US to release large areas of coast for fish farming – Fishfarmer Magazine

US to release large areas of coast for fish farming18 July, 2011 –

THE United States is to open up large areas of its coastline to fish farming in an effort to reduce its huge seafood import bill.

Administrators at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just announced  a new aquaculture initiative to help meet our country’s growing demand for seafood, while creating jobs and restoring healthy ecosystems. The agency’s Aquaculture Technology Transfer Initiative will foster public-private partnerships on regional projects that showcase innovative sustainable practices, jump start private sector investments, and create employment opportunities in coastal communities. NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco announced  the initiative following meetings at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in California  a private research institute north of San Diego with extensive aquaculture research facilities. At Hubbs-SeaWorld, toured the facility and meet with aquaculture practitioners, researchers, and other partners.

Ms  Lubchenco said: “Aquaculture is a critical component to meeting increasing global demand for seafood,. Job creation is a major focus of this administration. This initiative provides an opportunity to support innovation and growth in the private aquaculture sector, resulting in a healthy, local seafood supply and job growth at our working waterfronts.”

In June, the Department of Commerce and NOAA released national policies that support sustainable marine aquaculture in the United States. Americans import about 84 percent of their seafood, half of which is from aquaculture. The US. trade deficit in seafood currently exceeds $10 billion and continues to grow.

“Aquaculture can be a significant contributor to a ‘blue-green’ economy that both contributes to and benefits from healthy oceans and coasts,” Lubchenco added.

As part of this initiative, NOAA will work with the private sector, academia, government and communities to advance technology, monitor performance indicators, and showcase best practices and market-based standards.

America’s  domestic aquaculture industry, both freshwater and marine, currently supplies about five percent of the seafood consumed in the US. The cultivation of shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and mussels, comprises about two-thirds of U.S. marine aquaculture. Salmon and shrimp aquaculture contribute about 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Current production takes place mainly on land, in ponds, and in coastal state waters.