United States unveils new fish farming growth plan – Fishfarmer Magazine

United States unveils new fish farming growth plan01 July, 2011 –

THE United States has just  unveiled a new policy aquaculture to increase seafood production and create jobs.

The US Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which regulates the country’s fishing industry,  has released national sustainable marine aquaculture policies to meet the growing demand for healthy seafood, to create jobs in coastal communities, and restore vital ecosystems. Foreign aquaculture accounts for about half of the 84 percent of seafood imported by the U.S., contributing to a huge  trade deficit in seafood.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said: “Our current trade deficit in seafood is approximately $9 billion. Encouraging and developing the U.S. aquaculture industry will result in  economic growth and create jobs at home, support exports to global markets, and spur new innovations in technology to support the industry.”

He added: “Sustainable domestic aquaculture can help us meet the increasing demand for seafood and create jobs in our coastal communities,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

 “Our vision is that domestic aquaculture will provide an additional source of healthy seafood to complement wild fisheries, while supporting healthy ecosystems and coastal economies.”

The new aquaculture policies, focus on:-

* encouraging and fostering sustainable aquaculture that increases the value of domestic aquaculture production and creates American business, jobs, and trade opportunities;* making timely management decisions based on the best scientific information available;* advancing sustainable aquaculture science;* ensuring aquaculture decisions protect wild species and healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems;* developing sustainable aquaculture compatible with other uses;* working with partners domestically and internationally; and,* promoting a level playing field for U.S. aquaculture businesses engaged in international trade, working to remove foreign trade barriers, and enforcing our rights under U.S. trade agreements.

Along with its new policy, the Department and NOAA announced additional steps in the future to support the development of the aquaculture industry through:

* Developing a National Shellfish Initiative in partnership with the shellfish industry to increase commercial production of shellfish, which would create jobs, provide locally-produced food, restore shellfish populations and habitats, and improve water quality.* Implementing the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Plan for Aquaculture, which includes the regulatory infrastructure needed for offshore aquaculture development in the Gulf.