Federal and state grants totaling over $1 million will be used by Alaska Sea Grant to establish a statewide network of citizen scientists to track the spread of marine invasive species; conduct an instruction and training program aimed at jump-starting the shellfish farming industry; and launch an effort to collect better information about marine mammals that strand on the state’s coast.
Ray RaLonde, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program (MAP) aquaculture specialist, received a two-year, $284,000 grant from the National Sea Grant Program and Alaska Sea Grant to reinvigorate the state’s sluggish shellfish farming industry.
Gary Freitag, the Alaska Sea Grant MAP agent based in Ketchikan, received a two-year, $599,975 grant from the National Sea Grant Program, Alaska Sea Grant, the Aquatic BioInvasion and Policy Institute, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. The grant will be used to train local citizen scientists in 30 coastal communities who will serve as the backbone to a new statewide marine invasive species monitoring and detection program. The citizen scientists will conduct field-based observations, using standardized and established protocols, to search for invasive marine species.
Kate Wynne, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program marine mammal specialist based in Kodiak, received a two-year, $137,000 grant from the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources and Alaska Sea Grant. Wynne will use the grant to train and equip MAP agents to respond to marine mammal strandings and to collect data and tissue samples over the next two years.