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Finfish aquaculture

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants 48
Target Species Various finfish
(such as Atlantic cod, haddock, halibut, salmon, flounder,
red drum, cobia, pompano, snapper, grouper)
Applicable Take Reduction Plans N/A
Observer Coverage N/A
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured Harbor seal, WNA

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

1Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

Reports of marine mammal interactions are below 1% of the stock’s PBR


Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean

Gear Description

Penned/caged fish


In 2009, the Fishery Management Plan for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in Federal Waters of the Gulf of Mexico went into effect by operation of law.  In 2011, NOAA and the Department of Commerce (DOC) released national aquaculture policies. .Regional regulations for the Gulf Aquaculture Plan may be in place in late 2014.  Consultation on critical habitat and protected resources is undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers on all proposed aquaculture facilities. Currently this fishery operates solely in state waters, and is therefore subject to regulations by states.


Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1989)
Original Number of Participants 48
Basis for Original Classification Marine mammal interactions include seal interference with the
pens. Non­harassing methods such as double netting around pens have been used to protect fish to date. At this time
however, there does not appear to be more than a remote likelihood of entanglement or incidental taking of these
marine mammals
Past Names "Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon" (until 1995)
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • NMFS received 4 reports of harbor seals entangled in pens.  This averages to 0.8 seals/year, which is <1% of
    PBR, so remains Category III fishery; As a result, harbor seals, WNA, were added to species incidentally
  • Renamed “Finfish aquaculture” from “Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon” to include other regions and species
    and reduced to Category III fishery as logbook data and prohibition of intentional takes resulting from amendments
    to the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Incidental marine mammal takes were believed to be less than 1% of PBR.
  • Changed to a Category II fishery due to admission from industry of under reported intentional kill rates of
    harbor and grey seals..


Updated December 14, 2016