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Forum to Examine Offshore Aquaculture

by Ellen Hardy
04 August 2008, at 1:00am

US Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center is to host a two-day forum to explore the feasibility of developing offshore aquaculture programs in the Pacific Northwest.

The event is designed to be informational and will explore the potential rewards as well as the downsides of offshore aquaculture in this region.

The university says the Pacific Northwest offers some unique opportunities to offshore aquaculture. Clean, ocean waters will allow production of high-value, cold-water fish and shellfish species, while high wave and wind energy could provide offshore structures with sources of power. In addition, the region has a strong fishing community capable of participating in offshore operations.

The forum will provide an opportunity for an informed discussion of the risks and opportunities for offshore aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest. The proposed forum will include speakers with a wide range of expertise, legislators, community leaders, scientists and other interested parties to discuss the potential benefits and risks of this new approach to producing seafood in this region.

Speakers at the forum include regulators, community leaders, aquaculture industry representatives, fishing industry representatives, economists and scientists. Among the topics: environmental, economic, biological and management issues, food safety, siting and engineering challenges, potential business models, and fish and shellfish species suitable for the Pacific Northwest.

The forum from 9-10 September, which is sponsored by numerous federal and state agencies as well as private foundations, is limited to 125 participants. Information about the program is available online at http://www.oregonstate.edu/conferences/aquaculture2008.

Ellen Hardy