December 9, 2022 USTFA

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Develop National Science-backed Aquaculture Data and Standards

Courtesy of NAA:

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) introduced the SEAfood Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at closing knowledge gaps, facilitating studies to inform future regulations, and ensuring that any potential aquaculture conducted offshore in the Exclusive Economic Zone sets a new standard that is truly sustainable. The bill is cosponsored by Congresswomen Julia Brownley (CA-26), Nancy Mace (SC-01), and Chellie Pingree (ME-01). Companion legislation is being introduced in the U.S. Senate by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

“If the U.S. is to develop thriving and sustainable offshore aquaculture, then it is imperative that we do so in a science-based and science-directed way,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “To do that we must build out our knowledge base on both the problems that currently exist and the solutions potentially available. The SEAfood Act puts us on the path toward increasing our understanding of both.”

The legislation directs:

  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit a report within two years examining lessons learned in aquaculture permitting, monitoring, and regulations in the 15 years since the publication of GAO’s 2008 offshore aquaculture assessment.
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study to develop the scientific basis for efficient and effective permitting and regulation of offshore aquaculture in U.S. federal waters.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a program to assess aquaculture facility designs and operational methods to minimize impacts on marine environments, prevent adverse impacts on wildlife, interface with existing uses of offshore waters, and withstand offshore ocean conditions – particularly in high-energy or inclement weather.
  • NOAA to issue grants to minority-serving institutions, historically Black colleges and universities, and Tribal colleges and universities to establish Aquaculture Centers of Excellence and help develop aquaculture curricula for undergraduate and graduate students.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.