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Aquarium to Support Research on Policy Barriers for Responsible Marine Aquaculture

Hog Island algae on mudflats - popup
Farmers harvest algae being farmed at Hog Island Oyster Company based in California's Bay Area. Remi Hale, Hog Island Oyster Company

Seafood for the Future

September 23, 2019

Marine aquaculture is the practice of farming seafood products, including finfish, shellfish, and seaweed, in the ocean.

Through its Seafood for the Future program, the Aquarium will participate in a two-year research project to assess how changing policies and fisheries conditions in the United States may have supported or hindered development of this industry. Marine aquaculture is the practice of farming seafood products, including finfish, shellfish, and seaweed, in the ocean.

The United States is currently the largest importer of seafood in the world. Despite American consumers’ demand for seafood, domestic aquaculture and fisheries production has remained relatively flat for several decades. Because wild-caught fisheries are already under strain, many experts see responsible marine aquaculture as a sustainable source of seafood that could help meet demand.

In this project, researchers hope to conduct large-scale data synthesis and time series analysis of the adoption of marine aquaculture in all twenty-four coastal marine states in the country. The results could help identify places where responsible marine aquaculture could be established with fewer barriers, inform future policy and investment, and determine the efficacy of current aquaculture policies. The study will also take into account the relationship between aquaculture and wild-caught fisheries and could identify places where responsible aquaculture would help diversify the local seafood industry.

Funding for the project totaling $196,921 was part of $16 million in grants awarded by Sea Grant to support projects aimed at advancing sustainable aquaculture in the United States. The project is led by the University of California, Santa Barbara in collaboration with the Aquarium, Florida State University; the National Sea Grant Law Center; and California Sea Grant.

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