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Aquaculture DEI: Utilizing Collaboration to Bolster Workforce Pathway Development

Meridian convenes and facilitates the DEI-Aquaculture Community of Practice, an aquaculture educator and practitioner collaborative working to secure the long-term sustainability of responsible U.S. aquaculture through diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The U.S. aquaculture sector faces significant workforce development challenges that could affect successful industry build-out, including labor shortages and difficulties attracting and retaining young talent. One opportunity to address these challenges is to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices throughout the workforce pathway, encouraging more robust industry participation and enhancing representation. 

Meridian is facilitating conversations and action among aquaculture stakeholders to build understanding around how DEI can support the long-term sustainability of responsible U.S. aquaculture. This work is a complement to Meridian’s existing multisectoral aquaculture engagement.  

Meridian initiated this effort through interviews with 30 stakeholders whose work or experience touches the nexus of DEI and aquaculture workforce development. The interviews shed light on the barriers to enhancing DEI in U.S. aquaculture and opportunities for addressing those barriers. Interviewees spanned the workforce pathway, from elementary educators to industry entrepreneurs. 

During this process, a subset of interviewees expressed interest in connecting with one another to coordinate DEI efforts nationally. To foster such collective action, Meridian brought together these interested interviewees to form the DEI-Aquaculture Community of Practice (CoP).  

Since its first convening in summer 2022, the CoP has worked to position DEI as an integrative pillar to workforce development. To achieve this, the group looks to connect the dots between DEI initiatives, socialize the importance of DEI with aquaculture stakeholders (including outlining DEI strategies), and support students with opportunities to access work in the industry. 

To learn more about aquaculture DEI, see the DEI Challenges and Opportunities in U.S. Aquaculture Workforce Development report, a synthesis of Meridian’s interviews. This report serves as a resource to encourage deeper understanding and discussion of aquaculture DEI issues among educators, practitioners, and industry leaders. 

Project Documents

DEI Challenges and Opportunities in U.S. Aquaculture Workforce Development Report