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Ocean Aquaculture: Farming Seafood for People and the Planet

For more than 3 billion people around the world, seafood is the major source of animal protein and essential fatty acids. A growing global population, among other factors, is contributing to growing seafood demand.

The United States is a major producer of safe, nutritious and sustainable seafood. While U.S. fisheries remain among the world’s largest and most sustainable, wild fisheries alone cannot meet the growing demand for seafood. Aquaculture supplies half the seafood eaten in the United States and abroad. The United States imports about 90 percent of its seafood by value, a percentage that has steadily increased over the past decade and that now accounts for an $11.4 billion seafood trade deficit. Although we continue to rebuild our domestic fisheries stocks, most of the seafood needed for a growing planet will come from aquaculture.

Marine aquaculture is the breeding, rearing and harvesting of marine plants and animals. The United States has a small but vibrant marine aquaculture industry. After 30 years of innovation and learning, production is beginning to expand. The practices and technologies available today are significantly improved over those available during the industry’s early years. NOAA, with our partners and collaborators, has helped develop economically and environmentally sustainable marine aquaculture practices in U.S. waters.

Marine aquaculture creates jobs, supports resilient working waterfronts and coastal communities and provides international trade opportunities. NOAA is working to support development of sustainable U.S. aquaculture to complement our wild fisheries and provide these economic opportunities.

This video, created by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach for NOAA’s Science on a Sphere, looks at the aquaculture industry in the United States and the benefits of environmentally responsible domestic aquaculture as a source for seafood.


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