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Developing a Blueprint for a Southeast Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Training Center

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium was awarded funding this opportunity from the Food from the Sea initiative, a funding program developed by the National Sea Grant Office to plan for upcoming opportunities associated with the Young Fishermen Development Act passed in December of 2020.

About the Project

The South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium hosted a McClellanville town meeting on October 13, 2021 to discuss a future training program for commercial fisheries workforce development.

In partnership with the Town of McClellanville, the McClellanville Community Foundation, the McClellanville Watermen Association, Clemson University, and Robin Payne Consulting, the Consortium was awarded a grant from the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program to examine the feasibility of such a training program. The purpose of the grant is to develop a training center blueprint that would address fisheries workforce training needs in the Southeast region of the U.S. The blueprint (a feasibility study/ business plan) will be the culminating product of a six-month study involving workshops and focus groups with South Carolina’s commercial fishing sector and key representatives in McClellanville, as well as a learning exchange with an existing fisheries training center.

This project explores critical questions necessary to advance a training center, addressing subjects such as: the justification of a training center, based on costs and benefits; the organizational structure of a training center; identifying fishing and aquaculture industries benefiting most from training programs (ex. shrimp trawling, oyster mariculture, soft-shell crab shedding, charter fishing, etc.); determining key technical skills to be addressed through training (ex. business management, engineering and technology, navigation, shellfish culture techniques); and investigating scientific, managerial, and legal considerations.