(Please note that a few of the Figures may not view well in older versions of Netscape. If you are unable to read a figure, please requst a print version of the specific chart from the NOAA Central Library. This report is the result of a leadership project with students from the Washington Project Center in cooperation with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the National Sea Grant Program. The following information has been gathered, compiled and analyzed by WPI students. Some charts are in Adobe PDF format and require Adobe Reader to view.



CURRENT AND FUTURE REGULATION OF MARINE AQUACULTURE

Report Submitted to:

Prof. Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld, Prof. Ronald R. Biederman

Washington Project Center

By

Mark Arsenault    Thomas Beigbeder   Nathan Johnson   Kevin Pearce    

In Cooperation with

James P. McVey, Ph.D.

 Program Director - Aquaculture

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Sea Grant Program

12 December 2002

_______________

Advisor

_______________

Co-advisor


Abstract

Our project was sponsored by the Sea Grant College Program and was completed for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The problem addressed is the lack of federal legislation concerning the offshore aquaculture industry in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.  We investigated current legislation and interviewed individuals who affect policy decisions.  The gathered information was used to explain clearly the aquaculture industry’s current status and organizational structure.  Future public policy and organizational structure for the aquaculture industry is proposed.


Authorship page

  1. Executive Summary                                                                  Tom
  2. Introduction                                                                              Mark
  3. Background                                                                              Tom
  4. Foreign Organizational Structures

    4.1. Canada                                                                             Mark

    4.2. Ecuador                                                                            Kevin

    4.3. European Union                                                                 Kevin

    4.4. Japan                                                                                Tom

  5. Current U.S. Policy and Organizational Structure                       Nathan
  6. NOAA-funded Projects                                                           Mark
  7. Methodology                                                                            Tom
  8. Conclusions and Recommendations                                           All
  9. References                                                                               All

Appendices

A.     Agency Background                                                           Kevin

B.     IQP Information                                                                 Tom

C.     Interviews                                                                           Mark

D.     Aquaculture Production Statistics                                        Mark

E.      NOAA-Funded Project Summaries                                    Mark

F.      Types of Aquaculture                                                          Kevin

G.     Global Development                                                           Mark

H.     Impact on the Environment                                      Tom & Nathan

I.        Aquaculture Sites and Water Usage                                    Nathan

J.       Worldwide Economic Impact                                              Mark

K.    Public Perception and Social Implications                Tom & Nathan


Acknowledgements

Our liaison - Dr. James P. McVey - The National Sea Grant College Program (NOAA)

Susan Bunsick - National Marine Fisheries Service

Eileen McVey - Aquaculture Information Center (NOAA Library)

            -for their inspiration, wealth of knowledge, and guidance

Our advisors - Professors Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld and Ronald R. Biederman-

            for their seemingly endless amounts constructive criticism



Table of Contents

                                                                                                                   Page

Figures                                                                                          ____       v

  1. Executive Summary                                                                              1
  2. Introduction                                                                                          5
  3. Background                                                                                          8
    3.1. Rationale for Aquaculture                                              _______   9
    3.2. Obstacles to Industry Development                                            _  11
  4. Foreign Organizational Structures                                                          15
    4.1. Canada                                                                                         15
    4.2. Ecuador                                                                                        17
    4.3. European Union                                                                             19
    4.4. Japan                                                                                            21
  5. Current U.S. Policy and Organizational Structure                                   25
  6. NOAA-funded Projects                                                                       36
  7. Methodology                                                                                        38
  8. Conclusions and Recommendations                                                       40
  9. References                                                                                           47

Appendices                                                                                         51

A.     Agency Background                                                                      51

B.     IQP Information                                                                            55

C.     Interviews                                                                                     56

D.     Aquaculture Production Statistics                                                   58

E.      NOAA-Funded Project Summaries                                               60

F.      Types of Aquaculture                                                                    74

G.     Global Development                                                                      83

H.     Impact on the Environment                                      ______          86

I.        Aquaculture Sites and Water Usage                                               90

J.       Worldwide Economic Impact                                                         92

K.    Public Perception and Social Implications                       ______    95


Figures

Figure 1 – Responsibilities of Federal Agencies in Canada______________17-18
Figure 2 – Responsibilities of Provincial Agencies in Canada                  ____17-18
Figure 3 - Challenges Facing Aquaculture in the European Union                   21-22

Figure 4 – Organizational Structure of Japanese Aquaculture                 ____24-25

Figure 5 – Model of Government Interaction                                                 27

Figure 6 – Model of Current NMFS Action                                                  33

Figure 7 – Proposed Model of Government Interaction                         ____43

Figure 8 – Development of an Aquaculture Site                                     ____45

Figure A1 – Organizational Structure of NOAA                                            54

Figure F1 – Levee Farm Diagram                                                                 74

Figure F2 – Raceway                                                                                   77

Figure F3 – Recirculating System                                                                  79

Figure F4 – Gulf Coast Spar Cage                                                                81

Figure F5 – Cage Culture Diagram                                                               82

Figure G1 – Aquaculture quantity: major producer countries in 1998      ____83

Figure G2 – Aquaculture value: major producer countries in 1998                 84

Figure G3 – Aquaculture production: contribution of LIFDCs in 1998    ____85


Chapter 1. Executive Summary

The worldwide aquaculture industry has grown tremendously in the past decade.  America imports $14 billion worth of seafood annually, which is second in monetary value only to its oil imports, when examining natural resource imports (USDA Policy, 1998).  If America falls behind in developing aquaculture technology, the consequence would be an even larger trade deficit due to the inability of domestic fisheries to meet the increasing demand of consumers.  Such a situation could be disastrous for the economic welfare of the country, and the United States might be forced to begin subsidizing aquaculture in foreign nations.

The advancement of aquaculture policy in the United States has been hindered by a number of issues and concerns (Stickney & McVey, 2002).  However, the future of the industry demands a clear regulatory structure if it is to ever counteract the sheer economic impact of importing of $14 billion of the nation’s seafood (USDA Policy, 1998).  Currently, regulations exist only at the state government level as fragmented policies, which enforce restrictions never intended for this new industry (Stickney & McVey, 2002). 

In an effort to respond to those concerned with hard scientific facts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has funded a number of research projects investigating different aspects of the aquaculture industry in different regions of the United States.  Also, several government agencies have developed pieces of policy that they believe would benefit the country’s aquaculture industry.

This project intends to provide the reader with a clear depiction of what the current regulatory structure of the aquaculture industry is.  It also reports on the most recent findings by the researchers funded by NOAA and interprets how their findings will apply to the development of new policy.  This information is synthesized into a graphical depiction of how the interested groups and parties are interrelated.  Finally, this project uses the aforementioned information to predict where the aquaculture industry is going and provide recommendations for changes to current policies in the United States.

The goal of our project was to report on the current status of the aquaculture industry and to analyze policy frameworks and organizational models that have been proposed by various organizations and foreign nations.  From that analysis we determined which of the proposed frameworks and organizational models addressed the different issues most appropriately and made recommendations based on our findings.  These findings will aid in the revision of the National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2000.

Our first step was to acquire and read the proposals of sixteen research projects concerning aquaculture regulation that were funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the last two years.  We then contacted the principal investigators of each project and inquired about the current status of their research. 

In addition, we studied the current aquaculture industry organizational structures of the United States, Canada, Japan, Ecuador, and the European Union.  That information was obtained from the Aquaculture Information Center and through meetings with Eileen McVey at the NOAA library.  To fully understand the issues, we read articles discussing the social, political, environmental, and economic aspects of the industry.  We then compared the justifications provided for the different stances taken by the various organizations to the scientific findings from the research projects.

After we clarified the current network of U.S. regulations and policies, we investigated pieces of legislation that have been proposed by various organizations.  Also, we read two prominent projects proposing aquaculture policy frameworks, completed by investigators at the University of Delaware and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Once we obtained this information, we began our analysis by constructing a graphical flowchart clearly illustrating how each organization and piece of policy affects the various aspects of the industry.  We then used our understanding of the relationships between the organizations to describe where conflicts exist and to suggest what could be done to alleviate these conflicts.  Finally, we used the gathered information to predict to organizational structure the U.S. aquaculture industry’s is transforming.  We identified areas of proposed policy frameworks that we found to be good for the industry and the country as a whole.  We also identified issues that the frameworks did not adequately address.  Based on these findings, we assembled the pieces of a framework that would benefit the aquaculture industry, while still having it provide protection for the environment and a fair usage of ocean resources. 

The United States needs a regulatory framework to govern over offshore marine aquaculture in the Exclusive Economic Zone.  Without changes to current U.S. government policies, the offshore aquaculture industry can not develop to its full potential.  The issues needing development include permitting and leasing processes that ensure fair use of public waters and natural resources and environmental protection.  Also, aquaculture entrepreneurs have had difficulty in running financially profitable sites because of the significant initial investment required to establish an aquaculture facility.  In addition, misinformation has been hindering public acceptance of the industry

To solve the problems stated above, we recommend the following changes to current U.S. policies regarding aquaculture:


Chapter 2. Introduction

Aquaculture is defined as the propagation and rearing of aquatic organisms in controlled or selected aquatic environments for any commercial, recreational, or public purpose (National Aquaculture Act, 1980).  The worldwide aquaculture industry has grown tremendously in the past decade.  Meanwhile, with an ever-expanding world population and an ever-growing food deficit, the issue of world hunger will eventually demand attention.  This issue is being addressed in developing nations by heavy investment in aquaculture industries and, as a result, is expanding six times faster than in developed countries (Browdy, 2002).  Fish now accounts for 16 percent of the world’s supply of animal protein (Browdy, 2002).  Even in the industry’s infancy, aquaculture now supplies the world with 30 percent of its total food fish (FAO, 2000).   

America imports $14 billion worth of seafood annually, which is second in monetary value only to the importation of oil, when referring to natural resource imports (USDA Policy, 1998).  If America falls behind in developing aquaculture technology, the consequence would be an even larger trade deficit due to the inability of domestic fisheries to meet the increasing demand of consumers.  Such a situation could be disastrous for the economic welfare of the country, and the United States might be forced to begin subsidizing aquaculture in foreign nations, through the purchase of farmed aquatic products (Stickney and McVey, 2002).  The United States aquaculture contribution to the world total, on a percentage basis, has decreased by 50 percent in the last ten years, while China has an aquacultural contribution to per capita food availability that is growing at a rate close to 15 percent per year (FAO, 2002).

The advancement of aquaculture policy in the United States has been hindered by a number of environmental, social, regulatory, and economic issues and concerns (Devoe & Hodges, 2002).  However, the future of the industry demands a clear regulatory structure if it is to ever counteract the sheer economic impact of importing of $14 billion of the nation’s seafood (USDA Policy, 1998).  Currently, regulations exist only at the state government level as fragmented policies, which enforce restrictions never intended for this new industry (Devoe & Hodges, 2002). 

Despite the urgent need for aquaculture legislation, proponents have been met with ardent opposition from environmentalists, recreational and commercial fishermen, and other special interest groups.  This opposition has made the task of developing sustainable aquaculture a difficult one.

In an effort to respond to those concerned with hard scientific facts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has funded a number of research projects investigating different aspects of the aquaculture industry in different regions of the United States.  Also, several government agencies have developed pieces of policy that they believe would benefit the country’s aquaculture industry (NMFS, 2001).

This project intends to provide the reader with a clear depiction of the current regulatory structure of the aquaculture industry.  It also reports on the most recent findings by the researchers funded by NOAA and interprets how their findings will apply to the development of new public policy.  This information is synthesized into a graphical depiction of how the interested groups and parties are interrelated.  Finally, this project uses the aforementioned information to predict in what direction the aquaculture industry is going and provides recommendations for changes to current policies in the United States.


Chapter 3. Background

Aquaculture has become a necessary development for a wide array of seafood industries to meet the increase in demand for aquatic-based consumables.  These industries have each experienced different problems resulting from their unique implementation of fish farming.  Becoming familiar with all the possible effects of aquaculture on a nation requires first examining its effects on areas of the world where it is implemented in larger scale   In addition to global development, the worldwide economic impact must be analyzed to identify the current standing of the United States.  The past actions of the United States government concerning agricultural industries have set a standard for approaching the aquaculture industry and will hence be a precedent for future U.S. aquaculture legislation.  This precedent, though, is just one of many aspects of aquaculture that the government will need to account for prior to creating policy.  Of the many issues confronting aquaculture, its impact on the environment is one of the largest and most controversial.  Additionally, public perception of aquaculture and its social implications must be addressed.  Finally, the assignment of aquaculture sites requires both a method of assessing the site’s potential and a process of resolution for conflicts that may arise with other users.

