US AQUAA Act gains new sponsors and builds momentum

Lobbying group Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) brings in new stakeholders and continues to push for federal action on aquaculture.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
30 September 2022, at 9:16am
offshore aquaculture cage
Offshore aquaculture cage

The US ranks 16th in global aquaculture production and imports up to 80 percent of its seafood © Forever Oceans

Industry coalition Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) is announcing a list of new cosponsors of the bipartisan Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act (AQUAA) Act (H.R.6258/S.3100) during Aquaculture Week from 26 to 30 September. The new cosponsors of the AQUAA Act include Representatives Kat Cammack (R-FL-3), Angie Craig (D-MN-2), Delegate Stacey E Plaskett (D-VI-At Large) and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS).

“As we celebrate Aquaculture Week, SATS is grateful for our new champions on Capitol Hill as support for building a robust American aquaculture industry through the bipartisan AQUAA Act gains momentum in Congress,” said Bill DiMento, President of SATS and vice president of corporate sustainability and government affairs at High Liner Foods Inc. “Our coalition remains steadfast in educating members of Congress on the benefits that the expansion of American aquaculture would provide American communities and why federal legislation is needed to realise those opportunities.”

Due to inefficient federal permitting processes, the US ranks 16th in global aquaculture production. The annual output of the American aquaculture industry, valued at $1.5 billion, is only 0.6 percent of the $263 billion global aquaculture market. As a result, the US imports up to 80 percent of its seafood – mainly from Asia and Europe. Only 5 percent to 7 percent of seafood consumed is raised in America. Learn more about how US aquaculture compares to countries globally here.

US Capitol
The Capitol rotunda

The AQUAA Act will establish a clear and predictable permitting process for offshore fish farms

The AQUAA Act, introduced earlier this Congress, will establish a clear, predictable permitting process for offshore fish farms to encourage more business investments in the US and grow the industry.

States across the country – coastal and inland – would benefit from the expansion of the aquaculture. Increased seafood production will create new business opportunities throughout the seafood supply chain, including at hatcheries and fish farms; manufacturing and equipment suppliers; feed suppliers; seafood processing plants, and grocery and retail stores. It will also establish a new market for American farmers who will benefit from the emerging trend of using corn, soybeans and peas for fish feed.

A recent survey of likely voters conducted by Echelon Insights on 20 to 23 May 2022 found that two-thirds of voters would feel more favourable towards a member of Congress who established pathways for offshore aquaculture. Additionally, upon learning that the US is missing opportunities for jobs and creating a strong economy, 87 percent of voters stated that they consider aquaculture important. 86 percent of voters stated it’s important to expand US aquaculture when learning that it’s a low impact means to feed a growing population. Read more from the survey results here.