NOAA: Offshore fish farming ‘an important part of strategy’
By Liza Mayer
In a message kicking off the celebration of National Seafood Month in October, NOAA’s assistant administrator for fisheries, Chris Oliver, noted aquaculture’s role in seafood supply, jobs and opportunities in coastal communities, and species and habitat restoration.
“Marine aquaculture is an important part of our strategy for building economic and environmental resiliency in coastal communities and in supporting healthy oceans,” Oliver wrote on NOAA’s website.
He said the agency is "working with renewed vigor on a number of internal initiatives" to facilitate the development of marine aquaculture, including streamlining permitting processes. “Positive momentum for marine aquaculture is growing and it’s showing,” he said.
In 2015, farm-raised seafood accounted for 20 percent of total seafood production in the US by value, he noted. Producers in the US produced 41 million pounds of salmon, 33 million pounds of oysters, and 10 million pounds of clams along the nation’s coast that year.
Oliver also cited the agency's contributions to the global aquaculture industry at large, such as culture, hatching, and rearing techniques developed by the the Milford, Connecticut, lab for mollusks; the Manchester, Washington, lab for salmon; and the Galveston, Texas, lab for shrimp.
Aquaculture overall is creating important economic opportunities and year-round employment, he said.