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US Fish Farms Lagging Behind

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

US - In the global market for seafood, the United States, which had been a pioneer in sustainable aquaculture, has fallen alarmingly behind. Today 84 percent of US seafood is imported and half of those imports are farmed-raised. It doesn't need to be this way.

According to the Seattle Post Intelligence, anyone who enjoys seafood can see shrimp from Vietnam, tilapia from China, salmon from Chile.

To meet rising global demand, aquaculture facilities that culture shellfish and raise fish and other seafood inshore and offshore are now in many parts of the world.

The US been outpaced by other countries in developing those facilities. In fact, U.S. aquaculture is less than 2 percent of the $70 billion worldwide industry, with China accounting for 70 percent of global production, reports the Seattle Post.

The news agency says that it is now time to build America's aquaculture capabilities and cites the consequences of falling behind as dramatic. America's seafood trade deficit was more than $9 billion last year and our leadership in developing aquaculture technologies and techniques continue to deteriorate. We can do better.

According to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States has many competitive advantages in marine aquaculture, including millions of square miles of ocean waters, from arctic to tropical. "Our country is blessed with the largest available space in the world to raise nearly every saltwater fish and shellfish species imaginable", the news agency says.

Ellen Hardy