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Get Involved: Aquaculture Opportunity Areas

How to participate in the public comment period

How you can get involved   

Public Comment Period

NOAA Fisheries is holding a 60-day public comment period from Wednesday, June 1, 2022 to Monday, August 1, 2022 to gather feedback from the public on the scope of the programmatic environmental impact statement. Written comments can be submitted electronically or by mail any time during the comment period.

Scoping Meeting Presentation (PDF)

Electronic Comments: Written comments can be submitted electronically via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to regulations.gov and enter “NOAA-NMFS-2022-0044” in the search box. Click on the “Comment” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous.

Mail: Submit written comments by mail to Andrew Richard, Regional Aquaculture Coordinator, NMFS, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Please include “Gulf AOA PEIS” on the envelope. 

Public Scoping Meeting Schedule

Public comments can also be submitted verbally at three virtual public scoping meetings: 

Scoping Meeting June 8

Read Transcript (PDF)

Listen to Recorded Meeting (MP4)

Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. CDT/7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. EDT

Follow this webinar link to view the meeting presentation: :

https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW2739185&p=9612327&t=c

To listen and provide comments, dial l 800-857-5095 and use
participant passcode: 9612327

 

Scoping Meeting June 16

Read Transcript (PDF)

Listen to Recorded Meeting (MP4)

Thursday, June 16, 2022, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CDT/6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. EDT

Follow this webinar link to view the meeting presentation:

https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW2739198&p=9612327&t=c

To listen and provide comments, dial 800-857-5095 and use
participant passcode: 9612327

 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. CDT/7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. EDT

Follow this webinar link to view the meeting presentation:
https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW2739199&p=9612327&t=c

To listen and provide comments, dial 800-857-5095 and use participant passcode: 9612327

Share your thoughts

During the public scoping period, NOAA Fisheries is interested in data, comments, views, information, analyses, alternatives, or suggestions on:

  • The scope of the NEPA analysis, including the range of reasonable alternatives and how many/which locations should be considered and evaluated;
  • The type of aquaculture (e.g., finfish, shellfish, seaweed, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture) that could be supported and/or analyzed in a proposed AOA location;
  • Ecologically, economically and socially suitable species and gear for aquaculture that could be analyzed for a proposed AOA location; 
  • Monitoring and reporting requirements for owners and operators of aquaculture facilities that could mitigate impacts to managed and non-managed fishery resource, protected species, habitat, water quality, storm, navigation, economic, social/cultural and other impacts;
  • Potential adverse, beneficial, neutral and/or cumulative impacts to biological, physical and ecological resources, including potential interactions with marine mammals and other species protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act or Endangered Species Act, essential fish habitat designated under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other sensitive, managed, or protected habitats in the Gulf of Mexico;
  • Potential adverse, beneficial, neutral and/or cumulative impacts to the social, economic, and cultural environment, including commercial and recreational fishing industries and coastal communities;
  • Promotion of environmental justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion when considering alternative AOA locations and other aspects of offshore aquaculture development in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico; 
  • Underserved communities and underrepresented groups, and/or regions and communities that could either benefit from or be adversely impacted by the siting of AOAs in the Gulf of Mexico;
  • The impact of  climate change and/or changing environmental conditions (e.g., storm intensity, sea level rise, water quality) on siting and other aspects of aquaculture;
  • Current or planned activities in or near the areas highlighted in this Notice of Intent and their possible impacts on aquaculture development or the impact of aquaculture developments on those activities;
  • Other topics relevant to the Proposed Action and its impacts on the human environment.

Cooperating Agencies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and U.S. Air Force will be cooperating agencies on this PEIS. 

For More Information

Contact Andrew Richard, Southeast Regional Aquaculture Coordinator at nmfs.ser.aquaculture@noaa.gov or (727) 551-5709. 

Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf  may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

 

Federal Register Notices 

Notice of Intent to Prepare PEIS

 

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on June 24, 2022