At the end of last month, Sen. Roger Wicker introduced S.3138, the “Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act,” or AQUAA Act, that provides for a regulatory system for marine aquaculture in the United States exclusive economic zone. The bill seeks to establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within the National Marine Fisheries Service to permit aquaculture facilities, removes aquaculture from the definition of “fishing” under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and establishes a research and development grant program to investigate disease management and mitigation, including efforts to develop access to safe and effective vaccines and therapeutants, development of cost-effective alternative feeds and alternative sources of protein and lipids in feeds, and to further the prevention and mitigation of adverse ecosystem impacts of marine aquaculture, amongst others. AFS shared the expertise of its members with congressional staff to help inform the bill, including recent research on improvements in science and technology that have lessened the potential environmental impact of aquaculture activities and regulatory hurdles in approving aquaculture drugs that limit veterinary treatment and management of disease in marine aquaculture that may ultimately stifle investment.
Join Steve Lochman, President of the AFS Fish Culture Section, in Atlantic City as he moderates a timely session on aquaculture that looks at issues like the risk of non-native species, fish diseases, and how aquaculture and fisheries can promote sustainable fisheries. The afternoon symposia will end with a panel discussion that is sure to be lively and informative: https://afs.confex.com/afs/2018/meetingapp.cgi/Session/6786.