Aquaculture for all

Public Forum On Seafood Dilema

US - The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is planning to hold a public forum today, 25 May, from 2 pm to 5 pm in its Redfield Auditorium. The theme of the forum is The seafood dilema: does it matter where we get our seafood? The balance of US production, imports, wild capture and aquaculture in US seafood supply.

The aim of the programme is to discuss whether or not the US should adopt policies to change the way the nation procures its seafood supply. At present, the US imports more than 80 per cent of its seafood, with around half coming from farms in Asia and South America.

Hauke Kite-Powell, a research specialist in WHOI’s Marine Policy Center, commented, “the US trade deficit related to seafood last year was approximately $10 billion. There are economic, health, and environmental ramifications to the import of cultivated fish, as well as questions about the future stability of the supply. Seafood consumption is rising more quickly abroad than it is here in the US. Should we take active steps to prepare for a future when international supplies may not be as readily available as they currently are? Our programme will explore all of these issues”.

After growing for two decades at about five per cent per year, US aquaculture production peaked at slightly above 400,000 metric tons/year in 2002-2003, Mr Kite-Powell notes. It has since declined to about 350,000 metric tons/year. “US aquaculture output has contracted in recent years, and represents less than 10 per cent of all US commercial fisheries production”, he says. “By contrast, for the world as a whole, aquaculture now accounts for half of all seafood production, and this share continues to rise”, he adds.

The programme will feature keynote talks by:

Stefania Vannuccini Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. “Global trends in seafood demand, supply, and trade”

Dr Michael Rubino NOAA Aquaculture Programme. “A vision for the future of US aquaculture production”

Dr Hauke Kite-Powell WHOI Marine Policy Center. “Economic and policy questions for US seafood supply”

The talks are then followed by a panel discussion moderated by Mindy Todd, host of “The Point”, a programme on WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station.

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