Do you want to start or expand your fish farm but you lack funds? If YES, here are 10 aquaculture organizations that can help you start and grow your business. Presently, there is an emerging trend in the aquaculture industry: the need for additional funding. As global demand for seafood continues to grow massively, the opportunity for aquaculture’s growth is constrained mostly by the need for adequate funding.

With the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimating that the world will need a breathtaking 40 million tons of seafood each year to support demand by 2030, the need for new sustainable aquaculture businesses and resources is becoming a priority.

Funding to this industry aside from helping groom new farmers will help address a variety of issues such as environmental monitoring, recirculating aquaculture systems, shellfish farming; alternative feeds for aquaculture, new species research, and offshore aquaculture.

For instance, to limit the impact of aquaculture farms on natural environments and native species’ gene pools, closed-contained systems are gaining support; however, land-based systems and floating solid-wall systems can be more expensive to maintain.

Also, fishmeal remains of the main food source used in aquaculture industry operations, but the production of fishmeal from wild-caught fish may be unsustainable. Hence, many operations and aquaculture organizations are looking to land-based ingredients—like cottonseed and vegetable proteins—as viable feed alternatives.

Nutritional additives and supplements that will go a long way to promote optimal health and growth rates in aquaculture stock are also being considered as part of the mix.

Government and private sector funding organisations have been steadily developing throughout 2017, with more growth on the horizon. Below are some organizations and funding programs that can help you start an aquaculture business in the United States.

10 Aquaculture Organizations That Can Help You Start or Grow your Business

1. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

This is a global specialist financial organization within the UN dedicated to funding projects that tackle poverty and food security problems around the world. With concise and strategic partnerships, the organization looks to reduce poverty and increase food security through funding and investment in agriculture and rural development.

Its partners include Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states; civil society organizations; UN agencies; bilateral and multilateral development agencies; international agricultural research centres; NGOs and foundations; policy research institutes and universities; regional organizations; and the private sector. IFAD also seeks to mitigate the effects of climate change on agricultural societies and promote sustainable farming systems.

2. Chinese Government Funding

For quite some time, the Chinese government have been backing the development of a deepwater aquaculture farm off the coast of China to the tune of $151 million dollars. Construction of five large Semi-submersible Spar Fish Farms started on January 1, 2018, with each farm measuring 12 meters high and 138 meters in diameter.

3. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offer three categories of funding programs:

  • Financial assistance: Direct loans for long-term financing—up to 25 years
  • Grants: A variety of grant programs, competitions, and initiatives
  • Other: Competitive grants, research programs, and cooperative agreement programs

4. Federal Government Grants

Note that applications for grants and loans from the federal government must be submitted through Grants.gov. Grants.gov is also a resource to search for grants, loans, and other federal application procedures including research, education, and extension proposals.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the managing partner for Grants.gov, an initiative that is having an unparalleled impact on the grant community. To learn more about Grants.gov and to determine if you are eligible for grant opportunities, you are advised to go to the Grants.gov website for information offered on this site.

5. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization.

Note that through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR allows small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. Also by including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

6. Farm Service Agency (FSA)

FSA assists agricultural producers, which includes aquaculture and landowners in achieving a high level of stewardship of soil, water, air, and wildlife resources on America’s farmland and ranches and provides a safety net to the American farmers.

The FSA administers Farm Loan Programs which provides direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loan programs to farmers, including farmers of aquatic animals, who are temporarily unable to obtain private,

The Agency also helps established farmers who have suffered financial setbacks from natural disasters, or whose resources are too limited to maintain profitable farming operations. The FSA makes and guarantees farm ownership and operating loans and provides technical management assistance to family farmers and ranchers.

Farm ownership loans may be used to buy, improve, or enlarge farms, including buildings, ponds, wells, and water systems. Farm operating loans may be used to pay for items needed for a successful operation such as farm and home equipment, feed, fuel, chemicals, and hired labour.

7. Economic Development Administration (EDA)

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s investment policy is designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States. This foundation works with two key economic drivers – innovation and regional collaboration.

Innovation is pertinent to global competitiveness, new and better jobs, a resilient economy, and the attainment of national economic goals. Regional collaboration is very critical for economic recovery because regions are the centres of competition in the new global economy and those that work together to leverage resources and use their strengths to overcome weaknesses, will fare better than those that do not.

8. SBA

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers small businesses with an array of financing. SBA provides free, individual, face-to-face, and internet counselling for small businesses, and low-cost training to nascent entrepreneurs and established small businesses in over 1,800 locations throughout the United States and US territories.

In addition, though it’s Office of Disaster Assistance, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest, long term loans that are direct from the federal government. These loans are only available where there is a disaster declaration and cover uninsured disaster related losses. Small aquaculture enterprises are eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

9. Farm Credit Administration (FCA)

The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) is an independent Federal agency that regulates and examines the banks, associations, and related entities of the Farm Credit System (FCS), including the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac). The FCS is renowned as the largest agricultural lender in the United States. It boasts of a nationwide network of lending institutions that are owned by their borrowers. It serves all 50 States and Puerto Rico.

The Farm Credit Administration’s sole mission is to ensure a safe, sound, and dependable source of credit and related services for agriculture and rural America. The FCA administers a Young, Beginning, and Small Farmer/Rancher Lending program to serve the credit needs of young, beginning, and small farmers and ranchers.

10. DOE

The DOE has Funding Opportunities for research and small businesses including aquaculture. The Office of Economic Impact and Diversity has information on doing business with the DOE, including viewing current business opportunities, registering to submit proposals, and obtaining information and guidance on the acquisition and financial assistance award process.

Note that the mission of Loan Program Office (LPO) is to accelerate the domestic commercial deployment of innovative and advanced clean energy technologies at a scale sufficient to contribute meaningfully to the achievement of our national clean energy objectives.

The LPO provides guaranteeing loans to eligible clean energy projects (i.e., agreeing to repay the borrower’s debt obligation in the event of a default), and by providing direct loans to eligible manufacturers of advanced technology vehicles and components including those used in aquaculture production.

These programs and organizations are verifiable platforms that can help a willing entrepreneur start an aquaculture business in the United States. Although more organizations may be lurking around due to the growing awareness and importance of aquaculture to human sustenance, these ones mentioned above are the ones to consider and take very serious.

Joy Nwokoro