Federal waters off Southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico were chosen first based on potential to host sustainable commercial aquaculture. Farm sites of varying types will include finfish, shellfish, seaweed or a combination.
Original Article Published August 20, 2020
Federal waters off Southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico were chosen first based on potential to host sustainable commercial aquaculture.
Efforts to improve seafood security and aquaculture opportunities in the United States moved forward today. NOAA Fisheries announced federal waters off southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico as the first two regions to host Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOA). The selection of these regions is the first step in a process designed to establish 10 Aquaculture Opportunity Areas nationwide by 2025. These two regions were selected for future aquaculture opportunity area locations based on the already available spatial analysis data and current industry interest in developing sustainable aquaculture operations in the region.
“Naming these areas is a big step forward,” said Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “The creation of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas will foster the U.S. aquaculture industry as a needed complement to our wild capture fisheries. This type of proactive work creates opportunities for aquaculture farmers and maintains our commitment to environmental stewardship.”
AOAs are defined as geographic areas that have been evaluated for their potential for sustainable commercial aquaculture. Selected areas are expected to support multiple aquaculture farm sites of varying types including finfish, shellfish, seaweed, or some combination of these farm types.