Clare Leschin-Hoar


As part of its continuing effort to boost sustainable domestic aquaculture production, California Sea Grant is pleased to announce our intent to award nearly $755,000 in funding for three new research projects being launched in early 2024, pending final approval by NOAA. These projects will help support an expanding aquaculture industry looking to create a steady supply of shellfish, seaweeds and finfish, bringing with it skilled jobs and other benefits.

 "These newly funded research projects focus on native species and mixed methods culture which are important in addressing our program's goal of supporting aquaculture that is environmentally, economically, and socially more sustainable and resilient,"says California Sea Grant Director Shauna Oh.

California Sea Grant encourages projects that help support the state’s aquaculture industry while creating productive, compatible relationships among other ocean users. Through research, extension and education, California Sea Grant-funded projects are poised to provide science-backed information to public and private decision-makers to ensure a sustainable supply of seafood will be available long into the future. Each proposal must identify and collaborate with an aquaculture practitioner to help ensure Sea Grant-funded research results are useful to and used by stakeholders, and afford access to experienced professionals who can provide feedback to the project. Funded research projects also require a 25% funding match of non-federal funds and are typically conducted for two years.


Closing the life cycle of the native California clam (Tivela stultorum) for commercial aquaculture production

PI: Sean Bignami (Concordia University Irvine)

Co-PIs: Nathan Churches (Holdfast Aquaculture, LLC/ San Francisco State University)

Summary: Researchers will study the lifecycle of California’s Pismo clam species, conduct feeding trials, investigate the potential of growing the clams in sand-less systems, and to help establish a commercial hatchery pipeline that can contribute towards meeting domestic demand for sustainable seafood. 


Evaluating the potential for commercial aquaculture of the native Pacific littleneck clam (Leukoma staminea) in Morro Bay Estuary, CA

PI: Kristin Hardy (California Polytechnic State University)

Co-PI: Kevin Marquez Johnson (California Sea Grant)

Summary: This project will evaluate the potential for commercial cultivation of native Pacific little neck clams in the Morro Bay Estuary in an effort to help expand shellfish production beyond oysters, abalone and mussels.


Assessment of seaweed harvest as a value-added product associated with shellfish aquaculture

PI: Kristy Kroeker, University of California, Santa Cruz

Co-PIs: Halley Froehlich (University of California, Santa Barbara), Kevin Marquez Johnson (California Sea Grant)

Summary: This project focuses on secondary harvests of seaweeds grown in existing shellfish aquaculture sites. Researchers will conduct field studies across Morro, Tomales and Humboldt Bays in an effort to increase the resilience of California shellfish growers by diversifying their products while also meeting a growing demand for seaweeds.