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White House National Science and Technology Council Unveils New Aquaculture Plan, First in 40 Years

February 15, 2024

Public invited to comment on the National Aquaculture Development Plan through April 5, 2024.

Two men spray baskets of oysters on a boat. Oyster growers harvest farmed shellfish from the Damariscotta River in Maine. NOAA has awarded several grants to small businesses working to develop new tools to advance sustainable U.S. aquaculture. (Image credit: C. Katalinas/ Maine Sea Grant)

For the first time since 1983, the United States is releasing an updated National Aquaculture Development Plan. It will strengthen U.S. commitment to food security, climate resilience, and the protection of threatened and endangered marine and freshwater species

In a changing climate, aquaculture is becoming increasingly important as a climate-smart and healthy means of food production. Seafood farming, if done responsibly—as it is in the United States—is one of the most environmentally sustainable ways to produce healthy food. 

In addition to providing a sustainable source of American-raised seafood, aquaculture plays an important role in fisheries restoration. Hatchery-reared fish (seedstock and fingerlings) are released into the wild to help bolster populations of wild marine species. Aquaculture has helped more than 70 endangered or threatened species, including Pacific Salmon, white abalone, and queen conch. In addition, it’s helped restore habitats and mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

How to Submit a Public Comment

The National Science and Technology Council, Subcommittee on Aquaculture, is soliciting comments on the draft Overview of the National Aquaculture Development Plan. It includes three strategic plans.

Two of them, the Strategic Plan to Enhance Regulatory Efficiency in Aquaculture and the National Strategic Plan for Aquaculture Research, were completed and published in 2022. The third plan, the draft Strategic Plan for Aquaculture Economic Development, is now out for public comment.

Once finalized, together these four documents will comprise an updated National Aquaculture Development Plan that provides a holistic framework describing how federal agencies are advancing the contributions of aquaculture to support public health and nutrition, resilient communities, a strong economy, and a healthy planet.

The 45-day comment period for the draft Aquaculture Development Plan, including the draft Strategic Plan for Aquaculture Economic Development, is open through April 5, 2024.

Comments can be submitted to AquacultureEcoDev@usda.gov.

Working Across Agencies on the Subcommittee for Aquaculture

The Subcommittee on Aquaculture serves as the federal interagency coordinating group to increase the overall effectiveness and productivity of Federal aquaculture research, regulation, technology transfer, and assistance programs. 

The Subcommittee on Aquaculture’s Economic Development task force includes partner agencies from:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency

Learn more about the Subcommittee on Aquaculture and NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture

Last updated by Office of Aquaculture on February 20, 2024