The Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC), headquartered at University of Maryland, College Park, is one of five Regional Aquaculture Centers established by the U. S. Congress for the United States. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at an annual level of approximately $700,000, and representing 12 states and the District of Columbia, NRAC develops and sponsors cooperative regional research and extension projects in support of the aquaculture industry in the northeastern United States.
A Board of Directors representing the region's aquaculture industries, academic institutions and government agencies, provides overall direction and management of NRAC. Research and extension priorities are established by a Technical-Industry Advisory Committee (TIAC) consisting of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)and an Industry Advisory Committee (IAC). The Technical Advisory Committee includes key aquaculture researchers and extension agents in the region, while the Industry Advisory Committee represents principal commercial aquaculture interests in the Northeast.
NRAC lies at the heart of 21st century expansion and diversification of a northeastern aquaculture industry, which will grow by using advanced production technologies to compete in the global marketplace. NRAC will aid the industry to become economically viable and environmentally sustainable, helping aquaculture to become a significant component of Northeast agriculture and an essential complement to wild capture fisheries. NRAC will catalyze the economic development of an industry that comprises open and closed, fresh and salt-water systems-producing a wide array of fish, shellfish and other aquatic organisms-supported by progressive public and private research and development.
NRAC is a principal public forum for the advancement and dissemination of science and technology needed by Northeastern aquacultural producers and support industries. NRAC facilitates regional stakeholder communications-linking industry and government representatives to university scientists and educators-guiding and stimulating regional research and outreach initiatives. NRAC focuses on science and education that will have a direct impact on attaining long-term public benefits through enhanced aquacultural development in the region. NRAC-sponsored projects emphasize science and education to stimulate growth of the industry-measured in size and numbers of aquacultural enterprises-through development and dissemination of profitable and environmentally benign technologies.