NOAA to Develop New Aquaculture Policy

On September 3, 2009, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, announced plans to develop a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aquaculture Policy. The policy will provide a foundation for sustainable aquaculture that will create employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; provide safe, sustainable seafood; and complement NOAA's comprehensive strategy to maintain healthy and productive marine populations, species, and ecosystems and vibrant coastal communities.

As a first step, NOAA requested broad input on the components of a draft aquaculture policy from interested stakeholders including communities, state and local governments, tribes, businesses, associations, the aquaculture industry, commercial and recreational fishermen, the seafood industry, non-governmental organizations, and the general public. The public input period began on April 6 and ended on May 28, 2010.

NOAA will now analyze the public input and develop a draft national policy for review and public comment. Once that process is complete, the agency will issue a new NOAA Aquaculture Policy.


Summaries of the Aquaculture Listening Sessions

Discussion Questions

Comment Period Closed

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Background Materials

For More Information


 

Summaries of the Aquaculture Listening Sessions

Between April 14 and May 21, 2010, NOAA held seven public listening sessions to gather input on a new NOAA Aquaculture Policy. The sessions were an open forum for the public to make recommendations to NOAA officials regarding a new policy that will address all forms of marine aquaculture. NOAA held in-person regional sessions in Rhode Island, Louisiana, Washington State, Hawaii, California, and Alaska . NOAA also hosted a national call-in for those who could not make the regional sessions. A total of 352 people participated in the seven sessions, while others contributed their comments online. Summaries of the listening sessions and the expert presentations from the listening sessions will be available below. To view the comments submitted online click here.

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Discussion Questions

NOAA requested public input to help shape the scope and objectives of a draft policy. NOAA was interested in hearing ideas about how the policy can most effectively guide and support science; provide clear regulations; support outreach, education, and innovation; and define the U.S. role in this international industry. Below are questions that NOAA posted to guide discussion at the public listening sessions and comments submitted online or via the national call-in.

  1. What opportunities exist for developing sustainable marine aquaculture nationwide? What are the major impediments?

  2. What are the most important environmental considerations, and how can these be addressed?

  3. Which social and economic consequences or outcomes will be the most important in the next 5 years or in the next 20 years?

  4. How can NOAA best support essential research and innovation? What should be the goals of NOAA-funded research related to aquaculture?

  5. How can NOAA best communicate with the industry and public on aquaculture issues? What are the opportunities for partnerships?

  6. What role should NOAA play with respect to aquaculture issues and initiatives at the international level?

  7. What other considerations need to be addressed in NOAA's aquaculture policy?

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Comment Period Closed

The deadline for public comment on a new NOAA Aquaculture Policy ended at midnight on May 28, 2010. All comments received before that date either online, via fax, or hard copy are posted.

NOAA will now analyze the public input and develop a draft national policy for review and public comment. Once that process is complete, the agency will issue a new NOAA Aquaculture Policy.

Join the NOAA Aquaculture Program mailing list to stay up to date on the policy development process. Join by sending an e-mail with your contact information to NOAA.Aquaculture@noaa.gov.

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Background Materials

Aquaculture supplies almost half of the world's seafood and a significant portion of future increases in the global seafood supply are expected to come from aquaculture. The United States is a major consumer of aquaculture products, but a minor producer. Currently, 84 percent of the nation's seafood is imported, and half of that is from aquaculture. U.S. aquaculture supplies about five percent of U.S. seafood. Aquaculture techniques are also widely used in the United States to help restore valuable wild fisheries and habitat, including oysters.

For purposes of this policy, aquaculture is defined as the propagation and rearing of aquatic marine organisms in controlled or selected aquatic environments for any commercial, recreational, or public purpose. This definition covers all production of finfish, shellfish, and other marine organisms, excluding marine mammals, for:

  • Human consumption and other commercial uses;
  • Wild stock replenishment;
  • Rebuilding populations of threatened or endangered species; and
  • Restoration of marine habitat (e.g., oyster reefs).

The following documents provide background materials and context for this effort.

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For More Information

To contact the NOAA Aquaculture Program, send an e-mail to: NOAA.Aquaculture@noaa.gov.

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