Director's Corner - February 2012
by Dr. Michael Rubino
- new aquaculture website
- shellfish stakeholders
- NOAA Fisheries budget briefing
- public input to National Ocean Policy
While we linger between the close of 2011 and the arrival of spring, we continue to move forward on a number of fronts to enable domestic aquaculture that contributes to seafood supply, benefits the American economy, and sustains healthy oceans.
As you may have noticed, we have a new website with a new look and added features. Our goal is to provide current information on the scientific and regulatory status of marine aquaculture as well as access to educational videos and high-resolution images. While still a work in progress, we have new sections on FAQs, citations and references, upcoming events, and news and notices. Our intent is to make this website a robust a dynamic platform through which we can share NOAA’s activities and provide the latest information on aquaculture science. Please provide comments and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We continue to implement the NOAA and Department of Commerce national aquaculture policies and associated initiatives. We have made early progress on the National Shellfish Initiative, working with Washington Governor Christine Gregoire to initiate a Washington State Shellfish Initiative that seeks to
- resolve permitting issues for shellfish farms and restoration projects,
- support restoration of native oysters and abalone, and
- improve water quality.
More recently, The East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, Gulf Oyster Industry Council, and the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association visited D.C. Congressional offices as well as met with leadership of NOAA, the Department of Commerce and USDA to discuss their priorities. We look forward to continuing to work with the commercial grower and habitat restoration communities to move the National Shellfish Initiative forward.
There are two opportunities right now for the public to weigh in on aquaculture-related issues. The first is a constituent briefing on President Obama’s proposed FY’13 budget for NOAA Fisheries to be held this Friday, February 17 at 3:30 p.m. EST. NOAA’s budget supports sustainable domestic marine aquaculture by investing in cutting-edge research and technology development, addressing regulatory issues, supporting best management practices, working with partners abroad, and providing financing and grants to small businesses and academic partners. Follow this link for information on how to participate in the briefing.
The second is an opportunity for public comment on the National Ocean Policy Draft Implementation Plan. This Implementation Plan directly addresses the direction that the federal government will take with regard to aquaculture regulation and research and reflects the importance of aquaculture as viewed by the National Ocean Council. This comment period represents an opportunity for stakeholders to weigh in on the actions, milestones, and timeframes enumerated in this plan. For more information, visit the National Ocean Council’s website.
In the coming months, we are looking forward to several events -- such as Aquaculture America, the Boston Seafood Show, and the Milford Aquaculture Seminar -- as well as finalizing some research papers that address important issues like alternative feeds. As always, thank you for taking the time to read, visit the website, play such an important role in the future direction of aquaculture in the United States.