Stickney & McVey (2002) indicate that the issues surrounding aquaculture have already been addressed by various sources.  They believe that the next step is to investigate each issue with the purpose of identifying the specific requirements and potential consequences.  What is the underlying motivation of a group that expresses their views on an issue? How does an issue impact affected populations? What future research is necessary to forward the development of aquaculture?  These questions need to be investigated and answered before any issues can be addressed in the form of public policy.  Therefore, the current research may not be sufficient for settling unanswered questions still surrounding the implementation of aquaculture (Stickney & McVey, 2002).  The purpose of this literature review is to identify the aspects of aquaculture that will affect public policy and discuss possible stances to be taken as a means to justify the development of a policy framework.

3.1 Rationale for Aquaculture

Worldwide, the aquaculture industry is rapidly expanding.  The Center for Study of Marine Policy (2002) states that aquaculture accounts for roughly 25 percent of total seafood production.  However, based on a recent FAO aquaculture study, it can be seen that technological and regulatory development of the aquaculture industry in the United States is still behind that of many other countries.  Only 8 percent of domestic seafood production comes from aquaculture.  Furthermore, the countries most active in the aquaculture industry are not all industrialized nations.  In fact, 85 percent of fish farming is conducted in developing nations.  In 1998, China accounted for 21 million tons of the 31 million tons of worldwide aquaculture output.  India followed with an output of 2 million tons.  Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand contributed 1.5 percent, 2 percent, and 1.5 percent respectively.  In contrast to these large amounts, the United States produced only 450,000 tons (Brown, 2000).  If the United States were able to build to an aquaculture industry that is both productive and safe for the environment, it would serve as a highly profitable and beneficial addition to the economy. Please see Appendix G. Global Development for more information regarding the global development of aquaculture industries.

Professor James Muir (2002), assistant director of the Institute of Aquaculture in Stirling, Scotland, has predicted the world’s demand of seafood will require aquaculture output to increase by as much as 100 percent worldwide in the next decade.  Seafood grown in aquaculture settings is more economical for feeding populations with incomes insufficient to purchase other forms of animal protein such as beef or poultry.

In the United States, between 1992 and 1997, seafood production from aquaculture increased by 11 percent in terms of volume and 29 percent in terms of value.  Even though domestic aquaculture in the U.S. has been increasing in output, it still pales in comparison to the rest of the world.  The United States contributes only 2 percent to worldwide aquaculture production (Center for Study of Marine Policy, 2002).  This is one reason for the United States’ importation of $14 billion worth of seafood annually, which is a major cause of the current trade deficit.

Fish consumption in industrialized nations has been increasing in recent years.  Aquaculture has driven down prices of seafood from the high levels experienced during the mid-1990s.  The low prices of farm raised clams from Florida have forced New England fishermen to compete.  Shrimp fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico have began to feel the impact of the decrease in price of shrimp due to the introduction of large amounts of farm-raised product (Stickney, 2002).  Because aquaculture companies can produce their product for less, they are able to sell it for less.  Refer to Appendix J. Worldwide Economic Impact for more information on the worldwide economic impact of aquaculture.

Despite the contention from traditional American fishermen that aquaculture will take their jobs, the aquaculture industry has the potential to employ many more people than traditional fisheries.  Aquaculture can drive domestic seafood production much higher than traditional fisheries could ever support.  The establishment of more aquaculture facilities would mean more job opportunities for those with knowledge of the seafood industry.  If fishermen from traditional capture fisheries embraced the growing aquaculture industry, they could avoid the chance of unemployment resulting from the ever-diminishing wild stocks. 

3.2 Obstacles to Industry Development

Obstacles to the development of the aquaculture industry include the impact of aquaculture sites on the environment, misinformation held by the public, and the social implications of a larger domestic aquaculture industry.  The issues concerning environmental ethics, first, may be approached from several directions, causing them to become a focus of concern for the development of aquaculture.  Research into many of these issues is currently being done or is planned by the parties who have taken an interest in the expansion of the aquaculture industry in the United States (Stickney & McVey, 2002).  However, there still remain environmental effects from aquaculture sites that require further examination and remediation. 

One of the major areas of environmental concern is that of water quality.  It is possible that water quality may degrade rapidly and cause difficulties for the fish within a site, as well as for forms of life living in the area below a site.  This environmental damage is sometimes referred to as the ecological ‘footprint’ (Phillips, Summerfelt, & Clayton, 1998).  Environmental groups are concerned with the impact of aquaculture environmental footprints, because of the immense damage that the waste of thousands of fish can cause to the ocean floor.  Fish waste is another major concern that directly affects water quality (Ramsay, Castell, Anderson, & Hebb, 2000).  The resulting spread of disease has the potential to ruin a site and the surrounding areas by contaminating the water and preventing sustainable life (Rach & Ramsay, 2000).  During 2001, amnesic poisoning affected stocks of oysters, scallops, and mussels in Scotland.  That situation has led to a ban on scallop landings off Scotland’s west coast and to shellfish growers calling for a moratorium on the further expansion of seacage finfish aquaculture and the associated use of new chemicals, until the results of a government inquiry have been published (Ecologist, 2001).

The interbreeding of escaped cultured fish with wild populations may limit the gene pool, thereby causing an inferior strain of the species or, in some cases, the strain may be intentionally altered to produce a better quality of product (Martinez, Gephard, Juanes, & Vazquez, 2000).  Hershberger (2002) considers this to be a major issue because of the inevitable escape of fish and their subsequent breeding with the natural population.  Introducing genetic material of captive fish into the gene pool will have unknown consequences for nature and may result in genetic degradation of the natural species.  Also, problems may arise from the escape of non-native species into the areas surrounding a site (Stickney, 2002).  

Chemicals may be used to treat disease and parasites to boost the output of fish farms.  According to Rach and Ramsey (2000), the chemical additives used to improve the growth of the fish are damaging to areas surrounding a site.  The addition of these chemicals may disrupt the natural balance of biological communities in the surrounding area, making it unsuitable for natural wildlife.

Marine predators are the source of another environmental concern facing aquaculture.  Because of the ample supply of food, carnivorous mammals and birds are often drawn to the site.  The site operators are hence forced to deal with the animals in order to prevent attacks on stocks of fish (Blackwell, Dolbeer, & Tyson, 2000).  In many cases, preventative measures often fail, because the animals are able to learn and adapt.  Therefore, many sites make the decision to protect their investment by simply killing the natural predators.  This may cause adverse impacts to the ecological system and may also be viewed as an unethical approach.

Stickney (2002) has found that opposition has grown over the use of fish meal as food for aquaculture.  Originally, fish meal manufacturing plants were installed to meet the high demand for fish meal from the agriculture industry.  The recent demand for large volumes of fish meal for the aquaculture industry has resulted in the installment of more manufacturing plants along coastal regions, often releasing unpleasant odors to the surrounding area.  The extremely large number of wild fish that are being caught for the production of fish meal is also contributing to the rapid depletion of natural stocks.  For more information on the environmental impact of aquaculture sites, refer to Appendix H. Impact on the Environment.  

Another conflict concerning aquaculture comes from the creation of offshore aquaculture sites and the consequential restriction of that site from other uses.  Almost all areas that have been designated aquaculture sites have had a number of prior uses.  However, to keep the fish secure, fish farming requires that site stay restricted from other uses.  It is Stickney and McVey’s (2002) contention that many different groups, including fishermen and local residents, must deal with the fact that they can no longer use the area.  In some cases, this restriction facilitates the viewpoint of ‘rogue aquaculturists’ taking control of the water.  Barnaby and Adams (2002) believe that fishermen, therefore, often look upon aquaculture as a threat to their livelihood.  Because of the propagation of these types of ideas, the process of locating and acquiring an appropriate site for aquacultural use has proven to be a difficult task.  For more information on siting and water usage, refer to Appendix I. Aquaculture Sites and Water Usage.

Misinformation held by the public has been one of the most significant obstacles that aquaculture has to overcome.  As the public is introduced to the idea of aquaculture, individuals may form their opinions without a complete understanding of both the positive and negative consequences of the industry.  These individuals may have been introduced to the industry by a biased source, or the source may have contained incomplete information on the subject.  One solution put forth in an effort to counteract this problem is the education of the public (Devoe & Hodges, 2002).  For more information on the public perception and social implications of the aquaculture industry, refer to Appendix K. Public Perception and Social Implications.


Chapter 4. Foreign Organizational Structures

            In order to make valuable recommendations for the revision of the present U.S. aquaculture industry’s organizational structure, an understanding was required of those regulatory frameworks already in place within foreign nations.  We selected five representative regions that have active but developing aquaculture industries.  Canada, a nation whose aquaculture industry is currently expanding gives another example of a North American industry’s organizational structure.  Ecuador holds a thriving shrimp industry and represents the area of Central America.  We studied the European Union organizational structure, which accurately represents Europe’s aquaculture industry.  Finally, Japan, a nation that has a large market for fish products, was examined as a representative of Asia.

            In some instances, aspects of the studied industries closely resemble the U.S. structure, which could be adaptable when planning a U.S. organizational structure.  In other cases, aspects such as those not applicable to regulatory-restrictive environments would lend to developing the U.S. organizational structure in more experimental ways.

4.1 Canada

Canada has a relatively small aquaculture output compared to the top producing countries.  Its contribution amounts to only about 0.3 percent of the world’s total.  An annual report published by the Canadian government in 1999 showed that aquaculture had risen to about 113,000 tons and was valued at about $611 million, an increase of 18 percent in value from the previous year.  Finfish production increased by 27 percent, and shellfish production increased by 15 percent.  The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance predicts finfish production to double and shellfish production to quadruple by the year 2006 (OCAD, 2000).  The lack of an appropriate regulatory framework is consistently cited as the major obstacle to expanding the aquaculture industry. 

In 1984, the Prime Minister designated the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) as the lead agency in control of aquaculture (DFO, 1995).  Although the federal government is involved with the regulation of aquaculture, the provincial governments are responsible for common tasks.  Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) are designed to harmonize the relationship between the federal and provincial governments to better suit each province’s specific needs.  The provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories have established detailed MOUs regarding aquaculture (OCAD, 2000).

The federal government has limited involvement in the operational phase of an aquaculture site.  During the initial leasing process, however, the federal government can require investigations concerning environmental impacts, interference with fish habitats, and interference with navigation.  The federal government is also concerned with native rights and land claims, migratory birds, other water usage, and food safety (OCAD, 2001).  Additionally, the federal government has the responsibility of governing research and development, regulation of fish products for inter-provincial and export trade, conservation and protection of wild fish stocks and fish habitat, importation and inter-provincial movement of salmonids, eggs, and dead fish, the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP), and therapeutic drugs and vaccines (OCAD, 2000).  There are currently seventeen federal agencies providing services to the Canadian aquaculture industry (OCAD, 2000).  Illustrations of the federal and provincial governments’ roles are shown in Figure 1 (viewable as an Adobe PDF file please use your browser's back button to return to this page) and Figure 2  (viewable as an Adobe PDF file please use your browser's back button to return to this page) respectively.

Canada’s federal regulatory agencies have similar roles to those of the United States in that they address three main topics: development, environmental protection, and human safety.  Development comes in the form of economic and social research, investment in industry, promotion and improvement of domestic and international trade, and the development and improvement of regulatory frameworks.  Environmental protection comes in the form of scientific research and adaptable environmental regulation.  Health Safety comes in the form of research into and regulations on the transport of fish and fish products, site management, and the usage of chemicals.  Another similarity is the distinction that exists between the federal and provincial governments.  State governments play a large role in U.S. aquaculture and the federal government requires certain evaluations to take place.  Above all, both nations make an effort to streamline their respective processes in order for the aquaculture industry to progress.

4.2 Ecuador

Over the past thirty years, Ecuador has experienced a declining shrimp harvest due to viruses, pollution, and the depletion of shrimp in the larval stage for the stocking of farms.  In response to this growing crisis, the government of Ecuador has formed the National Chamber of Aquaculture.  This agency, over the last ten years, has been restoring the environment and both promoting and regulating the aquaculture industry, allowing Ecuador to better manage its third largest commodity, shrimp, following only oil and bananas. 

Ecuador accounts for 2 percent of total world aquaculture.  From 1970 to 1980, it increased 600 percent in shrimp aquaculture production (Conrad S., 1996).  However, following this period, the production of aquaculture in the nation began to fluctuate.  This resulted from self-pollution, disease, and the reduction in mangrove forests, in which the larval stage of a shrimp develops before heading out to sea to reproduce.  The accumulative damage caused by these events forced many farms to close permanently.

The National Chamber of Aquaculture has since created laws that pertain to aquatic species farming.  Some of these laws include restrictions on cutting mangroves and using antibiotics in farm ponds, among other environmental restrictions.  The Cabinet has also started to fund research to investigate viruses, antibiotic usage within farm ponds, and technology to further productivity. 

