US seafood industry calls for aquaculture funding

US Capitol building at sunset, Washington DC, USA.

US lobby group Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) is officially requesting that funding for offshore aquaculture be approved by Congress.

SATS has submitted a letter to the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, calling for support of US $25m (£19.9m) for the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Office of Aquaculture and US $14.08m (£11.2m) for Ocean and Atmospheric Research (OAR) for the Sea Grant Aquaculture Research programme.

If approved, the funding for the organisations, which are both part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), would be included in the fiscal year 2025 Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations Act.

SATS has also requested that the explanatory statement for the funding package sets out the reason for the programme, including a statement that: “As the fastest growing food production sector in the world, responsible aquaculture development presents opportunities for meaningful economic growth in coastal communities and among their supply chain partners, while ensuring that Americans have access to responsibly farmed local seafood.

The lobby group added: “Today, the US lags far behind the rest of the world in farmed seafood production, resulting in the US importing up to 85% of its seafood. The single biggest reason is the lack of a clear regulatory pathway for permitting new projects, particularly offshore. This challenging reality has forced many American businesses to invest in other countries.”

The SATS letter concludes: “By prioritising domestic aquaculture, you will support the growth of an American seafood community that is resilient to economic and climate changes and is part of a holistic approach to a greater sustainable food strategy.”


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