LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new report was issued today by the Aquarium of the Pacific, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and California Sea Grant on aquaculture or fish farming. According to the findings, establishing a robust aquaculture industry in the United States would help cut the more than 90 percent of seafood imported into this country annually and reduce a seafood trade deficit exceeding $14 billion with California serving as a model. The report is the result of two workshops convened in 2015 and 2016 sponsored by NOAA Sea Grant.
The key findings from these workshops provide recommendations for growth and expansion of marine aquaculture in the U.S. and address the complex permitting system and the need for continued research and public outreach.
“Here in California, we have the oceanographic conditions, proximity to markets, and scientific expertise necessary to support environmentally responsible aquaculture. With our planet’s growing human population and rising demand for food, aquaculture will play a pivotal role in increasing the safe supply of healthy protein in our global food systems, and California could serve as a model for states looking to develop a robust aquaculture industry,” said Dr. Jerry Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president and CEO.
“These workshops provided an unprecedented look into all of the possible environmental concerns of offshore aquaculture along the Southern California coast. We are confident that aquaculture can be sited sustainably in the coastal ocean. The science is sound on this. Our challenge is putting the science to action to identify environmentally suitable locations that avoid conflicts with other users,” said Dr. James Morris, NOAA's National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
The workshops hosted at the Aquarium of the Pacific brought together regulators and scientists to discuss the application of the best available science and incorporating appropriate tools that can inform decision making for the permitting of marine aquaculture in California. The participants represented a cross-section of scientists, regulators, and industry practitioners with expertise in the field of aquaculture and environmental science. State and federal agencies with regulatory responsibilities for permitting aquaculture also participated.
The full report is available at www.aquariumofpacific.org/aquaculturereport.