaboration with, and support of, major US RAS stakeholders, leading aquaculture scientists will carry out research focusing on stakeholder-identified impediments to the expansion of this industry, including seed production, ecologically responsible feeds, increased water recirculation/re-use, minimized waste, improved product quality, and economic analyses. UWSP NADF will specifically be investigating out of season spawning of Atlantic salmon to develop procedures that can be utilized by industry for egg production throughout the year.

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UWSP NADF and additional aquaculture educators will develop RAS-related STEM curricula and modules at multiple education levels and focus efforts on the urgent need to develop a trained workforce for the growing industry. Aquaculture extension agents will work with industry to increase public awareness of this new form of farming, engage with local communities, enable efficient technology transfer and ensure fish health and seafood safety. Addressing the sustainable agricultural intensification and value-added innovations goals of the USDA/AFRI/SAS program, SAS2 is expected to improve sustainable US aquaculture and food systems and enhance life for fish farmers and society.


To accomplish the research, education and extension goals, this project combines experts from across the country including:

-University of Maryland Baltimore County (Lead)

-University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility

-University of Maine

-USDA-National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center

-University of Maryland

-Maryland Sea Grant

-The Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute

-University of Wisconsin-Sea Grant

-Marine and Freshwater Institute

-Morgan State University


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The strength of SAS2 is that it builds and expands upon the prior capacity-building work of the Recirculating Aquaculture Salmon Network (RAS-N), (photo above) a national, public-private partnership funded by NOAA National Sea Grant. This 'theoretical' consortium, which is not an R&D program but rather a network of experts focused solely on identifying problems and devising strategies/approaches to resolve them, has been working over the last 2 years with the overall objective of building capacity for the emerging US salmon RAS industry. Specifically, RAS-N partners, including UWSP NADF, have been engaged in analyzing RAS technology barriers, prioritizing R&D needs, and developing concepts, plans and mechanisms for education, outreach, workforce development, extension, public-private partnerships, technology transfer, and community engagement. A critical aspect of RAS-N is that activities and deliverables are stakeholder-driven. Through the active participation of the US land-based Atlantic salmon companies on our RAS-N committees, working groups, and dedicated sessions, to develop a (stakeholder-driven) national priorities & strategy plan addressing all the challenges to the industry.

The proposed SAS2 research objectives are the consensus and ranked outcomes of our RAS-N workshops, focused working groups, and deliberations that included stakeholders and academic partners. Similarly, the proposed SAS2 education and extension activities implement the consensus programs and mechanisms suggested by the RAS-N experts, working closely with the salmon aquaculture industry.



Atlantic salmon in RAS tank at UWSP NADF (top photo).

UWSP NADF Assistant Director/Research Programs Manager, Greg Fischer samples Atlantic salmon broodstock at UWSP NADF (midde photo) CR: Narayan Mahon, Wisconsin Sea Grant.

The Recirculating Aquaculture Salmon -Network at workshop hosted by UWSP NADF (bottom photo).

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