Passing the law regulating the destruction of mangrove forests was a significant step towards helping the shrimp farming industry, specifying that it is illegal to cut mangrove forests unless a permit is granted.  Prior to this law’s creation, only 32 percent of mangrove forests were left after their deforestation for shrimp ponds.  Without the creation of this restriction, the broodstock for shrimp ponds would be greatly depleted, ultimately causing diminished harvest sizes.

Two types of land exist in Ecuador: common and private land.  Private land owners are able to place ponds on their land without consequence, not being required to gain permits.  In contrast, the common lands, which are defined as the beaches, bodies of water, and mangrove forests, need to be leased out by the Ecuadorian Navy.  Private companies are allowed only 250 hectors of this common land, and a single person is allowed only 50 hectors.  This restriction limits the amount of public land that can be utilized as farm ponds.

In contrast to the current U.S. regulatory framework, Ecuador’s federal government has more direct control on the aquaculture industry.

4.3 European Union

The European Union, established in 1993, was created to abolish restrictive trading practices and to encourage the free movement of capital and labor within the union (European Union [EU], 2001).  The EU conserves and manages the fisheries and aquaculture by the common fisheries policy (CFP), which states that fish are considered a common property and need a common policy to govern their harvesting.

The European Union accounts for 4.7 percent of the world’s aquaculture.  The number of available fish in European waters has recently decreased, so the members of the European Union have turned to aquaculture as a way to fulfill their demand for seafood.  In 1990, the stocks of fish had dropped to a total of 10 percent the amount available in 1970 as a result of over fishing (Martin, 2002).  Along with the depletion of fish stocks, there is the associated depletion of jobs, income, and food.

The EU has a code of conduct for sustainable aquaculture that was created by the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers.  This code was intended to promote the responsible development and management of aquaculture within the EU in order to assure a high standard of quality food production, whilst giving the necessary respect to the environment and consumers’ demands (Federation of European Aquaculture Producers [FEAP], 2002).  It serves to establish and recommend guiding principles for those in Europe who are producing live fish species through aquaculture (FEAP, 2002).  The code addresses such points as the responsibility of the fish farmers to the fish, the environment, and the consumer.

Funding, however, remains a major issue within the European aquaculture industry.  The funding provided by the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) has, until now, been a main source for support grants to companies to increase production (Commission of the European communities [EC], 2002).  Recently, the commission has proposed that in place of increasing production capacity for species where the market is close to saturation, they would favor the modernization of the existing farms and diversifying the species selection (EC, 2002).

The issues surrounding the environmental implementation of aquaculture have become another major concern for the European Union.  Because aquaculture sites have potentially damaging effects on the ecosystem, select legislation has been put in place to help ensure that no permanent damage will result.  The EU upholds the ideals set within the FAO Code of Conduct for Sustainable Fisheries and also agrees that a set of norms or voluntary agreements are necessary to prevent environmental degradation (EC, 2002).  Similarly, the positive contribution that aquacultural developments have on the environment must also be recognized and encouraged (EC, 2002). 

One of the most promising achievements of the EU framework is their establishment of workshops and classes for fishing communities to help with the progression from fishing to aquaculture.  Within these workshops, citizens are given the chance to learn the aquaculture trade and gain additional skills.  The United States holds similar programs, though at a much more inconsistent level, and would perhaps benefit from teaching the public in a similar manner.

Diversification of aquaculture farm species is a necessary development in order for aquaculture farms to survive the event of a flooded market.  When production begins to exceed demand for a species, the value per capita will fall dramatically and cause decreased income for each related aquaculture site.  Diversification is being aided by the fishing and aquaculture grant program, FIFG.  Through this program, the EU is attempting to discourage development in markets that are already flooded.  EU is also working to gain advancements in technology for different aquaculture candidate species Figure 3 (Figure 3 opens as an Adobe PDF file, use your browser's back button to return to this page) illustrates the major issues affecting aquaculture, which were identified by the European Union.

4.4 Japan

As with many Eastern Asian countries, seafood makes up a large portion of the Japanese diet.  Traditionally, the Japanese get six times more protein from seafood than do Americans (Cecin-Sain, 2001).  The yields from wild fisheries began to decline in the 1970s, and the catches were further reduced in 1975 with the worldwide adoption of the two hundred mile exclusive economic zones, which restricted Japanese fishermen from grounds near the coasts of other countries (Gyogyo, 2000).  For these reasons, the Japanese people needed to find alternate sources of seafood. 

In response to the loss of capture fisheries, the Japanese government is actively promoting and subsidizing aquaculture development, including the expansion of marine programs (Bartley, 2002).  This research is accomplished through the National Research Institute of Aquaculture, which is part of the Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.  According to Bartley, of The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2002), Japan has a highly developed aquaculture industry that makes it the top producer in the East Asia region, producing 48 percent of all aquaculture products in the region (Bartley, 2002).  Aquaculture facilities in Japan currently grow shellfish, sea algae, salmon, sea bream, bluefin tuna, amberjack, and others (Gyogyo, 2000).  The industry provided Japan with 15 percent of its seafood landings in 1997 (Cecin-Sain, 2001).

The regulation of aquaculture in Japan is a unique process.  Despite the Law of Fisheries providing national legislation for fishery and aquaculture management, most of the regulations exist at the prefecture, or local, level of government.  An “aquaculture right” legally protects coastal aquaculture conducted in public waters.  The governor of the prefecture is in charge of the administration of these rights, but the prefecture government’s Regional Fisheries Coordination Committee actually handles this responsibility (Cecin-Sain, 2001).  The Committee is composed of fifteen members. Nine of the members are fishermen, four are persons who are knowledgeable of the fishing industry and have experience in regional fisheries, and two represent the broad public interest.   If the intended site is located off the coast of multiple prefectures, a similar group, the National Fisheries Coordination Committee, handles the allocation of ocean resources (Yamamoto, 2001).  The Law of Fisheries states that only groups of fishermen organized into fisheries cooperative associations can apply for aquaculture rights, otherwise a fisherman may apply for an individual right, called a license.

The application for an aquaculture right includes all the details of the proposed facility.  After being advised by the Prefecture Fisheries Coordination Committee, the governor determines the area that will be assigned and the conditions and limitations that will be in place.  Once granted, the right is valid for five years and can be renewed following the submission of another application (Cecin-Sain, 2001).

The fisheries cooperative associations are required to create aquaculture right management committees, which develop rules on how to use the right for the benefit of participating fishermen.  These rules are meant to ensure fair allocation of lots, determine what types of structures should be built, specify the number of facilities that each member is allowed, and set the limits on maximum density of stocks.  This method of self-regulation is known as a Community-based Fisheries Management System (CBFMS) (Yamamoto, 2001).  According to the FAO Fisheries Global Information System (2002), CBFMSs have helped ensure oceanic resources in Japan are allocated fairly and equitably.  They have also improved compliance and reduced management costs.  Fishermen or aquaculturists are involved in the planning and management of the cooperative.

The United States can gain a great deal from the regulatory structure of Japan’s aquaculture industry.  The clearly defined process for the issuing of aquaculture rights is something that would be very beneficial to the offshore aquaculture industry in the U.S.  Also, the Japanese have shown their commitment to better aquaculture technologies by establishing the National Research Institute of Aquaculture, within the Fisheries Research Agency.

While the system of cooperatives has worked well for the Japanese aquaculture industry, it would not be feasible to implement in the United States.  The large number of organizations and parties concerned with aquaculture in the U.S. would make the self-regulating system of cooperatives impossible.  Environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, who have been adamantly opposed to the expansion of the industry, would block any substantial development with lawsuits.  Also, the cooperatives of fishermen would clash with the aquaculture cooperatives for use of the ocean.  The industry needs to be sanctioned and supported by the federal government in order to progress further. Figure 4 (Figure 4 opens as an Adobe PDF file, use your browser's back button to return to this page) illustrates the organization of Japan’s aquaculture regulatory structure.


Chapter 5. Current U.S. Policy and Organizational Structure

The United States made its initial step toward development of the aquaculture industry because of the large amount of money the country spends each year importing seafood.  That step was the adoption of the policy defined in the National Aquaculture Act of 1980.  The basis for this act was a response to the large domestic seafood market being satisfied largely through imports (National Aquaculture Act, 1980).  However, aquaculture can be a source of pharmaceuticals, industrial materials, and energy as well as a source for food (National Aquaculture Act, 1980).  Overseeing the growth of this industry would also involve the need for a framework to both regulate the many impacts of aquaculture and facilitate the resolution of areas of conflict that would arise.  The inhibitors of aquacultural development include issues relating to scientific, economic, and legal concerns (National Aquaculture Act, 1980).

The National Aquaculture Act of 1980 (NAA) was the first national policy to distinguish aquaculture as a unique industry.  It defined aquaculture as the “propagation and rearing of aquatic species in controlled or selected environments, including, but not limited to, ocean ranching” (National Aquaculture Act, 1980).  This act further established that aquaculture in the United States should be promoted in an effort to help offset the continually increasing deficit caused by importation of seafood.  In order to facilitate the growth of the aquaculture industry, each of the major impeding issues was identified and briefly explained.  Pollution, for example, was a major concern of aquaculture expansion that could result in permanent impacts on the environment if left unregulated (National Aquaculture Act, 1980).  Each of the issues therein demonstrates the need for regulation and modes of resolution to deal with the conflicts that would likely arise.

Though the need for regulation and modes of resolution are established, there are no specific organizations charged with the authority over creation or enforcement of such policies.  Therefore, many different organizations have assumed the role of authority over aquaculture through the extension of their authority in a related industry.  The result of this has, in itself, become an obstacle to the effective regulation of aquaculture.

The NAA does form clear objectives for the development of the aquaculture industry and creates the means by which to perpetuate and adapt these objectives.  Through the NAA, the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA) is cast as the group that will examine any future concerns that come to surface.  The JSA has a minimum of twelve members from many aquaculture related government offices and is headed by a representative of the Department of Agriculture (National Aquaculture Act, 1985).

The JSA was organized to evaluate the current status of all federal programs in connection with aquaculture.  It works to increase the effectiveness and productivity of these programs.  The JSA also monitors current national research projects, advancements in technology, and other federal programs (JSA Report, 2002).  Because of this, the JSA is a key influence in the direction that the U.S. aquaculture industry is heading.  The minimum twelve members that compose the JSA include representatives from the Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, Department of Health and Human Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, and Farm Credit Administration (National Aquaculture Act, 1980).  For each of the issues impeding the development of aquaculture, those that require extensive consideration are approached by the JSA through the use of a task force or working group (JSA Report, 2002).

The current role of the JSA and the progression of the U.S. aquaculture policy is shown in more detail by the diagram in Figure 5 which follows: Figure 5 showing role of JSA.

Figure 5: Model of Government Interaction

Each of the government organizations listed in the NAA contains representatives that convene to form the JSA. The five organizations that appear in this model represent a partial but significant portion of the influence within the JSA. These organizations are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Department of Interior, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The JSA exists at the middle of the diagram because it acts as a centralized forum, in which each of the organizations may present their views on the advancement of the aquaculture industry. The issues facing aquaculture development are discussed within this forum and, in some cases, further examination is designated through the creation of a task force. The aquaculture policy of the United States is primarily adapted through the conclusions produced by the JSA. This policy, however, can also be influenced through the application of laws that do not specifically address the aquaculture industry. The example illustrated by this diagram is that of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, used by a division of the Department of Commerce to assume partial regulatory control. The details of this application of the Magnuson-Stevens Act are discussed later in this section. These two methods of improving the United States aquaculture policy have been the only ones used since the policy's establishment in 1980. However, a third method, which is the goal of some organizations at this time, is the passage of new legislation that would grant control of marine aquaculture in the EEZ to a specific department of the government.
The United Nations (UN) and its subdivision, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), are shown in this diagram as an external influence to the government organizations of the United States. This influence has had a number of impacts on the progression of aquaculture in the U.S. First, the FAO has become a basis of information regarding continual change of aquaculture production worldwide. Their publications on the state of world aquaculture help to identify global trends in aquaculture production and provide evaluations of the current progress of world regions (FAO, 1997). Their more technical publications additionally provide research that is invaluable to the advancement of an environmentally sound aquaculture industry. Second, the FAO has presented guidelines for member nations of the UN. These guidelines are followed on a voluntary basis, but the United States has agreed to strive toward achieving each of these goals. They are defined within the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995), and attempt to shape a responsible approach to aquaculture, accounting for economic, social, environmental, technological, biological, and commercial impacts.
The two directional arrows between NOAA and foreign nations represents the communication of knowledge and concepts among countries. This communication is vital to understanding alternative methods of aquaculture regulation that are in use and their potential problems. Examinations of select foreign approaches to government regulation of aquaculture are detailed in the preceding section.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has become involved in the development of aquaculture due largely to the economic impact that seafood imports have on this country. The extent of this impact is detailed within the National Aquaculture Act. The actions taken by the DOC and its subdivisions are guided in more detail by the DOC Aquaculture Policy (1982), which states the need for aquaculture to become an integrated part of the economy at local, state, and national levels. This integration is meant to be completed through government research and assistance programs that aid in overcoming the issues that oppose aquaculture development. Additionally, education and training are identified as a necessary part of attaining the full potential of the conducted research. This policy, however, also holds true to the NAA conclusion that protective regulation must be maintained to create an environment for sustainable development (DOC Aquaculture Policy, 1982).
The policies defined by the Department of Commerce and in the National Aquaculture Act have been used to guide the aquaculture industry for the past twenty years. However, these advancements have not moved the nation forward in terms of developing a refined policy for the aquaculture industry. As in most nations, the actual policy governing aquaculture exists as a complex combination of laws that are already in place for other industries (Cullinan & Van Houtte, 1997). In the case of aquaculture, such laws are created by administration over the areas of environment, natural resources, animal and public health, food quality, drug control, and land use and planning. In countries where there is no effort toward the creation of a national policy, there has been little success in terms of growth of aquaculture (Wijkstrom, 2001). Therefore, a solid foundation of regulation and encouragement is the required government role to achieve the objectives set in the NAA.

