Capps' offshore aquaculture bill


Whit Richardson , SeafoodSource contributing editor

Published on
December 22, 2009

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) last night introduced H.R. 4363, otherwise known as the National Sustainable Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2009.

The piece of legislation is designed to set up a federal regulatory framework to permit fish farms in federal waters, which often begin three miles off the coast. Currently, no national regulatory framework to permit such an operation exists, arguably stifling any investment in nascent offshore aquaculture technology in this country.

"Developing these guidelines has the potential to preserve the integrity of our fragile ocean ecosystems, meet the increasing consumer demand for seafood, reduce stress on wild fish populations, and create jobs here at home," Rep. Capps said in a press release from her office, which is embedded below.

The key provisions of the legislation include:

•Establishing a clear, streamlined regulatory process for offshore aquaculture with specific provisions and permit terms to protect marine ecosystems and coastal communities

•Requiring coordinated, regional programmatic environmental impact statements to provide regulatory certainty, ensure environmental protection for sensitive marine areas, and reduce conflicts among competing uses of the marine environment

•Authorizing new funds for research to provide the crucial feedback needed for adaptive, environmentally-sound management of this new use of offshore waters

*Originally posted to The New Aquaculture on Thursday, December 17, 2009.

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