Aquaculture in the United States
Marine aquaculture in the United States consists of a vibrant community that contributes to seafood supply, supports commercial fisheries, enhances habitat and at-risk species, and maintains economic activity in coastal communities and at working waterfronts.
However, direct U.S. marine aquaculture production is quite small relative to overall U.S. and world production. Only about 20% of U.S. aquaculture production is marine species. (This excludes hatchery fish raised in captivity and released for commercial and recreational catch.) The $1 billion value of total U.S. aquaculture production (freshwater and marine) pales in comparison to the $100 billion value of world aquaculture production.
According to the latest information from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the United States ranks 13th in total aquaculture production, behind China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Norway, Chile, Philippines, Japan, Egypt and Myanmar.
A compelling case can be made for growing more seafood in the United States. Right now, the United States is a major consumer of aquaculture and fisheries products – we import 86% of our seafood – yet we are a minor producer. Half of what we import is from aquaculture, yet only five percent of the seafood that Americans eat is from domestic freshwater and marine aquaculture (about 10% is from U.S. capture fisheries). Driven by imports, the U.S. seafood trade deficit has grown to
Aquaculture support Wild Salmon and Habitat
About 40% of the salmon caught in Alaska and 80-90% in the Pacific Northwest start their lives in a hatchery - which is a form of aquaculture. Hatchery stock are also used to rebuild oyster reefs, grow bait for recreational and commercial fishing, enhance wild fish populations, and rebuild threatened and endangered abalone and corals.
over $10.4 billion annually.
Although a small producer, the U.S. is a major player in global aquaculture,
supplying a variety of advanced technology, feed, equipment, and investment to
aquaculture around the world.
Outside the U.S.
Marine aquaculture occurs in every coastal state. The preponderance of marine aquaculture production – approximately two-thirds by value – consists of bivalve mollusks such as oysters, clams, and mussels. Salmon and shrimp constitute most of the rest, but advances in technology and management techniques are increasing the availability of other species for the American public.
In contrast to world capture fisheries production, which has essentially stopped growing since the mid-1980s, aquaculture maintained an annual growth rate of 8.3 percent worldwide, making in the fastest growing form of food production in the world. Global aquaculture production is dominated by Asia, which accounts for 89 percent of production by quantity. China alone accounts for 62 percent of global aquaculture production.
The list of farmed species imported to the United States is dominated by shrimp, followed by Atlantic salmon, tilapia, and shellfish (scallops, mussels, clams, and oysters). Asian countries and Ecuador supply most of the shrimp to the U.S. market while Canada, Norway, and Chile supply most of the imported Atlantic salmon.