ASTORIA - The Oregon State University Seafood Research Laboratory of Astoria, the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station in Newport, and the Duncan Law Seafood Consumer Center in Astoria have teamed up with Shorebank Enterprise Pacific of Ilwaco, Wash., to link university-level research with local economic development opportunities. Fishing communities along the Oregon and Washington coast will have expanded access to an innovative fisheries effort, thanks to a $691,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.
The project, "Bridging the Divide-Collaborative Integration of Research and Community Development," will run for four years. It was initially funded by a grant to OSU from the USDA Fund for Rural America last fall. These new funds will enable the project partners to expand their efforts.
The project will work with the fishing community to establish a value-added distribution system that incorporates innovative research in new technologies and product diversification. It is designed to maximize the economic impact of existing and future value-added product research on rural coastal communities in Oregon and Washington. Researchers will be primarily looking at product development with albacore tuna and oysters.
Michael Morrissey, director of the OSU Seafood Laboratory, said that that these types of grants are very competitive.
"There were approximately 150 applicants nationwide and fewer than 10 were selected for funding," Morrissey said. "What appealed to the Kellogg Foundation was the joining of the research lab with a development institution. This is not traditionally done in university circles, but makes a lot of sense for value-added product research."
Morrissey said the partnership will speed up the process of getting research knowledge and product development information out of the laboratory and into the private sector where it will create living wage jobs and maximize local economic impact.
Shorebank Enterprise Pacific is a nonprofit rural economic development corporation assisting entrepreneurs, communities and organizations to build viable business and market ventures that improve the social and environmental conditions of rural communities. Its mission is to advance conservation, community, and economic development in the context of building a "conservation economy," one the group defines as fiscally responsible, respectful of the natural environment and socially just. Enterprise services include small business loans, marketing support, technology consulting and community development initiatives.
"We are very excited about the grant," said Diane Moody, the program director for Shorebank Enterprise, "as it helps us weave together the research and development work of OSU with the fishing industry and with our services and resources."