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Southeast Region Aquaculture

Aquaculture in the SE Region 

Dr. Bill Walton with the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory on Dauphin Island, Alabama, checks the growth of oysters in off-bottom culture systems. (Photo credit: Jess Beck)

The Southeast Regional Office of the NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service encompasses states within the Gulf of Mexico (Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida), South Atlantic (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida), and the U.S. territories within the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands).

In the southeast, marine aquaculture focuses on stock enhancement, food production, research, and restoration efforts.  Species cultured in the region include oysters, clams, red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, snook, pompano, black seabass, and algae.  Aquaculture occurs on land in recirculating systems or ponds as well as in coastal areas or state waters.

Currently, the only marine aquaculture program occurring in U.S. federal waters is for live rock off the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida.  In 2009, the Fishery Management Plan for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico entered into effect by operation of law. The proposed rule published for public comment on August 28, 2014. For more information on the rule, please visit the Southeast Regional Office's Gulf Aquaculture Plan page.

NOAA's Role in Aquaculture

As a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA is one of the primary agencies charged with permitting and overseeing aquaculture. The NOAA Aquaculture Office fosters sustainable aquaculture that will create employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; provide safe, sustainable seafood; and complement NOAA’s comprehensive strategy for maintaining healthy and productive marine populations, species, and ecosystems. NOAA and the Department of Commerce recently released national aquaculture policies that guide federal actions and decisions on aquaculture and provide a national approach for supporting sustainable aquaculture. View the policies on the Aquaculture Policy page.

Funding Opportunities

In the southeast, researchers are focusing on production techniques for tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis), a warmwater marine species. (Photo credit: Jess Beck)

NOAA and other federal agencies administer a variety of competitive grant programs and other financial assistance programs targeted to the development of sustainable aquaculture in the United States.  Areas of interest include aquaculture research, technology development, and the commercial development of the domestic aquaculture industry. Please visit the Office of Aquaculture's Funding Opportunities page for more information.

Contact Us

Dr. Jess Beck, NOAA's Southeast Regional Aquaculture Coordinator, works out of the St. Petersburg, Florida office of NOAA Fisheries.  For more information, contact Jess at (727) 551-5755 or

External Links

Southeast Region Aquaculture Information

For aquaculture information for various states, please go to our State Aquaculture Information page.