In the case of aquaculture, such laws are created by administration over the areas of environment, natural resources, animal and public health, food quality, drug control, and land use and planning. In countries where there is no effort toward the creation of a national policy, there has been little success in terms of growth of aquaculture (Wijkstrom, 2001).  Therefore, a solid foundation of regulation and encouragement is the required government role to achieve the objectives set in the NAA. The facilitation of the objectives set for the DOC became the almost exclusive responsibility of its subdivision, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The aquaculture policy created for NOAA influenced the aquaculture policy adopted by the DOC (NOAA Aquaculture Policy, 1999).  However, the actions and responsibilities defined within this policy have been allocated among several subdivisions of NOAA that currently have differing agendas regarding the necessary steps to ensure the future of the industry.

The first of these subdivisions is the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which has assumed the role of regulation over aquaculture in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).  The NMFS has also become the overseer of aquaculture in state waters through regulatory agreements with states and, in some cases, with mandates over their fish production.  Because there is no legislation that issues direct control over the aquaculture industry, the power granted to the NMFS to regulate fishing must be extended over an industry for which it was never intended.  Regulation of fishing is defined within the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (1976, amended 1996) but can be interpreted to cover aquaculture because of the use of the word “harvest.”  Because aquaculture production involves the final step of harvesting fish from the ocean, the limitations set by this law can be construed to exist over the entire process of fish rearing.  Therefore, the juvenile fish initially placed into a cage culture have the same size restrictions as those captured by fishermen.  As a result of this law, all aquaculture within the EEZ is rendered illegal unless the site has received an exemption from the NMFS.  The associated exemption process adds another phase of complexity for those attempting to begin an aquaculture site and has therefore come to be in opposition of the NOAA policy to facilitate the development of the aquaculture industry (Louisiana Sea Grant, 2001).

Recently, however, the NMFS has taken a position more in accordance with the NOAA aquaculture policy while still maintaining its original direction of regulation.  While the restrictions set by the Magnuson-Stevens Act still remain in place over aquaculture, new regulations have been proposed that would address the aquaculture industry exclusively.  Creation and enforcement of a standard set of regulations would aid aquaculture by helping to ensure the protection of the environment, the safety of food product, and the rights of the aquaculture site.  The releases of The Rationale For a New Initiative in Marine Aquaculture in September, 2002, and A Code of Conduct for Responsible Aquaculture Development in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in October, 2002, were the initial steps taken by the NMFS toward new regulation.  The first of these documents proposes a regulatory framework under which one organization would retain control because the current arrangement of multiple organizations creates too many conflicts for any real progress.  The second of these documents is a list of proposed regulations specific to aquaculture in the EEZ.  Currently, each of these papers is undergoing a period of public review and comment.  The Rationale for a new Initiative in Marine Aquaculture, in particular, has been met with significant opposition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a result of its proposition that the NMFS have exclusive regulatory rights over aquaculture.

The current situation of NOAA and the NMFS is shown by the diagram: in Figure 6 which follows:

Figure 6 showing US Aquaculture Policy structure.

Figure 6: Model of Current National Marine Fisheries Service Action

The second subdivision of NOAA is the National Sea Grant Program, which has primarily been focused on the research aspect of aquaculture development.  The purpose of the Sea Grant program is to allocate funds to organizations that are outside the government so that studies and experiments are made toward the advancement of aquaculture.  In most cases, these organizations are universities that provide a scientific/ regulatory analysis of a particular region in regards to aquaculture.  Studies that deal specifically with legislation may provide analysis of the regulatory framework, but they are in no way representative of the viewpoints held by the National Sea Grant Program.

The National Ocean Service (NOS) and its subdivisions form the third branch of NOAA that has been a primary influence in the aquaculture industry.  Under the NOS, the Coastal Zone Management program works in conjunction with state governments to evaluate coastal areas for potential aquaculture siting.  These areas are evaluated to ensure the smallest impact on the surrounding environment and the fewest number of possible sources of conflict.  Because the NOS division of NOAA deals predominantly with aquaculture in state waters, it is less committed to the development of policy at the national level.

The current policies regulating the industry are fragmented, with varied regulations and multiple sources (NOAA Policy, 1999).  Devoe & Hodges (2002) hold that organizing a clear solution would allow newly established companies to begin operation with speed and simplicity.  Because no policy has been set, there remains a lack of support and rights for the companies and investors involved.  There is no clear system for resolving conflicts over water use, which has made the industry seem confusing to the public (NOAA Policy, 1999).  The government will have to play a critical role in the balance between restriction of the damaging effects of aquaculture and the encouragement of its growth.

Duff (2001) has stated that the legal barriers to marine aquaculture development are directly related to social and cultural concerns of coastal and traditional fishing community members, in addition to the physical, chemical and biological capacity of prospective development sites.  Communities may be reluctant to embrace government programs that are seen as reallocating property rights or ocean areas.  Duff (2001) also states that the development of aquaculture interests depend on an organization’s ability to obtain financing, which is directly related to the ability of the prospective developer to demonstrate that he has the potential make enough money to repay a loan being granted to start an aquaculture site.  


Chapter 6. NOAA-Funded Projects

We have investigated sixteen of the NOAA-funded projects proposed in the years 2000 and 2001, and each can be divided into the following categories: streamlining the permitting process, environmental considerations, and siting and leasing issues.  Best Management Practices, Codes of Conduct, and improved methods of siting are among the outcomes of the NOAA-funded projects that will aid in streamlining the permitting process.  Similarly, the Best Management Practices and Codes of Conduct, along with studies that specifically address animal health and food safety, deal with issues concerning the environment.  Issues surrounding siting and leasing were addressed by several projects concerned with GIS databases.  Encompassing all three of these categories are those projects that deal with the formation of a regulatory framework for the aquaculture industry.

Currently, the permitting process is confusing and inefficient.  While profits are typically expected after the five-year point, the permitting process can alone span a period of two years, or longer.  These numbers are not tolerable to the potential investors in aquaculture, and, consequentially, there exists a reduction in the interest and exposure received by the industry.  Were a regulatory framework to establish an efficient and fair permitting process, the aquaculture industry might achieve the momentum required for sufficient growth.

Environmental issues such as effluent discharge, escapees, fish genetics, and habitat interference get the most attention by groups opposing aquaculture.  In order for the aquaculture industry to move forward, these environmental issues need to be addressed and any problems need to be resolved.  Only with the assurance of environmental safety can the aquaculture industry contest opposing environmental groups’ arguments.

Siting and leasing processes are equally as important as the permitting process.  After obtaining a permit, a specific lot of ocean space must be designated as assigned territory, with full rights of ownership.  The idea of privatizing U.S. waters is a new concept, but can be equated with the concept of privatizing land.  Several of the NOAA-funded projects deal with the mapping of ocean space using various parameters, both legal and environmental.  Mapping the ocean hopes to alleviate problems encountered by sharing a natural resource, while optimizing profit. 

These projects were analyzed in order to determine their future contribution in the organizational structure of the aquaculture industry and their potential benefit. 


Chapter 7. Methodology

Our project goal was to report on the current status of the aquaculture industry and to analyze policy frameworks and organizational models that have been proposed by various organizations and foreign nations.  From this analysis, we have determined which of the proposed frameworks and organizational models addresses the different issues most appropriately and have made recommendations based on our findings.  These findings will aid in the revision of the National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2000.

The initial step was to acquire and read the proposals of sixteen research projects concerning aquaculture regulation that were funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the last two years.  The principal investigators of each project were then contacted and given inquiry about the current status of their research.  Also requested was any new information that could be provided beyond that which was covered by their annual progress reports.

In addition, we studied the current aquaculture industry organizational structures of the United States, Canada, Japan, Ecuador, and the European Union.  This information was obtained from the Aquaculture Information Center and through meetings with Eileen McVey at the NOAA library.  To fully understand the issues, we examined sources discussing the social, political, environmental, and economic aspects of the industry.  We finally compared the justifications provided for the different stances taken by the various organizations to the scientific findings of the research projects.

After clarifying the current network of United States regulations and policies, we investigated items of legislation that have been proposed by various organizations.  In detail, two prominent projects were covered that propose aquaculture policy frameworks, completed by investigators at the University of Delaware and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Once this information was obtained, we proceeded with our analysis by constructing a graphical flowchart that clearly illustrates how each organization and piece of policy affects the whole of the aquaculture industry.  We then used our understanding of the relationships between the organizations to describe where conflicts exist and to suggest what could be done to alleviate these conflicts.  Finally, we used the gathered information to predict how the U.S. aquaculture industry’s organizational structure is transforming.  We identified areas of proposed policy frameworks that we found to be good for the industry and for the country.  Similarly, we identified issues that the frameworks did not adequately address.  Based on these findings, we assembled the pieces of a framework that would most benefit the aquaculture industry, while still having provision for protection for the environment and a fair usage of ocean resources. 


Chapter 8. Conclusions and Recommendations

The United States needs a regulatory framework to govern offshore marine aquaculture in the Exclusive Economic Zone.  Without changes to current U.S. government policies, the offshore aquaculture industry can not develop to its full potential.  The issues needing development include permitting and leasing processes that ensure fair use of public waters and natural resources, and environmental protection.  Also, aquaculture entrepreneurs have had difficulty in administering financially profitable sites because of the significant initial investment required to establish an aquaculture facility.  In addition, misinformation has been hindering public acceptance of the industry.  Based on our findings, we have made the following recommendations:

  Figure 7 illustrates our recommendation of the structure of government organizations needed to advance aquaculture development in the United States EEZ.

Chart showing progression of aquaculture policy`

Figure 7: Proposed Model of Government Interaction

This diagram first specifies that a single, primary organization has full responsibility over the national policy of aquaculture in the EEZ.  The limitations on aquaculture set by the Magnuson-Stevens Act in the EEZ would therefore be nullified.  We recommend that NOAA, and primarily their line office the NMFS, hold this position as a result of their recent commitments to furthering aquaculture in the Exclusive Economic Zone.  The primary organization would construct and administer the processes associated with leasing, permitting, and siting, and each process would be designed to accomplish its objectives with relative ease and speed.  Leasing would provide aquaculturists with exclusive water rights to their site for a designated period.  The permitting evaluation would assess the potential environmental impacts before a site’s creation and would also set a statute of environmental damage allowed after the site is in production.  The siting process would actually begin as a stage prior to any aquaculture site requests.  This stage would involve pre-assessing areas of the ocean that have potential to be aquaculture sites and zoning these areas for future siting.  The most important characteristic assessed in this stage is the carrying capacity of nutrients of a given aquaculture site.  Upon submission of an aquaculture site request, the lengthy process of environmental assessment would therefore be reduced.

The primary organization delegates power to and holds strong communication with each of the secondary organizations.  In following with their traditional roles in aquaculture, we propose that the FDA has responsibility for food safety in aquaculture raised fish, the EPA imposes regulation of environmental damage by aquaculture sites, and the office of Sea Grant within NOAA provides funding to research technological developments.  Additionally we propose that the USDA take the responsibility of providing financial assistance as it has already done with agriculture industries.  The final decision regarding the funding of a site, however, would be made by the primary organization that could provide any additional funding deemed necessary.  Though strong communication is encouraged, the FDA and the EPA would have the ability to preempt the primary organization in their respective areas of food safety and environmental protection.  Thus the powers granted by the Public Health Service Act, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, and the Clean Water Act are not in conflict with this proposed model.

The Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture would continue to exist, but would adopt an advisory role to the primary organization.  The actions of this subcommittee would continue to bring issues to surface for discussion and, hopefully, bring a resolution agreed to by each of the delegates, including those from the primary organization.  Foreign nations would also communicate with the primary organization, as is currently done with NOAA, to facilitate the learning of nations’ regulatory structures and industry techniques.  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization would continue to serve as an outside influence by providing recommendations for environmentally sound aquaculture and consolidation of the worldwide aquaculture research.

Colored chart showing federal relationships in developmetn of an aquaculture site.           

Figure 8 aids in explaining the necessary process for siting and beginning an aquaculture site.

Figure 8: Development of an Aquaculture Site

The aquaculturist first submits his or her intent to build an aquaculture site to the primary organization, after having performed any preliminary required research.  The primary organization delivers this proposal to each of the organizations listed within the diagram.  The EPA considers the environmental impact of the site and passes its conclusions to the primary organization.  The USDA assesses the financial assistance necessary to this specific site and allocates funds accordingly.  The primary organization has the ability to additionally subsidize a site through funding from its own budget.  The Navy is informed of the location of the site to ensure no conflicts will result.  Similarly, the adjacent states are informed of the operation as a courtesy.  An application is, at the same time, submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to gain a permit for building the aquaculture site.  The outcomes from each of these processes are evaluated in the primary organization’s decision to permit and lease the proposed site.  The aquaculturist, therefore, needs only to communicate with the primary organization when beginning an aquaculture site or renewing a lease.  This simple and quick process will make aquaculture in the EEZ feasible and an ideal choice for future aquaculturists.


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Rach, J., & Ramsay, R.  (2000).  Analytical Verification of Waterborne Chemical Treatment Regimens in Hatchery Raceways.  North American Journal of Aquaculture, 62(1).  60-66.

Rains, B. (2001, April 27). Plan to raise fish in cages rattles some scientists: Golf coast consortium looks to technique tested in Hawaii to boost seafood take. Honolulu Star-Bulletin pp. 1-3

Ramsay, J., Castell, J., Anderson, D., & Hebb, C.  (2000).  Effects of Fecal Collection Methods on Estimation of Digestibility of Protein Feedstuffs by Winter Flounder.  North American Journal of Aquaculture, 62(3).  168-173.

Scialabba, N.  (Ed.)  (1998).  Integrated coastal area management and agriculture, forestry and fisheries.  FAO Guidelines. Rome, FAO.  Environment and Natural Resources Service.  pp 256.

Shea, E. (2001) A History of NOAA. Retrieved September 19, 2002 , from the World Wide Web: http://www.lib.noaa.gov/edocs/noaahistory.html.

Stickney, R. R., & McVey, J. P.  (Ed.)  (2002).  Responsible Marine AquacultureOxon, UK: CABI Publishing.

Trino, A., & Rodriguez, E. (2001) Pen culture of mud crabs Scylla serrata in tidal flats reforested with mangrove trees. Aquaculture, 211, 125-134.

United States Department of Agriculture Aquaculture.  (1998).  United States Department of Agriculture Aquaculture PolicyWashington, DC:  Government Printing.

United States Department of Commerce.  (1982).  United States Department of Commerce Aquaculture PolicyWashington, DC:  Government Printing.

United States Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture.  (2002).  United States Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture Report for September 13, 2002Washington, DC:  Government Printing.

Urban Aquaculture For The 21st Century (1997) Louisiana: The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.

Van Houtte, A.  (2001).  Establishing legal, institutional and regulatory framework for aquaculture development and management.  In R.P. Subasinghe, P. Bueno, M.J. Phillips, C. Hough, S.E. McGladdery & J.R. Arthur (Eds.),  Aquaculture in the Third Millennium. Technical Proceedings of the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, Bangkok, Thailand, 20-25 February 2000.  (pp. 103-120).  NACA, Bangkok and FAO, Rome.

Wellborn, T., & Brunson, M. (1997) Construction of Levee-type Ponds for Fish Production. SRAC, 101, 1-4.

Wijkstrom, U.  (2001).  Policy making and planning in aquaculture development and management.  In R.P. Subasinghe, P. Bueno, M.J. Phillips, C. Hough, S.E. McGladdery & J.R. Arthur (Eds.),  Aquaculture in the Third Millennium. Technical Proceedings of the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, Bangkok, Thailand, 15-21 February 2000.  (pp. 15-21).  Bangkok and Rome.

Yamamoto, T. (2001, April) Fundamental Difference in Fisheries Management between the Western Countries and Japan.  Paper presented at European Association of Fisheries Economists conference in Salerno.


Appendix A. Agency Background

The Offices of the National Sea Grant Program have organized this project to be completed for use by its parent organization, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The National Sea Grant Program originated as a division of the National Science Foundation, but, under the 1969 conclusions of the Stratton Commission, was proposed to become part of a more oceanic focused organization.  After only a small revision to the plan made by the Stratton Commission, the organization NOAA was born and put under direction of the Department of Commerce.

NOAA hence became the new parent organization of the following programs:

·        The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) originally under the Department of Commerce

·        The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and parts of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, both originally under the Department of Interior

·        The offices of the National Sea Grant Program originally a part of the National Science Foundation

·        The mapping, charting, and research functions of the Army’s U. S. Lake Survey

·        The Navy’s National Oceanic Data Center

·        The Marine Minerals Technology Center originally under the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Mines

·        The Navy’s National Oceanographic Instrumentation Center

·        The National Data Buoy Project originally under the Department of Transportation

The original programs, for which NOAA was instituted, became the core of the new organization.  However, the decade following 1970 became a period of growth and redefinition, during which NOAA gained much of its authority and purpose. During this time period, a series of acts were passed by the government to protect and govern over the natural resources of the ocean and coastal areas.  These acts helped to both expand and solidify the role of NOAA.

One of the most significant of these acts was the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MFCMA) passed in 1976.  Due to the large numbers of foreign fish captures off the United States coast, NOAA was charged with the management of areas 3 to 200 miles off the national coastline.  This new found authority would also become the basis for NOAA’s involvement in fisheries and aquaculture.  In response to the act’s request to aid in the development of fisheries, NOAA enhanced its effort to research seafood safety and quality along with the development of new technologies.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 redefined NOAA in yet another way.  The combined result of these acts gave NOAA the responsibility of protection over almost all marine species.  In support of this new responsibility, the necessary control measures were granted to regulate endangered species and support was provided through related research programs.

Through the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, the government appointed NOAA, in partnership with the coastal states, to form management and preservation plans for coastal zones.  Each zone would establish a plan in accordance with the guidelines to be set by NOAA.  Through financial assistance and additional incentives, these coastal zones have become almost entirely protected from abuse.

NOAA has also become the overseer of ocean pollution monitoring and research through the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 and the Ocean Pollution Research and Development and Monitoring Planning Act of 1978.  The organization has since been the source of many investigations into the effects of oceanic dumping and pollution.  NOAA has also become a financial source for outside programs for pollution research.

Though each of these acts provided dramatic steps in the development of NOAA, many small advancements have also helped to shape the organization.  In many cases, emerging technologies and problems have become a new focus for research and a new branch for the organization.  This has been the dominant mode of change since the legislation of the 1970’s.  However, NOAA remains dedicated to its principles to predict environmental change, protect life and property, provide decision makers with reliable scientific information, and foster global environmental stewardship.             

The National Sea Grant Program is a division of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), which is a line office of NOAA and serves as its research division.  State Directors of the Sea Grant Program review research project proposals through scientific review panels, from universities and institutions across the country, and then fund the projects they believe have the most potential to benefit the scientific community.  Since 1995, Sea Grant projects have involved investigators from over 300 institutions.  In addition to gaining valuable scientific information, the National Sea Grant Program provides a powerful educational experience to those students involved with projects.  Sea Grant provides funds for graduate and undergraduate education, teacher training, K-12 curriculum development, marine policy fellowships in Washington, fellowships in cooperation with private industry, informal education for the general public, and special training programs for industry. 

            Like many government agencies, the structure of NOAA is fairly complex.  The hierarchy of offices is illustrated in figure A1.

Line staff chart of Dept. of Commerce NOAA Administration.

Figure A1: Organizational Structure of NOAA

Appendix A References

Shea, E. L.  (1987).  Theberge, S.  (1999).  A History of NOAA:  Compilation of Facts and Figures Regarding the Life and Times of the Original Whole Earth Society.  Retrieved September 22, 2002, from the World Wide Web: http://www.lib.noaa.gov/edocs/noaahistory.html


Appendix B. IQP Information

The Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) is a group project and a requirement for graduation from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  The IQP is intended to allow WPI students to understand how their careers will affect society.  The IQP itself is a detailed report written using social science research techniques.

Our project for SeaGrant and NOAA qualifies as an IQP because the report requires extensive research into all aspects of society affected by the aquaculture industry.  We must use social science research methods such as conducting interviews and doing archival research in order to become educated in the subject enough to fully explain what is affected by aquaculture industry and the reasons why they are affected by it. 


Appendix C. Interviews

Interview #1 – Angela Sanfilippo, Chairman of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association (GFWA)

The organization is thirty-two years old and was formed by fishermen’s wives in response to the abundance of unused fish in the ocean.  Among its many functions, the GFWA fights for the protection of the environment and the utilization of all available resources.  Their cookbook, which was newly revised in 1995, was one of their first projects and features recipes and uses for lesser-known species of fish.  In the 1980’s, they fought fisheries in Maine over the pollution leading to possible diseases in salmon.  They do not believe nutrients in farmed fish are as beneficial as those found in wild species.  They believe that aquaculture floods the market with fish.  They do not see the benefit of aquaculture when farmed fish obtain their food from other farmed fish.  They believe that aquaculture could work if strict federal guidelines were put in place, citing India as an example of where a lack of regulation puts the public at risk.  There, large shrimp farming corporations force people out of their homes, pollute the region, and then move to their next site.  They believe that offshore finfish farming is unfeasible compared to shellfish farming, on the east coast, due to the violent nature of the ocean.  Finally, the association favors aquaculture, given that there are strict guidelines, a technology safe for the environment, and a product safe for human consumption.

Interview #2 – Chris Basile – owner/operator of Quarterdeck Fish Market and Restaurant, 177 Main Street, Maynard, MA, 01754

Mr. Basile supplied a list of seafood distributors in New England and Canada that deal with and produce farmed finfish and shellfish.  He noted recent market trends on seafood in general and gave us some advantages and disadvantages of farmed fish versus wild fish.  Farm-raised mussels do not contain gravel, characteristic of wild mussels, due to being raised suspended above the ocean floor.  Accompanying this benefit, farmed mussels are about four times as expensive.  Prices are much more consistent when dealing with farm-raised seafood.  The term seasonal no longer pertains to certain species.  Salmon was traditionally available mainly in July, but now it can be served year-round and at a consistent price.  He experimented with buying from an aquaculturist in Canada, who was attempting to raise cod.  He felt the meat was of a much different consistency than wild cod, which shows the varying success seen with different species.  About seven of his twenty-five purchased seafood products are farm-raised.  His only worries concern the danger to humans resulting from administered antibiotics and pollution of the environment.  He cited the disease plaguing Maine’s farmed salmon last year, causing the price to rise about 30 percent.  He hopes to see innovations where the industry can solve its problems internally with minimal cost.  He mentioned the possibility of using shellfish, which essentially are filtering systems, to clean up polluted areas.  Of course, this would depend on the nature of the pollution.  There is a facility in Ipswich that cleans contaminated shellfish. 


Appendix D. Aquaculture Production Statistics

Aquaculture production by selected groups of nations in 1998:

- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam - (established in 1967)

            -8.2 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

            -6.6 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-The Caribbean Community and Common Market - Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. (est. 1973) < 1 percent

-The Commonwealth of Independent States - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan (est. 1991)    

-.6 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-< 1 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-Economic Community of West African States – (ECOWAS) - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo (est. 1975)

-.1 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-< 1 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-European Union (EU)- Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (est. 1993)

-.6 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-< 1 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-The Latin American Economic System (LAES)- Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela (est. 1975)

–1.1 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-4.3 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)- Canada, Mexico and the United States of America (est. 1994)

-1.8 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-1.9 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)-Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (est. 1985)

-13.4 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-1.3 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-The South Pacific Forum (SPF)-Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu (est. 1971)

-< 1 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-1 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

-The League of Arab States - Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen (est. 1945)

-.7 percent of the world total of inland aquaculture production

-.2 percent of the world total of marine aquaculture production

When considering major producer countries (i.e. China, India, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Viet Nam, among others), China produced 69 percent of the total quantity.  Japan produced 3.3 percent, and India produced 5.1 percent


Appendix E. NOAA-funded Project Summaries

  1. Using sable fish to create a technical base for marine fish aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest

The purpose of this project is to develop a sustainable aquaculture system for the production of sablefish, also known as “butter fish” or “black cod.”  This effort will begin with the Makah Tribe of the northwest region of the continental United States but will ultimately benefit any future aquaculturist.  The main objectives of the project include: developing a recirculating system for juvenile production, identifying appropriate feed ingredients, monitoring environmental effects, developing grow-out methods for net-pens, off-shore cages, and land-based systems, studying relationship between diet and product quality, and assuring efficient technology transfer.

