UNE signs agreement to study aquaculture in Morocco
The University of New England and its School of Marine programs signed a collaboration agreement with Morocco’s National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture and the Maritime Fisheries Chamber of the Mediterranean to provide opportunities for UNE students and faculty to discover, explore and contribute to the development of aquaculture and marine sciences in Morocco.
“This agreement opens significant doors to both UNE and Morocco to enhance collaboration, research, and encourage investment in aquaculture, a field that is critical to seafood in an age of dwindling fish resources in oceans,” said UNE Vice President for Global Affairs, Anouar Majid, Ph.D. “This collaboration will position our School of Marine Programs, which is already one of the best in the country, to be better and more competitive.”
The agreement stipulates that UNE, with its expertise in marine sciences and aquaculture, would engage in innovation, research, technological development, knowledge transfer, and training and technical advice to colleagues and investors in order to support Morocco’s goal of becoming a major aquaculture site. The agreement will have the added benefit of giving UNE students the opportunity of working in a different fisheries environment and, at the same time, giving them a rare opportunity to explore the fishing situation of the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
“This agreement will allow our faculty to pursue cutting-edge research in partnership with the government of Morocco while giving our students unprecedented opportunities within a new marine environment,” said Charles Tilburg, director of the School of Marine Programs. “International cooperation is even more important in this time of ever more limited resources and climate change. I look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with both the National Agency for the Development of Aquaculture and the Maritime Fisheries Chamber of the Mediterranean for our students, our faculty and the School of Marine Programs.”
UNE is currently engaged in several aquaculture projects in the Gulf of Maine. The university is partnering with the United States Naval Academy on a project to develop critical tools to allow the country’s macroalgae industry to grow into a leader in marine biomass production. The researchers will use kelp farm designs in Saco Bay to test the capability of growing sea vegetables in more exposed, off-shore ocean areas to increase the range of deployment and ultimately increase biomass production for resources like biofuels or alternative feed stocks for livestock. UNE scientists are also evaluating the health of the farmed blue mussel population in Casco Bay and assessing the food safety of kelp farmed in Southern Maine.