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Southeast Conference

Build Back Better Regional Challenge Winner

Coalition Lead Applicant: Southeast Conference

Project Title: Alaska Mariculture Cluster

Region (applicant-defined): Coastal Alaska (Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula, Southwest Alaska)

Coalition Overarching Narrative (applicant submitted) (PDF)

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Phase 2 Federal Award: Approximately $49 million

Project Description:
The Alaska Mariculture Cluster, led by Southeast Conference, will receive approximately $49 million to catalyze a sustainable mariculture industry, producing shellfish and seaweed for the long-term benefit of Alaska’s economy, environment, and communities. Following a five-year planning journey, Alaska’s emerging mariculture industry – grounded in the region’s abundant coastlines and existing labor force – is well positioned to meet international and domestic private interest in this sector. However, it has lacked the initial, catalytic investment needed to ensure those resources do not flow elsewhere. EDA funding will support a collection of complementary projects designed across the value chain and in partnership with Sealaska, a for-profit Alaska Native Corporation owned by more than 23,000 Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian shareholders, ensuring the cluster’s approach centers the priorities of tribal, rural, and other underserved communities. These projects include Equipment & Technology for Seed Supply, Processing, and Regulatory Testing to solve the nursery/hatchery supply and demand challenge, and a Revolving Loan Fund to support business expansion — with approximately half of the total loan amount targeted towards Indigenous and rural populations. Other projects include workforce development efforts (e.g., cooperative programs with the region’s tribes), and R&D funding to grow innovative seaweed and shellfish products.

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