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NOAA’s Role in Aquaculture

Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) in a tank in downtown Baltimore. (Credit: David Alves) Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) in a tank in downtown Baltimore. (Credit: David Alves)

As a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of the primary agencies charged with permitting and overseeing aquaculture.

Since 2008, the agency has been expanding its national program into the NOAA Fisheries Service's regional offices. This regional focus better connects the agency's national program with issues in the Northeast, Southeast and Southwest regions.

As the nation's oceans agency, NOAA plans to take a thorough approach to sustainable aquaculture that will create employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; provide safe, sustainable seafood; and complement NOAA's comprehensive strategy for maintaining healthy and productive marine populations, species, and ecosystems and vibrant coastal communities.

NOAA and the Department of Commerce have finalized draft national aquaculture policies that support sustainable marine aquaculture in the United States. The intent of the policies is to guide Commerce and NOAA's actions and decisions on aquaculture and to provide a national approach for supporting sustainable aquaculture. Please go to the link to read the the final policies, view the press release, or read the public comments.

NOAA News, Upcoming Events and Other Information -- This link will take you to the NOAA Aquaculture ‘News and Notices” page for announcements and updates.

NOAA Funding Opportunities -- This link will take you to the NOAA funding opportunities and financial assistance web page.

NOAA Milford Laboratory -- Established in 1931, the Milford Laboratory has a long history of research on shellfish in the Northeast. This link will take you to the Milford NOAA web site.

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office -- This link will take you to the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, where aquaculture is being used to enhance and restore native populations of shellfish.

Enforcement Workshop Summary -- In September, 2009, the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service held a workshop to examine the relationship between marine aquaculture development, fishery management mandates, and associated issues relating to fisheries enforcement. This document is a summary of that workshop.

East Coast Shellfish Growers Publish Aquaculture BMP Manual -- The East Coast Shellfish Growers Association published a new manual for shellfish growers in June 2010 titled, Best Management Practices for the East Coast Shellfish Aquaculture Industry. The manual provides a framework that will enable a shellfish farmer to write a comprehensive best management practices (BMP) document for their farm. The manual includes three major sections: A Code of Conduct; A BMP section with a discussion of issues and suggested BMP statements for specific farm operations; and a shellfish farm template with suggestions for farm-level BMP elements and a sample farm management plan. Each section also has a discussion of an issue important for shellfish farmers to address and offers with suggested BMP statements that an individual farm may wish to adopt as is or modify for incorporation into their farm BMP.

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For more information on the Greater Atlantic Region Aquaculture Programs, please contact David Alves
at (978) 281-9210 or