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Next Steps For Offshore Aquaculture In Southern California

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US - A joint effort of NOAA, California Sea Grant, and the Aquarium of the Pacific, the report provides recommendations for the growth and expansion of offshore marine aquaculture in Southern California.


These include developing a working group for agencies involved in California aquaculture permitting to streamline regulatory decisions.

The report also calls for increased public educations outreach on aquaculture science and regulation, and additional research on priority issues such as aquaculture interactions with protected species and marine debris.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California Sea Grant, and the Aquarium of the Pacific brought together state and federal regulators, industry practitioners and scientists to discuss the best science and tools available to inform permitting decisions for marine aquaculture in California.

“Right now, our ability to meet America’s demand for seafood falls far short on demand,” says Extension Specialist Paul Olin., referring to a seafood trade deficit of more than $14billion, with more than 90% of US seafood supply coming from abroad.

“When out seafood comes from American waters, it’s fresher, it helps local economies, and our businesses follow some of the highest environmental standards in the world.”

Olin says this was in response to interest from federal lawmakers in expanding domestic aquaculture and a move by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service to adopt its first riles for finfishing farming in federal waters in January 2016, for the Gulf of Mexico region.

California waters may follow suit, and a proposal has already been submitted for the Rose Canyon Fisheries offshore finfish aquaculture project at a site 4.5 miles off of San Diego’s coast. The project would culture California yellowtail jack and potentially white seabass or striped bass in offshore net pens or cages.

Olin hopes the report and recommendations therein will help provide a science-based rationale for development of an environmentally acceptable marine finfish aquaculture industry in Southern California.