The rationale for this project is the lack of a diversified finfish market.  Currently, the northwest region’s aquaculture industry relies on one fish, the Atlantic salmon.  The price of Atlantic salmon has dropped to around four dollars per pound.  The current dockside price of sablefish is ten dollars per pound, making it one of the most valuable species in the northwest region.  The past has shown a relatively flat supply and demand curve, potentially insuring stability of the current price.  Sablefish has also been cited as an alternative to the Chilean sea bass.

  1. Production of a Best Management Practices manual for aquaculture in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region

Best Management Practices Manuals (BMP’s) exist for several states, such as Missouri and Florida, but one does not exist for the Great Lakes Region.  BMP’s are meant to aid aquaculturists in designing, constructing, locating, and operating aquaculture sites in an environmentally safe manner, while not suggesting a regulatory structure that is too restrictive or inefficient. 

The proposed BMP will include chapters on aquaculture in the Great Lakes Region, effluents, fish diseases, fish genetics, water usage, interactions with non-fish species, flow-through systems, recirculating systems, and pond systems.  The Best Management Practices Manual will not cover net pens, as they are not used extensively in the Great Lakes Region.  A committee comprised of personnel from three universities, the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Milwaukee, and Stevens Point, private industry, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is formulating the BMP.  After completing the manual, the team plans to disseminate 2,500 copies to users across the Great Lakes Region, enable web-based access, and present the document to a national audience.

  1. Balanced Ecosystems Management for the development of sustainable offshore aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico

This project is similar to the sablefish project being conducted in the northwestern United States, except the fish being analyzed is the red drum, and region being considered is the Gulf of Mexico.  Subsequent trials will be performed using cobia and red snapper.  All aspects of fish development, economic feasibility of the site, operational logistics of the offshore site, and efficient information dissemination will be considered in the study. 

The current status of the project is as follows.  The team is having trouble finding enough fingerlings in the hatcheries.  They had planned on obtaining fifteen thousand red drum from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service, but only seven hundred were found after harvesting from the pond.  Ten thousand fish were not enough to launch a program in Puerto Rico, so this lack of fish in the Gulf could pose a serious problem.

  1. Development of a national aquatic animal health plan for the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)

The purpose of this project is to develop a plan including the following elements: 1) defining the role of federal, state, tribal, and private industry when transporting fish products within and between the EEZ and other jurisdictions; 2) producing a universally accepted permit/health certificate allowing for more efficient trade; 3) identifying species-specific diseases/pathogens of concern; 4) requiring testing measures for obtaining permit; 5) establishing procedures for notification of the appearance of a pathogen; 6) identifying laboratory requirements to conduct testing; 7) developing a plan in agreement with regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the American Fisheries Society; 8) testing of the plan; 9) and finally proposing the plan for possible incorporation into a regulatory framework.  The project team would also like to see similar plans implemented to benefit various other species.

The success of an aquaculture industry requires that farmers have the ability to transport fish products.  The major concern involved with this process is the issue of spreading infectious diseases among fish and humans.  The rationale for this project is the fact that there currently exists no universally recognized plan for the safe transport of salmonids. 

  1. National Marine Aquaculture Initiative: Offshore Finfish Mariculture in the Western Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington State

The goal of this project is to support permit applications for net pen mariculture in the western area of the Strait of Juan de Fuca by collecting all pertinent environmental information.  Zones will be evaluated based upon existing GIS data and field work conducted in the future.  A physical/biological water quality model will be used to evaluate data for plankton and nutrient effects and operational concerns such as stocking density and oxygen availability.  Sea bottom effects will be analyzed using an existing benthic impact model.

Offshore aquaculture is cited as an extremely valuable industry to the northwest region of the United States, and the National Marine Aquaculture Initiative has identified the Strait of Juan de Fuca as the next step beyond sheltered inshore sites.

  1. Clarifying Marine aquaculture Legal Rights: Improving the legal interest framework

The purpose of this project is to identify, assess, and improve legal and policy issues associated with aquaculture financing, specifically in the realm of property interests.  Other property interest regimes will be analyzed to potentially serve as models for the allocation of funding based upon the definition of a specific property interest’s requirements.  Suggestions will also be made on improving legal and regulatory structures hindering the assignment of ocean property.

The rationale for the project is as follows.  Better management of capture fisheries and the expansion of the aquaculture industry have been cited as a possible solution to the increase in demand for fish products.  The legal administration of marine waters has not progressed along with the aquaculture industry.  The legal barriers stem from two categories: the social and cultural concerns of commercial fishermen and the capacity of prospective sites.  This development rests on the ability of aquaculturists to obtain financing for the development of sites.  Work has been conducted on siting and regulatory processes, but minimal work has been done on the method by which farmers may obtain financing.  This financing should be received after pledging aquaculture property interests as security.

The project will be completed by research on present laws and interviews with operators and financiers.

  1. Development and testing of an operational framework for offshore aquaculture in conjunction with stakeholders at national and regional levels

The objectives of this project are as follows:

1.      Define current status of U.S. aquaculture and rationale for siting further offshore;

2.      Review major questions and policy issues regarding the governance of offshore aquaculture;

3.      Review offshore projects seeking approval in U.S.;

4.      Review complex framework employed within the U.S.;

5.      Review of aquaculture policy in U.S. coastal states;

6.      Review international experiences in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan;

7.      Propose regulatory framework for entire lifecycle of aquaculture site.

The proposed regulatory framework previously developed was intended to meet the following criteria:

1.      Promotes responsible aquaculture in the U.S. EEZ;

2.      Supports an efficient, coordinated, and predictable decision-making process;

3.      Uses a precautionary approach concerning environmental aspects;

4.      Utilizes separate standards for native and non-native species;

5.      Is in harmony with existing U.S. laws and agency responsibilities;

6.      Is fair to all users of the U.S. EEZ;

7.      Is in harmony with the policies of adjacent coastal states;

8.      Is in harmony with U.S.-international agreements;

9.      Fits within the context of a framework for sustainable development of aquaculture;

10.  Elicits a fair benefit to the public for use of ocean waters;

11.  Is performed in a way that allows for public participation;

12.  Is flexible and allows for improvement, research, and education.

The rationale for this project is the lack of a regulatory framework for offshore aquaculture.  Offshore aquaculture in the EEZ has been cited as a possible solution to the increase in demand for fish products and certain environmental concerns with aquaculture.

The work will consist of holding a national workshop in Washington D.C., where input for an operational framework will be obtained from all relevant federal agencies, Congressional staff, and others.  A draft will then be produced, and each team member will hold a regional meeting to obtain further input.  Revision will again take place, a second national workshop will be held, and the final product will then be produced.

8.      Using GIS for offshore aquaculture siting in the U.S. Caribbean and Florida

The purpose of this project is to develop the Caged Aquaculture Suitability Index (CASI), which will be a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based decision support system.  It will be used for optimally locating caged aquaculture sites offshore Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Secondly, the team plans to transfer the CASI datasets to the ERPgis application developed by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).  This application extends the GIS system’s purpose of initial siting to the long-term management of offshore cage systems.

The rationale for this project is the potential benefit to be gained from offshore aquaculture and the benefits of using GIS for optimally identifying offshore cage sites.  For decades, GIS has been used for military testing, mammal research, and oil industry-related topics.  The identification of the potential of aquaculture sites will be invaluable in the leasing/permitting process. 

Two forms of data will be analyzed: regulatory and management data and site environment data.  The team has concluded its regulatory and management data collection but is having considerable trouble with the site environment data.

9.      Environmental, Economic, and Social Impacts of Sustainable Offshore Cage Culture Production in Puerto Rican Waters

The purpose of this project is to identify the environmental, economic, and social impacts of finfish aquaculture on the tropical marine waters near Puerto Rico, USA.  Environmental aspects will be evaluated using criteria based upon chemical, physical, and biological variables.  It will also address public perception, community support, and issues pertaining to vandalism and poaching.

As with all the previous projects, aquaculture has been cited as possible solution to the increased demand for fish products and the over fishing of marine species.  A reliable and accurate depiction of the economic, environmental, and social impacts of a potential aquaculture site would be advantageous during the permit/license process.  It would also be useful for attracting potential investors.

10.    A National Planning Effort to Further National Marine Recirculating Aquaculture

The purpose of this project is to develop of a more organized approach to inter-institutional collaboration for the development of recirculating aquaculture.

The rationale for this project stems from the fact that research essential to furthering recirculating aquaculture technology has been duplicated in certain instances and has been neglected in others.  It is believed that a plan of attack must be devised if valuable resources are not to be wasted in an effort to advance this technology.  Not all methods of aquaculture are appropriate for all environments.  Flow-through systems require large quantities of water, and pond systems are constrained to certain geographical conditions.  The attraction to recirculating systems results from its environmentally-friendly methods, specifically its small volumes of waste produced.

The methodology for this project is as follows: a pre-workshop committee will meet to identify an appropriate list of workshop participants and a workshop agenda, the workshop will be held to develop a plan for the growth of recirculating aquaculture, and a steering committee will be formed to implement the plan.

11.    Evaluating Open Ocean Aquaculture Sites Using GIS and Regulatory Processes in Hawaii

The purpose of this project is to optimally identify potential offshore cage aquaculture sites using GIS and state and federal policies and regulations.  This would reduce the cost of startup costs and the risk of a commercial marine aquaculture projects. Coastal capture fisheries are in decline, lowering the number of employed fishermen.  Hawaii, with its large per capita consumption level of seafood, imports are a large portion of its supply.  Hawaii has recently allowed for the leasing of ocean waters for commercial purposes.  The vast amount of data known about Hawaiian waters is not available in a useful format for aquaculturists.  The project will be completed by developing an extensive GIS database.  Current state and federal policies and regulatory processes will also be inspected to identify obstacles to project development and the siting of proposed aquaculture farms.

12.    A Code of Conduct for Net-Pen Salmon Farming

The purpose of this project is the development of a code of conduct for net-pen salmon farming in the established area of Pacific Northwest decided on by a partnership of stakeholders and based on scientific data.

It is believed that a code of conduct would combat unfounded negative opinions towards aquaculture concerning environmental risks, and thus reinvigorating the national aquaculture industry.  The team believes that a code of conduct for net-pen farming will be the next step towards developing a code of conduct applicable to farming systems nationwide.

The code of conduct will be developed by preparing a literature review on all scientific and technical data referring to net-pen salmon farming.  A risk versus benefit analysis will then be completed by NMFS scientists.  The Washington Fish Growers Association will then prepare the code of conduct.  The project will constantly be available for review by stakeholders, the public, and national and international experts.

13.    Improving the Regulatory Framework for Marine Aquaculture Regional Planning and Economic Decision Making

The purpose of this project is to develop of a regulatory framework focused specifically on the issues of licensing/permitting procedures.  This framework for allocating ocean resources for alternative uses will be based on a database formed from sound legal and economic principles.  The second purpose is to compile data in the GIS format for use in resolving, rather than simply avoiding, problems with other ocean resource users.  Thirdly, a methodology will be produced under the advisement of a group of assembled experts, the methodology will be applied to two case studies, and it will then be tested on its feasibility.

The rationale for this project is the belief that extensive commercial implementation of aquaculture will exhibit benefits in the realm of income and food supply.  Experts in the industry have cited the lack of an efficient and transparent license/permit process as the major stumbling block in the advancement of the commercial aquaculture industry.

The methodology of the project is as follows:

1.      Assemble the group of experts at the start;

2.      Identify various ocean resource uses;

3.      Identify institutional environment and analyze what effects environmental changes will induce;

4.      Incorporate possible end uses into economic models, add spatial dimension to examine tradeoffs among uses, and estimate effects of transportation costs on profits;

5.      Select two case studies for application of model;

6.      Apply the model to the two cases;

7.      Present results in GIS format and suggest possible affects of varying parameters;

8.      Present results to group, allow for comment, and request hypothetical decisions for each case study

14.    Identification and Mitigation of Legal and Regulatory Hurdles to Offshore Aquaculture in the Gulf

The purpose of this project is to bolster the existing package of legal information concerning aquaculture to include an analysis and proposed a revamping of the current federal policies and regulations concerning offshore aquaculture.  The ultimate goal is to propose a model for federal restructuring and to schedule a workshop involving policy makers nationwide.  This workshop would be intended to establish a plan to reorganize the siting/permitting process and to appoint a lead agency for overseeing the entire process.  The research team will also explore the use of marine zoning for the creation of specific lease sites in the EEZ.  This project is cited as the first step in creating an efficient and fair siting/permitting process for potential offshore aquaculturists.

