NOAA Holds Public Listening Sessions to Guide Drafting of New Aquaculture Policy

March 25, 2010

NOAA will hold six listening sessions in April and May to hear recommendations from the public that will help the agency develop a new national policy for sustainable marine aquaculture.

Marine aquaculture is the cultivation of marine organisms, such as shellfish and finfish, for food and other products. Aquaculture techniques are also widely used in the United States to help restore valuable wild fisheries and habitat, including oysters.

Dates for the listening sessions with NOAA officials are as follows:

Details on the specific locations and times for the regional listening sessions and instructions for submitting comments electronically will be posted on the NOAA Aquaculture Program Web site http://aquaculture.noaa.gov. The agency also will accept public comment through the Web.

After the listening sessions, NOAA will analyze the public input and develop a draft national policy for review and public comment. Once that process is complete, the agency will issue the new NOAA aquaculture policy. NOAA’s goal is to issue a new national policy that will enable sustainable marine aquaculture within the context of the agency’s multiple ocean stewardship missions and broader social and economic goals.

Aquaculture supplies almost half of the world’s seafood and a significant portion of future increases in the global seafood supply are expected to come from aquaculture. The United States is a major consumer of aquaculture products, but a minor producer. Currently, 84 percent of the nation’s seafood is imported, and half of that is from aquaculture. U.S. aquaculture supplies about five percent of U.S. seafood.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/noaa.lubchenco.