Offshore aquaculture

"(S)tates have an important role to play" in offshore aquaculture legislation, according to a recent editorial in Science magazine (Sept. 8, 2006). The author, Rosamond Naylor, of the Center for Environmental Sciences and Policy (CESP) at Stanford University, cites as an example of such a state law, California's recently enacted Sustainable Oceans Act (pdf, 88KB, 7p.), which "sets high environmental standards for marine finfish production in state waters and could help shape national legislation."

In contrast to California's law, Naylor calls attention to the National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2005 (pdf, 92KB, 41p.), S. 1195, which allows for offshore aquaculture in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and which she believes does not provide needed protection for the marine environment. S. 1195 was introduced by Hawaii's Sen. Daniel Inouye and Alaska's Sen. Ted Stevens on June 8, 2005. S. 1195 did not cross over to the House but Naylor feels it "likely" that the bill will appear again.

Naylor states:
Facilitating aquaculture development in federal waters of the EEZ (3 to 200 miles offshore) could result in substantial commercial benefits. But at what cost to sustainable fisheries, wild fish populations, and marine ecosystems remain sticky questions for legislation.
One amendment to S. 1195, Senate Amendment 769, permits a coastal state to opt out of aquaculture development in the EEZ off its shores. However, Naylor maintains,
Without a clear legal standard for environmental and resource protection within the bill, marine fisheries and ecosystems are vulnerable to further decline.

See Federal and Hawaii web sites on aquaculture:

The NOAA Aquaculture Program, under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Dept of Commerce (Commerce), formulated the Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2005.

The Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA) is one of five aquaculture centers established by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). The Hawaii center is located at Makapu'u, Oahu.

The state of Hawaii established the Aquaculture Development Program (ADP) within its Dept. of Agriculture (DOA).


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