Alaska’s remote coastal areas and pristine waters make it an ideal place to farm marine shellfish. Pacific oysters, littleneck clams, and mussels make up the majority of Alaska’s aquatic farm products, while the farming of finfish is prohibited. Aquatic farms are located mainly along the vast coastline of the southeast and southcentral regions of Alaska.
Alaska’s aquatic farming industry is young. In 1988, the Aquatic Farm Act was signed into law authorizing the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to issue permits for the construction and operation of aquatic farms and hatcheries that would supply aquatic plant or shellfish seed stocks to aquatic farms. The intent of the program is to create an industry that contributes to the state’s economy, strengthens the competitiveness of Alaska seafood in the world marketplace, broadens the diversity of products, and provides year-round supplies of premium-quality seafood.
Within ADF&G, the Division of Commercial Fisheries, Aquatic Farming carries out the statutory and regulatory responsibilities of the department pertaining to aquatic farming in Alaska.