The rationale for this project stems from a belief that several items need to be examined if the siting/permitting process is to be efficient and public-orientated.  First, the team feels existing federal policies and regulations need to be evaluated and changed if necessary.  The Department of Agriculture is the agency in charge, but the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service bear the greatest regulatory burden.  Their second concern is the implementation of a zoning program, allowing for the leasing of specifically designated ocean waters, coordinated by one federal agency.  Coastal managers agree that marine zoning would be valuable for various water uses, but the practice of exclusionary marine aquaculture will encounter several legal and regulatory hurdles.

The team plans to evaluate existing statutes and regulations, interview agency personnel, and expand the Offshore Aquaculture Consortium Marine Policy Workgroup to a national scope.  They will also identify the current organizational environment, specifically the interactions between involved agencies and the process by which to increase efficiency.  The team will then develop a guide to marine zoning in the Gulf of Mexico, which will be used as a model for creating a national policy on zoning.  A review of existing types of marine zoning (sanctuaries, marine reserves, and international), the use of printed and computer-based research tools, interviews with user groups, and collaboration with appropriate agencies will be used in evaluating existing zoning techniques for the purpose of creating the model for the Gulf of Mexico.          

15.    Strengthening Aquaculture Planning and Coordination in the Pacific Region

The purpose of this project is to better organize the Pacific Aquaculture Caucus and increase its membership for the express purpose of carrying out its Eight-Point Plan of Action.  A more organized group of stakeholders in the northwest region of the United States is desired to help implement the National Aquaculture Development Plan and the new Aquaculture Policy of the Department of Commerce.

The rationale for this project is the belief that a well-organized group of stakeholders will enhance the growing aquaculture industry and raise public perception; thus increasing the domestic output and increasing the value of commercial and recreational landings.  The Eight-Point Plan of Action includes:

1.      Aiding national and state governments develop science-based regulations;

2.      Encourage the construction of systems based around social and environmental needs;

3.      Observe and apply best use practices;

4.      Encourage stakeholder involvement in planning process;

5.      Support scientific research to ensure best use of ocean waters;

6.      Promote and aid any effort advancing aquaculture technology;

7.      Accept any measures to resolve pertinent issues;

8.      Establish method of accepting and distributing relevant information.

            Three Advisory Committee workshops will be held in Alaska, Idaho/Washington, and Oregon/California.  The committees’ electronic communication system will also be upgraded.

16.    Development of Codes of Practices for Environmentally Responsible Aquaculture Using the Maine Multi-Species Industry as a Foundation

The purpose of this project is to develop a framework for outcome based Codes of Practice.  The Maine Aquaculture Industry will used be used as a model for what will hopefully be a nationwide implementation.

The rationale for this project is the potential benefit to be received from the advancement of aquaculture and the environmental hurdles currently being experienced.  An agreed upon Environmental Code of Practice would facilitate the siting/permitting process and thus encourage potential users.

The first task of the research team is to analyze existing Codes of Practice, specifically their organization and effectiveness.  Secondly, the team will hold a summit attended by representatives from industries familiar with Codes of Practice.  Finally, the team will hold meetings with growers to exchange ideas and develop model Codes of Practice to be presented for comment by industry.


Appendix F. Types of Aquaculture

Wellborn and Brunson (1997) discuss the different types of aquaculture systems, including cages, farm ponds, raceways, and recirculating systems.  All of these systems, they say, have advantages and disadvantages associated with their respective costs and methods of implementation.  In this section we summarize those methods discussed by Wellborn and Brunson (1997) as well as those discussed by Flaherty (2000).

Farm Ponds and Levee Farms

Farm ponds are used throughout the world.  Conceptually, they are similar to the rice paddies of Thailand.  Farm ponds are typically used for the growth of a variety of aquatic animals such as shrimp, hybrid striped bass fingerlings, and tilapia.  This system is often very expensive and not available to smaller, independent aquaculturists.  How a levee farm is constructed is a critical issue.  A diagram of the structure of a levee farm is shown in Figure F1.

Horizzonatl diagram of a levee farm pond.

Figure F1: Levee Farm Diagram

Levee farms are a style of farm pond, and are usually constructed on parcels of land about twenty acres in size.  Ease of management, cost of construction, and cost-effectiveness are the common reasons for this standard size.  The site is divided into four rectangular ponds by a raised area called a levee.  Rectangular ponds put more of the water’s surface within reach from the perimeter, allowing feeding and harvesting to be accomplished more easily.  Ponds that are irregularly shaped are often harder to harvest without having them drained. 

Topography of the chosen site is also important.  If the land is not flat, cost associated with land excavation increases dramatically.  The land must be prepared prior to pond construction by removing material such as stumps and other organic matter.  This is necessary, Flaherty says, to ensure good bonding of building materials and to prevent leaks.

Another critical issue is the cost of building a levee farm.  The initial investment is large, because an undeveloped area of land must be completely altered prior to construction, requiring the clearing of all organic matter.  Following this, drain pipes and inflow pipes must be installed.  The high cost of developing and then maintaining levee farms is their main disadvantage.

Furthermore, the authors tell us that levee ponds pose a significant threat to the environment unless strict laws exist regulating their use of chemicals.  Flaherty (2000) describes how the overuse of antibiotics to treat stocks of fish in Thailand has led to the degradation of inland waters and agricultural soils. However, he also describes how different solutions to these problems have evolved.  For instance, some farmers have fabricated reservoirs in which the water is purified through the use of aquatic plants. Unfortunately, the waste from the stocks of fish will still pollute the land.  Many institutions around the world are investigating the issue of pollution, but few viable solutions have been proposed.  Several types of filters are being tested which, Flaherty tells us, will remove harmful pollutants such as ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.  

Raceways

Raceways are another type of aquaculture currently in practice.  Fish such as channel, blue, hybrid catfish, yellow perch, blue gill, and tilapia are grown in these facilities.  Masser and Lazur (1997) describe raceways as enclosed channel systems with quickly flowing water.  There are several benefits of raceways that stem from their flowing water.  The raceway can have a higher density of fish compared to other methods of aquaculture, because the water is constantly being replaced with a fresh supply.  Fewer people are needed to operate a raceway compared to a levee farm, because most of the maintenance is accomplished by the running water.  Feeding and collection of waste are simply matters of introducing food upstream from the organisms and filtering waste further downstream. An example of a raceway facility is shown in Figure F2.

Photo of a flowing raceway.

Figure F2: Raceway

Masser and Lazur (1997) also present the drawbacks of raceway aquaculture sites.  They contend that diseases will spread rapidly among stocks due to the higher density of .  Additionally, the operators have less time to react to problems, because the running water quickly carries hazardous material into the environment.  Water that has passed through raceways often contains dilute fish wastes.  However, Masser and Lazur (1997) also presented a solution to these drawbacks.  If a pond is added to a raceway, it could be used as a reservoir and treatment area before being released into the environment.broodstock

Raceway aquaculture is a less expensive process than pond-type aquaculture, partially due to raceways having lower start up and operating costs then those associated with pond farming.  Construction costs are minimal with raceways, because the facilities mainly consist of cages immersed in running bodies of water.  Masser and Lazur (1997) stated that the cost of a 16x4x4 raceway, including a dock system, is about $3,000. This figure does not include the blowers or backup oxygen system.  The units can be made out of marine and treated plywood, plastic sheets, and plastic liners.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these materials.  If plywood is used, it must be coated with marine paint, otherwise it will become water-logged and extremely heavy.  Plastic sheets may warp if heated, and the plastic liners cannot be walked upon and may buckle from the force of waves. 

Raceways are very simple to construct since the pumps are simply PVC piping with opposing ninety-degree bends on both ends and an air hose in the center.  The air hose provides suction, which pulls the water through the pipes and into the raceway.  This method of pumping water is much more economical than having regular pumps and when using this method, only one or two blowers are necessary to operate the raceway.  The only problem associated with this method is the inability to provide air to the units in the event of a problem arising with the PVC tubes or air compressors.  Aquaculturists operating raceways have dealt with this issue by installing back-up operating systems in the case of pump failure.

Recirculating Systems

A report by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program (1997) describes a third type of aquaculture, the recirculating system. This system is completely enclosed, and the water gets cleaned and re-circulated, never leaving the tank except for evaporation.  Aquatic organisms that are being raised in these facilities include soft- shelled crabs, oysters, and even alligators.  Recirculating systems can be constructed in very small areas such as backyards or even basements.  The system has four main parts which include the tank or another type of holding tank for the aquatic animal, a bio-filter to remove biological waste from the water, the aerator for supplying the stocks with oxygen, and the pump to circulate the water.  An example of a recirculating system can be seen in Figure F3.

Photo of recirculating system in a greenhouse structure.

Figure F3: Recirculating System

Recirculating systems conserve energy and water, because the same supply of water is used continuously.  Additionally, any chemicals used are never released into the environment, a benefit resulting from the system’s complete enclosure. The water is filtered through biofilters, which consist of bacteria that breakdown the waste products.  The waste is then purged from the system in the form of sludge and treated outside by the farmer.  The farmer is also able to control the environment of his system, since it is not dependant upon favorable weather conditions.  He or she is able to change the temperature, biological content, and salinity of the water.

According to the Sea Grant report, recirculating systems have very few disadvantages other than the large initial investment. The cost of implementing saltwater ecosystems varies, depending on what products are being grown.   Recirculating systems are the most feasible type of aquaculture for urban areas.

Cage Culture

Cage culture, as described by Masser (1998), consists of cages or baskets immersed in preexisting bodies of water.   The author states that the United States began growing fish in cage culture systems in the 1960s.  Prior to this, most U.S. aquaculture was conducted on pond farms.

Cage culture systems require a small initial investment, due to the availability of inexpensive synthetic materials used to construct cages.  Since preexisting bodies of water are used, there is no need to bring in water from an outside source.   However, since it is difficult to predict or control the natural environment, there is often the risk of damage from storms.  For example, the cage shown in Figure F4 was built off the Gulf Coast, for a cost of 100,000 dollars, was destroyed in a December 2000 storm (Rains, 2001).  Another pertinent issue is algal blooms, which suffocate fish by removing oxygen from the water.  Also, disease can also spread rapidly if not treated quickly with antibiotics.

Photo of an spar of an offshroe cage with oil rig in background.

Figure F4: Gulf Coast Spar Cage

This type of aquaculture is the most relevant to the topic of offshore marine aquaculture. Cages used in coastal aquaculture, within state-regulated waters, have differing design specifications than those used in the open ocean.  Technology is currently being developed to deal with the violent and unpredictable nature of ocean environments.  For example, the MIT Sea Grant Program is testing the use of an automated feeder and a single-point mooring system (MIT Sea Grant, 2002). An example of a typical spar cage is shown in Figure F5.

Horizontal view of underwater cage.

Figure F5: Cage Culture Diagram

A policy framework could address the issue of using specific types of aquaculture when concerning the siting/permitting process.  From an interview with Lori Howell, from Spinney Creek Shellfish Inc., we were told that the most appropriate path to take when forming regulations would be an outcome-oriented approach.  This stems from her belief that members of industry would respond more favorably to an adaptable form of regulation than stringent guidelines on how to perform certain actions, such as the construction of aquaculture sites.


Appendix G. Global Development

The majority of aquaculture development has occurred in freshwater environments and mostly in the region of Asia.  Traditionally, aquaculture conducted on non-marine sites has been seen as a crucial means of food security, especially for land-locked nations.  Asia currently dominates the world’s aquaculture production.  As can be seen in Figures G1 and G2, China is the largest individual aquaculture producer in the world.  Until 1992, its annual growth in production was 0.7 million tons per year (FAO, 2000).  Since then, growth has averaged close to 2.6 million tons per year.  The rest of the world, in comparison, has averaged 0.4 million tons per year since 1992 (FAO, 2000).

Bar graph of production of top 13 countires

Figure G1: Aquaculture Production in 1998

Bar graph of value of aquaculture for 10 top countries.

