eeBLUE Aquaculture Literacy Mini-Grants Program

Grid-like collage featuring four photos, from left to right, oysters in a line, aerial view of an aquafarm, an aquaculture farmer holding a fish in a net, and a column of abalone

With the eeBLUE Aquaculture Literacy Mini-Grant program, NAAEE is driving significant change for a second time! We are supporting partnerships with the common goal of aquaculture literacy set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Education, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the National Sea Grant Office. The nine mini-grants awarded will provide more than just financial support; they catalyze innovative educational experiences focused on aquaculture topics and promote public aquaculture literacy in eight states. These grants empower nonformal learning institutions (like aquariums), the aquaculture industry (such as shellfish, finfish, and seaweed farmers), and NOAA partners to make a tangible impact on our understanding of aquaculture. From "Agriculture in Aquaculture” to "Empowering Ocean Stewards," these grantees are helping to support a blue planet!


Illustrations of various sea weeds frame the text in the center that says, "Aquaculture Literacy Mini-Grants Program 2024 Awardees" against a dark green background

Press Release

Exciting news! The winners of the eeBLUE Aquaculture Literacy Mini-Grants Program have been selected. These grants will support engaging educational experiences and promote public understanding of aquaculture.

Congratulations to the 2024 eeBLUE Aquaculture Literacy Mini-Grant Program Awardees!

Maryland Sea Grant

Aquaculture in Action, Multi-state Collaboration

Maryland Sea Grant is leveraging lessons learned and best practices from their highly successful Aquaculture in Action program to tackle barriers to teaching aquaculture within agricultural sciences. In collaboration with National Council for Agricultural Education (The Council), University of Maryland Extension, Wisconsin Sea Grant, and formal STEM educators in the Carroll County Public Schools system, the project is offering collaborative summer workshops to help Agricultural Science teachers integrate aquaculture into their curricula. Partners from the sustainable seafood industry will also help update lesson materials and provide guidance to make aquaculture education engaging and relevant. The program aims to educate teachers and students on the importance of aquaculture and various career opportunities in the field.

Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center

Farmers MAI-KIT (Maine Aquaculture Innovation Kitchen): Interactive, live-streamed cooking classes feat. Maine Chefs, Farmers, and aquaculture products, Walpole, Maine

The Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, in partnership with NOAA Fisheries Milford Lab, Maine Sea Grant, and the Maine aquaculture and culinary communities, is launching four live-streamed, interactive cooking webinars focused on New England seafood. Each webinar will feature a local chef, an aquaculture farmer, and one species of farmed seafood, providing educational experiences to connect Maine residents with their local aquaculture sector. Viewers can cook along with the chef, with recipes and ingredient lists posted in advance on the project’s webpage, hosted on the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center website. The initiative emphasizes collaboration, inclusivity, and diverse partnerships, following environmental education principles and the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Guidelines for Excellence.

North Carolina Sea Grant

Advancing Shellfish Mariculture Literacy in North Carolina, Across North Carolina

In partnership with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association, and led by North Carolina Sea Grant, this project aims to engage the next generation in the role of marine aquaculture (mariculture) in North Carolina. It will integrate new and existing learning tools with education partners such as aquariums, high school teachers, and the public through seafood festivals and events. Building on the success of the North Carolina Oyster Trail—which educates visitors about local shellfish sources and sustainability—the project aims to sustain and grow the North Carolina oyster industry. Their activities will ultimately benefit the state's seafood industry and communities economically, environmentally, and socially. Activities include developing two mariculture lesson plans aligned with North Carolina science standards and Career and Technical Education programs, and creating a mobile shellfish mariculture photo and video display, debuting at the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island. The display will highlight the diversity of industry leaders in the state, showcasing various ages, races, and genders.

Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center

From Hatchery to Habitat-How Conservation Aquaculture Benefits the Bay, St. Petersburg, Florida

A partnership between Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, Mote Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program, and NOAA’s Southeast Regional Aquaculture Coordinator is leveraging the expertise of informal educators, the aquaculture industry, and NOAA to showcase locally-relevant examples of conservation aquaculture. This collaboration will result in an exhibit at Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center in Florida, introducing broader aquaculture topics to their visitors such as sustainable seafood production. The exhibit aims to advance domestic aquaculture objectives by enhancing public aquaculture literacy through informal learning.

Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group

Expanding Social License for Public and Private Aquaculture on Martha's Vineyard, Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group (MVSG) and their partners at the West Tisbury Free Public Library and Honeysuckle Oysters are collaborating to increase public acceptance and participation in aquaculture on Martha’s Vineyard. This community education initiative is using informal learning to strengthen connections among aquaculture stakeholders and trusted community hubs. The library will offer free aquaculture and environmental science programs with biologists, MVSG will further its mission of preserving and enhancing aquaculture, and Honeysuckle Oysters will increase industry visibility by engaging with the public. The program is following the North American Association for Environmental Education’s best practices for environmental learning, and involves former island resident and aquaculture specialist Zachary Gordon (now Connecticut Sea Grant) to create high-quality, place-based hands-on learning experiences for diverse audiences.

University of New Hampshire

Developing and Piloting an Aquaculture Podcast to Enhance Aquaculture Literacy in the Northeast, Durham, New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire, in collaboration with aquaculture industry members and researchers, is piloting a podcast for aquaculture literacy. The podcast episodes will provide an accessible and engaging platform to discuss aquaculture topics, answer questions, and present various perspectives. The first episode will be a free live event at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, covering topics from aquaculture research to culinary tips. Future topics and guests will be announced in advance so the public can submit questions, and recorded episodes will be available on digital platforms. This informal, interactive approach aims to engage diverse audiences and provide listeners with tools for making sustainable seafood choices.

South Carolina Aquarium

Increasing Oyster Aquaculture Awareness in Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina Aquarium, in partnership with Charleston Oyster Farm, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, is launching an initiative to educate the public about the benefits of oyster aquaculture and the differences between farmed and wild oyster harvesting methods. The initiative includes experiential learning tours at an oyster farm, tailored for different age groups, and a public panel discussion and shucking demonstration. Interviews with panelists will be shared on social media, and resources created will build on the efforts of the South Carolina Aquarium’s Good Catch Program. These activities aim to connect local audiences, who rarely engage with the oyster farming supply chain, with industry workers and provide educational experiences. The project will also make oyster farm tours more accessible and affordable, adding an educational component often missing from high-end tours. Special tours will be offered for the Maryville community, the first self-governed African-American community in South Carolina.

Saltwater Classroom

Empowering Ocean Stewards: Restorative Aquaculture and Inclusive Oyster Farming Education, South Portland, Maine

Saltwater Classroom and Nauti Sisters Sea Farm, in partnership with Maine Sea Grant, are creating interactive experiences for third- to sixth-grade students in Southern Maine. Their accessible and engaging oyster curriculum will combine nature-based learning and digital tools to foster curiosity, community, and exploration. This curriculum will enhance knowledge of oyster biology, ocean ecosystems, food systems, and climate change through activities that build problem-solving skills and real-world confidence. Aligned with the Ocean Literacy Framework and the Next Generation Science Standards, the program emphasizes connection to nature, ocean stewardship, and a sense of local and global community. By nurturing ocean and aquaculture literacy, partners aim to empower young learners with essential environmental understanding, change-making behaviors, and exciting future possibilities.

IBSS Corp.

Tide to Table, Farm to Food: Exploring the Merrior of Ocean-Farmed Seafood, Washington

IBSS Corp., in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Regional Office and Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and Jamestown Seafood, is developing an interactive curriculum to explore how ocean-farmed seafood is produced and how these methods influence taste, texture, and overall dining experience. The curriculum and corresponding traveling educational experiences will inform consumers about the origins and qualities of their ocean-farmed seafood. Through informal education, consumers will learn about the ocean farming process and gain the knowledge needed to form their own conclusions for seeking sustainable seafood. This traveling lecture and demonstration program also aims to connect aquaculture producers and consumers, showcasing the journey from farm to kitsch to plate. It will feature cooking demonstrations, accessible recipes, and informal lectures for culinary students and professionals and the general public.


Three students transfer oysters from a blue bucket into a black mesh cage.

Immerse yourself in the inspiring stories of the 2021 grantees!