The National Sea Grant Law Center


  • Nimbleness of Federal Fisheries Decision-Making

    In 2021, the National Sea Grant Law Center received funding from The Nature Conservancy to conduct a comprehensive legal analysis of the nimbleness of federal fisheries management decision-making.

    State Marine Aquaculture Coordination Network

    The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Aquaculture, in collaboration with the National Sea Grant Law Center, recently formed the State Marine Aquaculture Coordination Network (SMACN). SMACN provides a forum to bring together state officials and extension personnel to discuss best practices for marine aquaculture management and an avenue for interstate information exchange.

    Impact of Water Quality Stressors on Oyster Reef Restoration

    A team of researchers at the University of Mississippi have received funding from the Mississippi Based RESTORE Center of Excellence (MBRACE) to study the effects of water quality stressors on oyster physiology and survival using a combination of lab, field, and synthesis research approaches. As a part of this team, the National Sea Grant Law Center works collaboratively with the researchers to translate their research findings for use by policy-makers to inform oyster reef restoration and management in Mississippi.

    Water Resources

    The NOAA Sea Grant Water Resources Visioning Team was formed in 2017 as part of a national effort to develop vision documents for ten key topic areas within Sea Grant’s scope of work. The National Sea Grant Office awarded Sea Grant programs federal funds to hold meetings and facilitate conversations to identify strategic priorities in these priority areas.

  • Role of Local Governments in Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Efforts

    In 2020, the National Sea Grant Law Center and project partner, Creative Resources Strategies, LLC, received funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct research on the role of local municipalities and entities (e.g., counties) in aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention efforts. The role of local governments in invasive species management is often overlooked, despite the fact that invasive species impact local drinking water supplies, agricultural land, highway rights-of-way, and recreational areas.

    Best Practices for Regulating Seaweed as Human Food

    In 2019, the National Sea Grant Law Center, in partnership with Connecticut Sea Grant, received funding from the National Sea Grant College Program to enhance coordination and cooperation among states to build policy consensus as to the preferred approaches for regulating the sale of seaweed in its whole form for food.

    Exploring Options to Authorize Offshore Aquaculture

    In 2019, the National Sea Grant Law Center (NSGLC) received funding to plan and convene a collaborative learning workshop with legal scholars, federal Executive agency staff, Congressional staff, and industry representatives to tackle the uncertainty surrounding security of tenure for offshore aquaculture operations.

    The University of Mississippi Lead in Drinking Water Project

    Childhood lead poisoning is a challenging social issue that requires the coordination of health, housing, and environmental law and policy. There is no safe blood level for lead, and all sources of lead exposure for children should be controlled or eliminated. The National Sea Grant Law Center is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Mississippi seeking to assess and raise awareness of the contribution of lead pipes and water treatment to lead poisoning in Mississippi through community-based research, education, and outreach. To date, the team has focused on lead in drinking water issues in both the Mississippi Delta and Jackson area.

    Overcoming Impediments to Shellfish Aquaculture through Legal Research and Outreach

    Legal and permitting issues are consistently ranked as a critical impediment to domestic aquaculture development. The shellfish industry is growing in coastal areas, which are home to more than half of the population of the continental United States. A variety of legal conflicts can arise as states seek to encourage the development and expansion of shellfish aquaculture. The regulatory landscape facing the aquaculture industry can also be confusing and complicated.

    Increasing Awareness of the Legal Framework Governing Removal of Marine Debris and Placement of Fishing Gear in the New England Region

    In 2015, the National Sea Grant Law Center received a grant award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fishing for Energy Partnership. The project, “Increasing Awareness of the Legal Framework Governing Removal of Marine Debris and Placement of Fishing Gear in the New England Region” aims to help New England managers assess the feasibility of implementing innovative derelict fishing gear removal strategies in their states. The NSGLC also partnered with the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program (RISGLP) at the Roger Williams University School of Law to perform research on vessel navigation laws and restrictions on the placement of commercial fishing gear within shipping and boating lanes.

    Agriculture and Food Law Consortium

    The Agricultural & Food Law Consortium was a national, multi-institutional collaboration designed to enhance and expand the development and delivery of authoritative, timely, and objective agricultural and food law research and information. This information is available to the nation’s vast agricultural community of producers, attorneys, state and federal policymakers, Cooperative Extension Service professionals, and others at the local, state, regional, and national levels. Agricultural law and food law includes law related to land-based food, fiber, and energy production systems, as well as seafood and marine-based aquaculture. The National Sea Grant Law Center was one of four founding members of the Consortium and contributed expertise on a range of topics including, aquaculture, fisheries, invasive species, and water quality and quantity.

    Facilitating the Advocacy Conversation

    Sea Grant programs and their staffs face the daunting task of remaining neutral while working on some of our coastal communities’ most challenging environmental, economic, and social issues. In 2011, the Sea Grant Extension Assembly asked the National Sea Grant Law Center for assistance in developing materials to help the Sea Grant network navigate complex advocacy issues. Since then, in partnership with Jim Fawcett of the USC Sea Grant Program, Stephanie Otts of the NSGLC has worked to facilitate the advocacy conversation and expand professional development opportunities.

    Legal Guide for Direct Marketing Aquaculture Products in Alabama

    The “Legal Guide for Direct Marketing Aquaculture Products in Alabama” is a project of the National Sea Grant Law Center and the National Agricultural Law Center funded by the Southern Risk Management Education Center and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project is intended to assist aquaculture producers seeking to diversify their businesses through direct marketing. The project will result in a guide, workshop, webinars, and a webpage, all of which are designed to provide aquaculture producers with basic information about the federal, state, and local legal requirements of select direct marketing strategies.

    Building Consensus in the West: Developing a Model Legal Framework for Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Programs
  • “Building Consensus in the West,” is an initiative of the Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species. The goal of the WRP initiative is to develop a multi-state vision for watercraft inspection and decontamination (WID) programs. The National Sea Grant Law Center is an active participant in this initiative, providing legal research support and leading efforts to develop model legislation and regulations for WID Programs.

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Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit

In 2010, the National Sea Grant Law Center and six other partner institutions received funding from the Economic Development Administration to develop a Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit. The Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit is a web-based information portal that contains a wealth of information about the historical and current use of waterfront space, the economic value of working waterfronts, and legal, policy, and financing tools that can be used to preserve, enhance, and protect these valuable areas. The Toolkit also features case studies of successful working waterfronts initiatives from communities around the country. To access the Toolkit, please visit the National Working Waterfront Network’s website at

Questions About Projects?

Have questions or comments about projects at the National Sea Grant Law Center?
Feel free to contact us!

Call or fax us at:
662-915-5267 (fax)