Monday, February 14, 2011

United States Drafts National Aquaculture Policy

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in partnership with the US Department of Commerce, published a draft for a National Aquaculture Policy, which works towards further developing the aquaculture industry of the United States.

According to the National Aquaculture Act of 1980, “it is in the national interest, and it is the national policy, to encourage the development of aquaculture in the United States”.  It has now been recognized that the US is lagging behind many other countries in terms of aquaculture development: 84% of seafood consumed in the US is imported, and domestic aquaculture only provides 5% of the national demand.  The global demand for seafood is expected to continue growing, and all estimates suggest that wild fish stocks will not be able to meet this demand, even with conservation and rebuilding efforts.  Therefore, future increases in demand will be supplied from either foreign aquaculture or increased domestic aquaculture production: this policy aims to develop the latter option.  

The policy draft emphasizes four main priorities: 1) science and research; 2) regulation; 3) innovation, partnerships, and outreach; and 4) international cooperation.  Ecosystem compatibility, social and economic benefits, best management practices, and industry accountability are all covered in this draft, which is open for public comment until April 11, 2011.

The policy, as well as information about commenting, can be found here:  

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