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Aquaculture: Policy and Possibilities

September 29, 2022

Aquaculture—or farmed seafood—is important for nutrition, for local jobs, for climate-ready food systems, and for collaboration between wild capture and aquaculture to put U.S. seafood back on U.S. plates. 

Man checks on oyster bed at Wellfleet Oyster Farm Wellfleet Massachusetts Oyster Farm. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Adriane Michaelis

In the United States, we have a small, vibrant, and growing aquaculture community. Aquaculture growers farm dozens of different species, including oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp and crayfish, as well as fish like trout, catfish, salmon, and even plants of seaweed like kelp.

Close up of red buckets full of farmed clams
Florida Cedar Key farmed clams. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Adriane Michaelis

The United States is a huge market for seafood. But despite having millions of square miles of coastline and ocean access, we import at least two thirds of the seafood we consume. Of that two thirds, half of that seafood—mostly shrimp and salmon—is farmed as opposed to being wild caught. Considering our millions of miles of ocean, U.S. aquaculture production is relatively tiny. And it has also stayed constant over the last 20 years. By contrast, other countries’ aquaculture production has increased many fold. And we are buying it.

On this episode, we talk with Dr. Michael Rubino, NOAA Fisheries’ Senior Advisor for Seafood Strategy and formerly the director of the Office of Aquaculture. He’s been thinking a lot about farmed seafood’s place in the greater industry, and how technology and innovation have made it safer and more sustainable. Recently, he published an article about aquaculture policy considerations outlining some opportunities and challenges facing it. Follow along as we unpack these key considerations and opportunities for the future of U.S. aquaculture.

Last updated by Office of Communications on May 09, 2024