College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
AGNR Research


Congress recognized the opportunity for making significant progress in aquaculture development in 1980 by passage of the National Aquaculture Act (P.L. 96-362). Congress amended the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-113) in Title XIV of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 (P.L. 97-98) by granting authority to establish aquaculture research, development, and demonstration centers in the United States in association with colleges and universities, State Departments of Agriculture, Federal facilities, and non-profit private research institutions.

Five such centers have been established: one in each of the northeastern, north central, southern, western, and tropical/subtropical Pacific regions of the country. The 1990 Farm Bill (Food, Agriculture Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 - P.L. 101-624) has reauthorized the Regional Aquaculture Center (RAC) program at $7.5 million per annum.

As used here, a center refers to an administrative center. Centers do not provide monies for brick-and-mortar development. Centers encourage cooperative and collaborative aquaculture research and extension educational programs that have regional or national application. Center programs complement and strengthen other existing research and extension educational programs provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other public institutions. As a matter of policy, centers implement their programs by using institutional mechanisms and linkages that are in place in the public and private sector.

NRAC was established in February 1987. It serves as a focal point to assess needs, establish priorities, and implement research and extension educational programs in twelve states, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. NRAC also provides coordination of interregional and national programs through the National Coordinating Council for Aquaculture (NCC). The council is composed of the RAC directors and USDA aquaculture personnel.

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