Figure G2: Aquaculture Value: major producer countries in 1998

Rural aquaculture, along with culture-based and enhancement fisheries, has helped to decrease poverty in Asian nations.  Small-scale household farming has provided fish products for both consumption and income.  The resulting jobs for the poor and low-cost fish products, provided by the rural farms, have helped to raise the standard of living.  In India, aquaculture sites based in ponds and sites utilizing tanks are providing many families’ incomes.  In the Philippines, mollusk farms provide many jobs for poorer groups of people.  In Nepal, unlike in the Philippines, many poor people are the owners and operators of their own aquaculture sites.  Aquaculture is the main source of income for 66 percent of Indonesian fish farmers who use ponds and paddies.  In Viet Nam, a traditional integrated fish farming system can offer income comparable to rice cultivation while taking up less area (FAO, 2000).  Figure G3 shows the Low Income Food-Deficit Countries’ (LIFDCs) contributions to the world’s aquaculture production and illustrates Asia’s dominance of the industry.

Pie graph of 7 low income-food deficit countires and their contribution.

Figure G3: Aquaculture Production: contribution of LIFDCs in 1998


Appendix H. Impact on the Environment

The issues concerning environmental ethics can be approached from so many different directions that they have become a large focus of concern for the development of aquaculture.  Research is either being done or is planned by all parties who have an interest in the expansion of the aquaculture industry in the United States (Stickney & McVey, 2002).  However, there remain effects from aquaculture sites that require further examination. 

The interbreeding of fish within an aquaculture site may limit the gene pool, thereby causing an inferior strain of the species, or, in some cases, the strain may be intentionally altered to produce a better quality of product (Martinez, Gephard, Juanes, & Vazquez, 2000).  Hershberger (2002) considers this to be a major issue because of the inevitable escape of fish and their subsequent breeding with the natural population.  Introducing non-native genetic material into the gene pool will have unknown consequences for nature and may result in degradation of the natural species.  A moral issue can also be raised from the question as to whether it is ethical to modify an organism’s genetic material and then allow it to reproduce in the wild.  Also, problems may also arise from the escape of unmodified fish that are non-native for that particular species into the areas surrounding a site (Stickney, 2002).   An organism that is not native to an area may begin reproducing and may eventually cause severe disruption to the natural ecosystem.

Fish waste is another major concern, because it can accumulate quickly and cause hazardous conditions (Ramsay, Castell, Anderson, & Hebb, 2000).  The resulting spread of disease has the potential to ruin a site and the surrounding areas by contaminating the water and preventing sustainable life (Rach & Ramsay, 2000).  Amnesic poisoning affected stocks of oysters, scallops, and mussels in Scotland during 2001.  That situation has led to a ban on scallop landings off Scotland’s west coast and to shellfish growers calling for a moratorium on the further expansion of seacage finfish aquaculture and the associated use of new chemicals, until the results of a government inquiry have been published (Ecologist, 2001).

A wide variety of chemicals may be used to boost the output of fish farms.  According to Rach and Ramsey (2000), the chemical additives used to improve the growth of the fish are damaging to areas surrounding a site.  Scottish salmon farmers add a supplement of fifteen vitamins, eleven minerals, and synthetic coloring to each food pellet. The coloring, which has been banned in the United States, turns the salmon flesh pink like that of wild salmon, rather than "hatchery grey."  The farmers also add chlorine, sodium hydroxide, iodophors, and calcium oxide to keep the fish and the cages clean. Formaldehyde, malachite green, and four antibiotics are used to suppress disease (Kane, 1993).  The addition of chemicals such as these may disrupt the natural balance of the water in the surrounding area and make it uninhabitable by natural wildlife.

In the United States, only five drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating fish diseases.  It is also illegal to use those drugs as a preventive measure, before the fish get sick. In other countries, though, many drugs are available and, in a few countries, including China and Ecuador, there are no government regulations.  Kane (1993) states that little research has been done to show how the drugs affect fish, the environment, and human consumers.   He also claims that there is little enforcement of health regulations today, even in the United States.  Without additional knowledge, there is no assurance that the chemicals now being introduced into the fish food supply are absolutely safe for consumption.

Marine predators are the source of another environmental concern facing aquaculture.  Because of the ample supply of food, carnivorous mammals and birds are often drawn to the site.  The site operators are hence forced to deal with the animals in order to prevent attacks on stocks of fish (Blackwell, Dolbeer, & Tyson, 2000).  In many cases, preventative measures often fail, because the animals are able to learn and adapt.  Therefore, many sites make the decision to protect their investment by simply killing the natural predators.  This may cause adverse impacts to the ecological system and may also be viewed as an unethical approach.

Stickney (2002) has found that opposition has grown over the use of fish meal as food for aquaculture.  The demand for large volumes of fish meal for the stocks of fish has resulted in the installment of many treatment plants along coastal regions that often release unpleasant odors to the surrounding area.  The extremely large number of fish that are being caught from the wild will also result in rapid depletion of the natural stock.

Father Kocherry, who is one of the creators of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, in an interview by Ivan Briscoe, described the problems he sees with India’s national aquaculture program.  Kocherry argues that the aquaculture shrimp farms exist only because the marine supply is no longer available.  The very fact that the farms are monoculture has proven to be a significant problem.  Since there is only one type of organism in each of the farms, the growers must use large amounts of pesticides and artificial manure, rather than having a natural balance of nutrients like that found in an ocean ecosystem.  The land that is being converted for the farms is often the habitat of many different organisms.  About 200,000 hectares of land have been converted into shrimp farms in India.  Aside from displacing entire coastal communities, the presence of saline water has polluted the drinking water supply.  Kocherry believes the problems from aquaculture in India will be present in other countries as well.  If an unethical corporation exists and has the opportunity to make large amounts of money, the environment will not stand a chance at surviving (Briscoe, 2000).           


Appendix I. Aquaculture Sites and Water Usage

According to the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP, 2001), which consists of representatives from the FAO, the UN, the IMO, and other international agencies, the process of aquaculture siting can be broken down into several factors that will affect the future of the site.  One of these factors is the sustainability of the resources used by the aquaculture site.  Exceeding the environmental capacity of a region, the organization theorizes, would cause severe consequences for its reliability and would lead the aquaculture site toward an eventual failure.  Another key factor relating to the placement of an aquaculture site is the balancing of possible uses of the water.  Because many different uses are already in place for most possible aquaculture sites, GESAMP (2001) believes a compromise must be found to evenly divide the available resources.  One additional factor is the inevitable conflict that will arise from fishermen and coastal residents, because of infringement on public access.  This factor requires that a method of resolution be developed and be put firmly in place before such conflicts become abundant. 

There are several approaches that already exist to address the issue of dividing water resources.  Of these approaches, Enhanced Sectoral Management (ESM) is the most locally focused, dealing in terms of single sectors and taking ecological and community impacts into account.  Coastal Zone Management (CZM) uses a process of dividing coastal sectors into zones that share geographical similarities.  Therefore, the ecological impact is usually evaluated for a stretch of coastline.  Lastly, the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) plan involves the grouping of coastline zones that have a similar ecosystem.

The issue of conflicts raised from aquaculture siting has four possible methods of resolution.  Scialabba (1998) defines litigation as a process involving a court decision that is binding to both parties.  GESAMP (2001) believes that any approach involving litigation will result in failure, because there is no attempt to gain a compromise between the parties involved.  Arbitration invokes the use of a third party, which both groups agree upon, to weigh the situation and make a binding decision.  Mediation also uses a third party to facilitate cooperation and propose possible solutions to the situation.  Negotiation involves only the original parties communicating to reach a decision that both will agree to follow.

Appendix J. Worldwide Economic Impact

Worldwide, the aquaculture industry is rapidly expanding.  The Center for Study of Marine Policy (2002) states that aquaculture accounts for about 25 percent of total seafood production.  Based on the FAO’s aquaculture study, it can be seen that in this area of technological and regulatory development, the United States is still behind many other countries.  Only 8 or 9 percent of domestic seafood production comes from aquaculture.  Furthermore, the countries most active in the aquaculture industry are not all industrialized nations.  In fact, 85 percent of fish farming is in developing countries.  The aquaculture in these developing nations is not done with advanced technology and thus may be inefficient and have unforeseen consequences not yet investigated.  As long as the citizens are making a living, the government may not want to implement regulations protecting the environment.  In 1998 China accounted for 21 million tons of the 31 million tons of aquaculture output worldwide.  India came in second with 2 million tons.  Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand each also have a heavy aquaculture industry.  In contrast to these large numbers, the United States only produced 450,000 tons (Brown, 2000). 

The large amount of capital required to establish a profitable aquaculture site is another reason for the lack of significant advancement.  Because of the high cost of equipment and supplies needed, the initial investment is quite large.  Compounded with the fact that the venture is still viewed as high risk, once begun, there would be no assurance that the aquaculture site could repay the original investors (Devoe & Hodges, 2002).

In the past decade, fish consumption has dramatically increased.  However, the global economic crisis, which began in 1997, caused fish production to decrease along with consumption.  Much of the decrease was due to Japan’s reduction of fish imports in 1998, resulting from a devaluation of the yen (FAO, 2000).  As of 1999, Japan, along with the rest of the world, has experienced a post-economic-crisis increase in total fish consumption.  Some markets, such as the fish oil market, have now settled back to the pre-El-Nino levels of production in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

These increases in fish consumption in industrialized nations can be attributed to several factors.  The main reasons include an increase of health consciousness and the evolution of food science and technology.  The belief that seafood is a more healthful form of protein than beef, pork, or poultry has become more widespread.  This belief may be true since preparation techniques have made it safer to eat.  Also, seafood contains lower levels of cholesterol, less fat, and more omega 3 fatty acids than other sources of protein.  With the advent of improved methods for storing seafood and decreased transportation costs, many supermarkets now have large fresh seafood sections.  Also, a large amount of seafood is now going into precooked frozen meals (FAO, 2000). 

Aquaculture has driven down the price of seafood from the high levels during the late 1990s.  The farmed clams from Florida have lowered the price, causing New England fishermen to compete.  Shrimp fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico have had problems with the decrease in price of shrimp due to the introduction of large amounts of the farm-raised product (Stickney, 2002).  Since the aquaculture companies can produce their product for less money than capture fisheries, they can also sell it for less.  This makes life more difficult for traditional fishermen, like those in New England and in the Gulf of Mexico, who must spend more money to catch their products in the open ocean.


Appendix K. Public Perception and Social Implications

Another issue that must be addressed is whether consumers will buy seafood that has been farm raised rather than freshly caught.  In fact, some consumers may already be buying aquaculture products without even knowing it (Corey, 1992).  A study done by Gempesaw, Bacon, Wessels, and Manalo (1995), four professors of resource economics, reached the conclusion that most consumers would buy farm raised fish if the product was of comparable or of better quality than that of a product that was caught using standard fishing techniques.  Consumers are one group of many that will decide if aquaculture will expand in the United States.  If consumers decide they do not want to buy farm-raised fish, then aquaculture sites will suffer.  On the one hand, if the public has a negative view of the aquaculture industry, they will be unlikely to buy seafood products grown in aquaculture facilities.  On the other hand, if aquaculture sites can provide inexpensive, better tasting products than those caught using traditional fishing techniques, consumers will provide the industry with the money it requires for further growth.

One potential effect that aquaculture may have on consumers results from seafood raised in unclean aquaculture sites.  Franklin and Woods (2001) have reported on the poor conditions that exist in Chile’s aquaculture industry.  Chile has created such a demand for inexpensive salmon worldwide that it has been driving aquaculture sites to overcrowd tanks and overuse antibiotics.  Overcrowding of fish pens means that most will die before the harvest is complete.  The remaining fish are then rushed to maturity with the abuse of hormones.  Disease outbreaks that should lead to quarantines are instead fought with massive doses of antibiotics.  This may result in diseases that are resistant to drugs.  In some cases, diseased fish are harvested prior to showing symptoms and are sold on the market, causing major health risks to consumers.  The low-priced salmon that the United States imports from Chile is often less expensive than poultry or beef in U.S. supermarkets.  The government in Chile keeps no statistics on the quantities of antibiotics used in raising salmon, nor is there any sort of veterinary oversight.  Diseased cattle feed made from seafood grown in Chilean aquaculture facilities is also believed to have helped the spread of mad cow disease in Great Britain (Franklin and Woods, 2001).

However, the conditions of Chile’s aquaculture sites are not indicative of those in the rest of the world.  Martin (2001) reports that a study done by Tucker and Harris resulted in findings that aquaculture products are safe for consumption, despite claims to the contrary.  Tests on products showed that organisms grown in aquaculture sites had low concentrations of pesticides and other toxins.  In the few cases where pesticides were found, they were far below U.S. Food and Drug Administration action limits.  Another important finding of this study was that the residues of toxic substances in the farm-raised fish were less than in those caught in the wild.  If the public became aware of this information, groups claiming that farm-raised fish are unclean and less healthy than those caught in the wild would need to present information to refute the findings of Tucker and Harris.

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