When research is portrayed in popular media, it’s often depicted as a lonely experience: the solitary scientist in their lab who single-handedly makes a big discovery. In the real world, research is an ongoing process that typically involves the labor, commitment and collaboration of entire communities. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power — a research center with offices at UAA, UAF and UAS — is one of those communities.
New ocean-related jobs, investments and opportunities will be seeded by an ambitious Blue Pipeline Venture Studio that connects marine business entrepreneurs with the technology, contacts and finances they need to grow.
“The state’s blue economy includes anything that takes place on the water, most prominently the seafood industry, along with marine recreation, maritime research, waterborne transportation and much more,” said Garrett Evridge, a well-known fisheries economist previously with the former McDowell Group and new research director for the Venture Studio.
“There is significant opportunity to grow the Alaskan ocean economy,” he added. “That might come from refinement of existing industries, getting more value out of salmon, for example, or support for new industries like growing seaweeds, or just being prepared for opportunities that aren’t even on the radar. Like what’s going to happen in 10, 20 or 30 years. What can we do now to position ourselves for success? We have a lot of challenges and opportunities that we know are headed our way, like climate change and ocean acidification. What’s our plan for those? It’s part of growing a culture that can embrace change and identify opportunities.”
The “Young Fishermen’s Development Act” was signed into law on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. The goal of the act is to “preserve United States fishing heritage through a national program dedicated to training and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen.” The bill received bipartisan support and was championed by Reps. Young (AK), Moulton (MA), Golden (ME), Pingree (ME), and Radewagen (AS), and by Sens. Sullivan (AK), Murkowski (AK), Markey (MA), Collins (ME), King (ME), and Cantwell (WA).
The bill addresses challenges faced by new entrants in the fishing industry. Under the new law, competitive grants will support local and regional initiatives supporting fishermen across the nation. Eligible initiatives may include programs, workshops, and services for fishermen on a range of topics, including seamanship, marketing, fisheries management, and more. Implementation is anticipated in 2022 through the National Sea Grant Office.
This is a new series we are calling “DidYouKnow.” The project is designed to highlight university excellence and collaboration through storytelling and data. Our goal is to keep university stakeholders informed about the university’s key role in changing lives and shaping the state’s economy. These vignettes and personal stories illustrate the university’s many successes and the vital and profound impact it has on graduates and all Alaskans.