The Regional Aquaculture Center (RAC) program’s mission is to support to the aquaculture industry’s research, development, demonstration, and education programs. RAC programs aim to improve the profitability and viability of U.S. aquaculture production for the benefit of consumers, producers, service industries, and the American economy.

RAC Program

The National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 underwent amendments permitting the establishment of five regional aquaculture centers – or RACs. These centers were mandated to undertake projects related to aquaculture research, extension, and demonstration having a national or regional scope. The five centers are categorized as:

  1. Tropical/Subtropical
  2. Southern
  3. Northeastern
  4. North Central
  5. Western

The RAC program is based on two key functions, which are fundamental to the success of the RAC program and are indicative of its professional approach:

  1. Participation in all phases of project development to secure funding for initiatives that have a direct impact on commercial aquaculture in each region. 
  2. Establishing a regional team approach that promotes collaboration between research, extension, and industry capabilities – preventing duplication of efforts and ensuring optimal resource utilization.

RAC Objectives

RAC’s objectives are to maximize our capacities to encourage industry involvement in identifying crucial regional needs and issues. This makes RACs an exceptional model for federally funded programs and offers a unique structure. By enabling industry to guide federal investments, the centers can promptly address significant problems in local and regional aquaculture. 

RAC Collaborations

The federal Regional Aquaculture Center (RAC) program, run by the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), offers a special collaboration between industry and academia. This partnership is crucial for securing federal funding for significant aquaculture research and development projects and demonstrations in the US. 

The RACs depend on industry representatives to identify the issues encountered by aquaculture in each region. They then rely on the science and education expertise and facilities within the region to finance projects. This approach ensures that resources are coordinated, and the accountability of the program is guaranteed.

Western Regional Aquaculture Center

WRAC strives to improve sustainable and profitable commercial aquaculture production in the United States, benefiting both producers and consumers and contributing to the national economy.

The Western Regional Aquaculture Center (WRAC) was formed with the goals of utilizing the prevailing aquaculture science, educational expertise, and infrastructure across a dozen states that include: 

New Mexico 

Universities joining from these states function under a Memorandum of Understanding, ensuring "joint commitment and co-equal status" throughout the WRAC region.


University of Washington
School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

Box 355020, Seattle, WA 98195
1122 NE Boat St, Seattle, WA 98105


Grants and Funding