Bucket of oysters

Aquaculture

Marine Aquaculture

Marine aquaculture (or farmed seafood) is vital for supporting our nation’s seafood production, year-round jobs, rebuilding protected species and habitats, and enhancing coastal resilience. Aquaculture—the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of animals and plants in all types of water environments—is one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein and has helped improve nutrition and food security in many parts of the world.
 Globally, aquaculture supplies more that 50 percent of all seafood produced for human consumption—and that percentage will continue to rise.

Currently, America’s aquaculture industry (both freshwater and marine) meets only five to seven percent of U.S. demand for seafood, and marine aquaculture supplies only about 1.5 percent of the entire U.S. seafood supply. At NOAA Fisheries, we support cutting-edge science and research as well as federal policymaking and regulation to grow sustainable aquaculture in the United States and reap its social, economic, and environmental benefits while supporting commercial and recreational fisheries. We foster sustainable aquaculture that provides safe, sustainable seafood; creates employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; and complements NOAA’s comprehensive strategy for maintaining healthy and productive marine populations, ecosystems, and vibrant coastal communities.

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FACT

United States produced $1.3 billion worth of aquaculture seafood in 2014

The United States produced $1.3 billion worth of aquaculture seafood in 2014. The top U.S. marine aquaculture species were oysters ($169 million), clams ($121 million), and Atlantic salmon ($76 million).

U.S. aquaculture production equals about 20% of the total U.S. seafood production

The value of U.S. aquaculture production equals about 20% of the value of total U.S. seafood production.

50% of imported seafood produced via aquaculture

The United States imports about 80% of its seafood, and nearly 50% of the imported seafood is produced via aquaculture.

World turning to oceans for additional food supply

Our oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface, but currently account for only 2% of human food. With limited arable land and freshwater, the world is turning to the oceans for additional food supply as global population is projected to increase to 9 billion by the year 2050.

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U.S. Aquaculture

We are working hard to foster the growth of aquaculture in the United States not only to help meet U.S. seafood demand, but also to help encourage job growth. We are involved in a variety of aquaculture activities around the country and offer assistance through our regional aquaculture coordinators.

Learn more about U.S. aquaculture

Global Aquaculture

We collaborate in a several international aquaculture scientific exchange programs and work with policymakers and researchers from France, Norway, and Canada on an ongoing basis to advance aquaculture as a global sustainable seafood source. We are also present at international meetings on aquaculture with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the European Union, Chile, Mexico, and other countries.

Learn more about global aquaculture

Shellfish Aquaculture

Shellfish farming and restoration is critical to get more oysters, clams, and mussels in the water for food, jobs, and ecosystem services. We are working with partners to address environmental research, spatial planning, permitting, restoration, and farming techniques through the National Shellfish Initiative.

Learn more about shellfish aquaculture

Outreach and Education

Public perception of aquaculture is a significant barrier to marine aquaculture development in the United States. Integral to NOAA’s aquaculture mission is advancing public understanding of marine aquaculture practices.

Learn more about outreach and education activities 

Funding Opportunities

There are a number of financial assistance programs that support sustainable aquaculture in the United States. Funding might address a variety of issues such as environmental monitoring, recirculating aquaculture systems, shellfish farming, alternative feeds, new species research, and offshore aquaculture.

Learn more about related funding opportunities

Frequent Questions

In the United States, aquaculture technologies and management practices continue to evolve through significant research focused on bringing greater efficiency, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness to the source of half of the seafood eaten on the planet.  Let us answer some of your questions about:

Insight

The United States has a small and vibrant commercial marine aquaculture industry supported by world class research and technology.

Musssel harvest in Shelton, WA