Alaska flagged up for aquaculture growth

The United States government agency responsible for fisheries policy is to identify areas along the Alaskan coast which might be suitable for future aquaculture development.

NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), said possible locations will be selected through engagement with indigenous tribes and the general public.

An Aquaculture Opportunity Area (AOA) is a defined geographic area that has been evaluated to determine its potential suitability for commercial aquaculture.

NOAA said it plans to use a “combination of scientific analysis and public engagement to identify areas that are environmentally, socially, and economically appropriate for commercial aquaculture”.

The organisation says it has directives to preserve ocean sustainability and facilitate domestic aquaculture in the US through the National Aquaculture Act of 1980, the NOAA Marine Aquaculture Policy, and an executive order from two years ago “Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth”.

NOAA also has a variety of proven science-based tools and strategies that can support these directives, it says, helping communities to consider how and where to sustainably develop offshore aquaculture that will complement wild-capture fisheries, working waterfronts, and the country’s seafood processing and distribution infrastructure.

The latest move means Alaska will join southern California and the Gulf of Mexico as the third region where possible aquaculture opportunity areas are being identified.

NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit said: “With more coastline than all of the lower 48 states combined, Alaska is uniquely positioned to benefit from a growing marine aquaculture industry.”

The US is a huge importer of seafood, including farmed fish, and its government is trying to improve the situation by developing home based industries.

However, aquaculture projects, particularly on the US east coast, have often run into strong opposition from various protest groups.



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