Dear friend,

The power of the network is ever-present and incredibly visible this month – more than 9 million folks recently spoke out against industrial aquaculture AND an industrial fish farm was defeated in Frenchman Bay! See more details on both stories below. 

As we close out the month, we’re riding this wave of momentum and savoring this fresh breath of energy. We’ve got plenty of engagement opportunities, network news, and funding reminders below, so be sure to check them all out.


Jen Halstead
Community Organizer - Outreach & Communications
News to Tune Into
9 Million+ Speak out Against Industrial Aquaculture
As part of Don’t Cage our Oceans, we encouraged our network (and you!) to sign onto our letter aimed at revoking a federal order to fast-track industrial aquaculture. When we sent the letter to the Biden Administration our signers represented 9 million individual members across the country and 250,000 businesses, including 5,000 fishing businesses and 70,000 food producers. Thank you all! The American Ag Network printed more about the letter here.
Maine Terminates American Aquafarms’ Permit! 
Clearly momentum against industrial aquaculture is building and this is a HUGE step in the right direction!

The ME Department of Marine Resources recently terminated American Aquafarms’ permit application for an industrial fish farm in Frenchman Bay. Hats off to all of the leadership and community organizing that made this happen including folks connected to our network such as Friends of Frenchman Bay.

We’ve long talked about the implications of farmed seafood on the health of the ecosystem, its impact on fisheries, and the domino-effect consequences of ocean privatization and bottom-grabbing. Check out The FoodPrint of Farmed Seafood and consider joining Don’t Cage our Oceans to dive deeper into the problems and impacts of industrial aquaculture.

With federal legislation like the AQUAA Act on the horizon, the threat of industrial aquaculture is looming as big companies continue to lobby for federal waters to be opened to aquaculture operations of all scales. To learn more about the implications of the AQUAA Act, check out the Open the Flood Gates: Diving into the AQUAA Act webinar happening April 28 @ 2 pm ET.
Local Catch Network's 4th Local Seafood Summit
Registration is Open!
It’s never too soon to register for the Local Catch Local Seafood Summit happening on Oct. 2-3 at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. So why attend the Summit, aside from catching Alaska’s vast, rugged beauty post autumn brilliance? As with every summit, attendees will participate in vital conversations about direct marketing, new developments, policy, and connect more deeply with others working to strengthen local and regional seafood systems. Early registration rates are available until June 1, 2022. Visit the summit webpage for more information.
Network News
Minorities in Aquaculture
Imani Black is an oyster farmer who comes from a long line of oystermen from the Eastern Shore. Her degree is in Marine Biology, and her passion is bringing the story of African American participation in aquaculture to the next generation of Black women. In 2020, she founded an organization called Minorities in Aquaculture to encourage women of color to pursue careers in aquaculture. To hear more about her story and the mission of Minorities in Aquaculture, check out this interview.
One Fish Foundation is Hiring!
Are you interested in advocating for fair and equitable food systems? Do you want to meet a wide range of dedicated and creative folks from across North America and around the world who are deeply involved in advocating for community-based fisheries? If so, apply to become the One Fish Foundation Communications Coordinator. This is a terrific opportunity to step into the world of sustainable seafood education, advocacy, campaign building, and event planning. This is a part-time role (20-30 hours per month) that helps spread the One Fish Foundation message. The Communications Coordinator will help craft the monthly newsletter, update the website, maintain social media platforms, and plug into national and international sister communities including Slow Fish North America, Slow Food USA, Local Catch Network, Slow Fish International, and North American Marine Alliance. Follow this link for more info and to apply.
Engagement Opportunities
Open the floodgates: Diving into the AQUAA Act
Some of the biggest industrial seafood companies in the world claim the Advancing the Quality of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act would provide more “sustainable” domestic seafood to more Americans.

Opponents argue that AQUAA would open federal waters to barely regulated massive salmon, seaweed, and other aquaculture farms that could create widespread ecological and socio-economic threats for coastal communities and beyond.

Co-produced by Slow Food USA Policy Committee and Slow Fish North America, this discussion will dive into what the AQUAA Act is, who its supporters and opponents are, and the overall impact this legislation would have on marine environments, domestic and local supply chains, and the decisions we make at seafood counters and restaurants. We’ll hear a range of perspectives on the legislation, and we’ll hear from community-based ocean farmers and local chefs who grow, sell, and serve responsibly harvested shellfish and kelp in their communities.

Join host Erin Kelly, moderator Colles Stowell, and panelists Marianne Cufone, Dune Lankard, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Renee Erickson on Thursday, April 28, at 2 pm ET. Register here.
Food Justice in Aquaculture
Northeast friends - come join us! This Friday April 29th at 3:30pm NAMA’s food justice organizer, Jon Russell, will be speaking on a panel at the Northeast Aquaculture Conference in Portland, Maine. We’ll be joined by Imani Black (Minorities in Aquaculture), Cristina Sandolo (University of New England Ocean Food Systems), and Lisa Tossey (Maryland Sea Grant) to discuss the growing food movement and the need for equity and social justice within the food system.
Cook a Fish Give a Fish Class
Eating with the Ecosystem is hosting an online cooking class on May 10 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm ET, where you will learn to cook delicious local seafood dishes alongside some of the finest chefs from Long Island to Rhode Island. In this unique cooking class, fisheries experts will teach you everything you want to know about the fish, the fishermen and the many benefits of choosing local seafood while expert chefs teach you how to turn fresh fish straight from the sea into fabulous meals you can share with your friends and family! 100% of the ticket price goes towards providing local seafood for families in need (35 meals per ticket)! Register for the class.
Funding Opportunities
Value-Added Producer Grant Applications are Closing Soon!
  • Electronic Submission: April 25
  • Paper Applications: May 2

USDA Rural Development announced the availability of $19.75 million in total funding for Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) projects. The VAPG program devotes funding to producers and harvesters to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income.

We encourage you to learn more about the program by visiting the VAPG webpage, watching the USDA LCN VAPG webinar recording, and connecting with your RD State Office. Electronic applications must be submitted by Monday, April 25, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET through or paper applications must by postmarked by May 2, 2022.
USDA LAMP Grant Applications are Open Until May 16
USDA announced the availability of $97 million in total funding to help local and regional food entities develop, coordinate and expand producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and local food enterprises. There are three LAMP grant programs producers, organizations, and businesses can apply for including the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), and the Regional Food Systems Partnerships (RFSP) program.

For more information about grant eligibility, the applications process, previously awarded projects and frequently asked questions, visit the AMS FMPP webpage, LFPP webpage or RFSP webpage.

Applications must be submitted electronically through by Monday, May 16, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
NAMA is a fishermen-led organization building a broad movement toward healthy fisheries, and fishing communities.

We build deep, and trusting relationships with community based fisherman, crew, fishworkers, and allies to create effective policy, and market strategies.