OC_Cobia in Submerged Aquaculture Cage

Cobia in Submerged Aquaculture Cage ~ With the increased consumer demand for seafood, governments and corporations have been turning to aquaculture (or fish farming) to keep up with the collective human appetite, and as a way to help stimulate local economies.

Grant Recipient:  Ocean Conservancy
Project Support:  Harnessing Momentum for a National Plan for U.S. Marine Aquaculture

The Ocean Conservancy believes aquaculture—the farming of marine and freshwater organisms such as fish, shellfish and even plants—can provide a safe, sustainable food supply as long as there are standard regulations to ensure safe and scientifically-sound production methods. The Waitt Foundation agrees and is supporting the conservancy’s efforts to educate policymakers about the value of creating a national framework to regulate aquaculture in federal waters.

OC_Open Ocean Aquaculute Net

Open Ocean Aquaculute Net ~ In the last few years, as more questions have been raised about the sustainability of some forms of coastal fish farming, there has been a surge of interest in the United States and elsewhere around the world to develop aquaculture operations in open ocean waters, including exposed state waters and those of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a region of federal waters from the state boundary (usually 3 miles) out to 200 nautical miles offshore.

Global Seafood Demand

Driven by a growing global demand for seafood, aquaculture is expanding rapidly, but its growth has come with negative environmental consequences: reliance on wild fish for feed, ecosystem impacts from escaped fish, disease transmission to wild fish, habitat impacts from nutrient release and threats to human health from the use of drugs and chemicals. There is also a growing awareness of the socioeconomic impacts of industrial fish farming on traditional fishermen and coastal communities. All of these issues must be resolved if fish farming is to supplement wild fisheries and reduce, rather than exacerbate, stress on marine and freshwater ecosystems.

OC_Offshore Aquaculture Operation

Offshore Aquaculture Operation ~ The regulation of the Aquaculture industry has not yet caught up. In the United States, no regulatory regime yet exists for aquaculture in the EEZ and there is much confusion about the permitting, site selection, monitoring, and impacts of offshore aquaculture.

Currently a small contributor to global aquaculture, the U.S. industry is expected to grow five-fold by 2025. Recognizing a window of opportunity to influence lawmakers before the industry becomes entrenched, the Ocean Conservancy wants Congress to develop national laws now to ensure the protection of wild fish and ocean waters. Believing a solid national vision will serve as an example for the entire world community, the conservancy opposes regional attempts to expand the network as piecemeal.

Live in the U.S.?

Help Ocean Conservancy set national standards by asking your representatives to support responsible fish farming.

About Ocean Conservancy

Taking a multipronged approach to science, communications and policy, the Ocean Conservancy has worked for more than three decades toward the goal of a wild, healthy ocean. Believing it’s time to look beneath the ocean’s surface to discover that all living things are connected to the ocean-and that going green starts with living blue-the conservancy also believes increasing public awareness about ocean issues is key to changing the way marine resources are managed.


Ocean Conservancy Web site
Ocean Conservancy Web site (Aquaculture)

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