Administered by the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the federal Regional Aquaculture Center (RAC) program offers a unique industry-academia partnership that serves as a cornerstone for federal funding of aquaculture-related research and development projects and demonstration activities of national or regional importance in the US.
Reliance upon industry representatives to identify problems facing aquaculture in each region allows the RACs to then use the best science and education expertise and facilities in the region to fund projects, thereby ensuring accountability and coordination of resources.
Amendments to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 provided for up to five regional aquaculture centers directed to perform aquaculture research, extension, and demonstration projects having a national or regional application. The five centers are:
The ability of the RACs to catalyze and engage industry participation to identify high priority regional needs and problems offers a regional model and a unique structure for federally funded programs. The Centers empower industry to direct federal investments in a timely manner to solve important problems in local and regional aquaculture.