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Public perception influences aquaculture permitting

Public perception of aquaculture ‘paralyzes’ permitting and investments in marine aquaculture in the United States, according to forum aimed at expanding ocean farming in the country.


January 10, 2019
By Liza Mayer
(File photo) Protest against a salmon-waste composting facility in Newfoundland illustrates negative perception of aquaculture. A forum says public perception influences permitting and investments in marine aquaculture in the US Public perception of aquaculture ‘paralyzes’ permitting and investments

The Aquarium of the Pacific based in Long Beach, California convened the forum called “Aligning Stakeholder Communications for US Marine Aquaculture” to address the growing consensus that perception-based concerns can and do influence permitting decisions and hinder responsible aquaculture development in the US.

“To realize its potential, the US must overcome the paralysis that prevents responsible ocean farms from being permitted and investors from investing in its waters,” said Kimberly Thompson, program manager of the Aquarium’s Seafood for the Future program.

Forum participants recommended that stakeholders should collaborate to raise the profile of all US seafood in order to address negative public perception of aquaculture. They also believe stakeholders should collaborate and pool resources to provide engaging, informative communications to target audiences; share stories with compelling narratives; and be discerning about engaging with detractors. The draft strategies reflecting these themes will be presented at Aquaculture Triennial and Seafood Expo North America Conferences in March 2019.

Forum participants included marine aquaculture farmers, chefs, communications experts, regulators, educators, students, scientists, representatives from farms seeking permits, and seafood suppliers.