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7 Conclusions and Recommendations CONCLUSIONS Marine aquaculture including the farming of marine finfish, shellfish, crustaceans, and seaweed, as well as ocean ranching of anadromous fish is a rapidly growing industry in many parts of the world. In the United States, freshwater aquaculture (primarily the farming of catfish, trout, and crayfish) is an expanding industry; however, marine aquaculture has yet to sustain more than limited economic success. Based on its investigations, the com- mittee concluded that a number of benefits would accrue to the nation from a healthy marine aquaculture industry, including wholesome food to re- place harvests of wild fish from stocks that are declining or at maximum sustainable yield, products for export to improve the nation's balance of trade, enhancement of commercial and recreational fisheries and of fisher- ies that are utilized fully, economic opportunities for rural communities, and new jobs for skilled workers. Advancement of the science and technol- ogy base in marine aquaculture also provides potential benefits to other industries, such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Constraints on the industry have included difficulties and costs of using coastal and ocean space; public concerns about environmental effects of wastes on water quality; conflicts with other users of the coastal zone (e.g., boaters and fishermen); increasing population with concomitant increases in pressure on coastal areas; a limited number of sites with suitable water quality; objections to marine aquaculture installations on aesthetic grounds from coastal property owners; broad ecological issues involving concerns about genetic dilution of wild stocks and transfer of diseases through the escape of cultured animals; and a limited understanding of the biological criteria needed for the design of viable systems. 169

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170 MARINE AQUACULTURE On the other hand, the consumption of seafood in the United States is increasing at the same time that yields from capture fishing are reaching the limits of sustainable yield and the nation relies increasingly on imports to meet the growing consumer demand for seafood. The opportunity, therefore, exists for U.S. aquaculture to develop the capability to supply this growing demand and for marine aquaculture to make a significant contribution. Although legislation to promote aquaculture was passed in 1980 and again in 1985 (National Aquaculture Act, P.L. 96-362) (National Aquacul- ture Improvement Act, P.L. 99-198), a number of problems have prevented these expressions of policy intent from effectively transforming marine aqua- culture into a dynamic industry. First, except for the establishment of the regional aquaculture centers, no funds were ever appropriated to agencies to implement the provisions of these acts. Second, the needs of marine aqua- culture have tended to be overshadowed by the interests of the freshwater aquaculture industry, which are more closely linked to those of the tradi- tional agriculture community through its geographic focus in inland farming areas. Moreover, marine aquaculture, because of its location in the coastal zone, faces the more complex ocean regulatory regime, as well as widespread public interest and concern about activities that take place in or near the ocean. U.S. marine aquaculture is unlikely to reach its full potential until substantial changes are made in the ways in which federal and state governments support and regulate these activities and until environmental concerns are addressed. The present study investigated the opportunities for improving the out- look for U.S. marine aquaculture and concluded that the issues that con- strain development will need to be specifically addressed through three primary avenues: (1) advances in the scientific, technical, and engineering base that underlies this industry, both to achieve more cost-effective opera- tions and to mitigate environmental problems; (2) changes in federal and state agency roles to provide a regulatory and funding framework that en- courages the industry's growth while ensuring that environmental concerns are addressed; and (3) congressional action to address a number of unre- solved policy issues and to clearly define a national policy. For marine aquaculture to succeed in the United States, a more active and forceful federal role will be needed, one that employs a wider range of incentives for aquaculture development and that centralizes authority (and corresponding resources) to support the promotional role of the lead federal agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Achieving the objectives outlined above and discussed in detail in the following recommendations will depend on active oversight of the execu- tive agencies that presently are charged with implementing the national policies expressed in the National Aquaculture Act and the National Aqua- culture Improvement Act. Such oversight, to be effective, must come from

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 171 Congress, through a committee or subcommittee with responsibility for ensuring that executive agencies coordinate their aquaculture-related activ- ities to achieve the maximum efficiency in the use of limited resources and that sufficient funds are appropriated to carry out the legislative mandate. RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the committee's conclusions, the following recommendations are made with the aim of fostering the emerging marine aquaculture industry and en- abling it to establish a sound base from which to move forward in the future. Advances in Technology and Engineering- A Marine Aquaculture Initiative The opportunity exists for technology and increased knowledge to provide solutions to many of the environmental, economic, and biological limitations that constrain marine aquaculture's transformation into a significant U.S. in- dustry. However, the opportunity can be realized only if federal policy and action strongly support the development of new technology and the research necessary to provide the biological information for technology design. The committee recommends that Congress make a $12 million national commitment to a strategic R&D initiative to develop marine aquaculture technology and the biological understanding needed to address environmen- tal issues and concerns, and to provide economical systems. Leadership in this initiative should be provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with coordination by the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA) and implemented under memoranda of understanding (MOUs) among federal agencies involved in marine aquaculture regulation and research. The ini- tiative should include research and development to address the following: the interdisciplinary development of environmentally sensitive, sustain- able systems that will enable significant commercialization of onshore (on land) and nearshore marine aquaculture without unduly increasing conflict over use of the coastal area; development of the knowledge base for technologies and candidate species needed to make decisions regarding commercialization of offshore marine aquaculture operations that avoid the environmental impacts of nearshore operations; creation of (1) technology centers to be used for the above technology development programs and (2) marine aquaculture parks with umbrella per- mits for marine aquaculture for fostering development and deployment of new environmentally sensitive commercial technology; design and implementation of improved higher-education programs and

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72 MARINE AQUACULTURE procedures, and systems to collect and exchange data and technical infor- mation; and promotion of marine aquaculture as a vital component of fisheries stock enhancement by (1) facilitating aquaculture's role in the preservation of threatened or endangered species populations and of genetic diversity, including the involvement of private sector facilities; (2) developing pro- duction procedures for the broader range of species necessary for ef- fective mitigation of negative impacts on fish and shellfish stocks; and (3) developing and implementing improved methods for determining the effectiveness of using cultured stock for fish and shellfish enhance- ment activities in support of commercial, recreational, and ecological purposes. Federal Agency Responsibilities and Actions The federal agencies with primary jurisdiction over marine aquaculture activities include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and two branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the National Marine Fisheries Ser- vice (NMFS) and the National Sea Grant College Program. USDA was designated as lead agency in the National Aquaculture Act Amendments of 1985. The Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture provides a forum for these and other federal agencies to discuss their aquaculture activities. It is appealing to envision a highly efficient centralization of all responsibility for marine aquaculture in one agency USDA. However, consideration of the realities of longstanding and traditional jurisdictional responsibilities of other agencies FWS for hatcheries, NOAA for activities that take place in the oceans, the National Science Foundation (NSF) for funding basic research undermine the feasibility of such an approach. On the other hand, more active leadership and more effective coordination of federal activities are necessary to translate the intent of existing national legislation regarding aquaculture into greater commercialization. The following recommenda- tions are aimed at achieving action on behalf of marine aquaculture, and will require executive direction and congressional oversight to ensure that they are implemented. U.S. Department of Agriculture It is recommended that the lead role of USDA be strengthened by cre- ation under its auspices of several concise and comprehensive interagency memoranda of understanding that clarify the mission, role, and responsibil- ities of each agency with respect to aquaculture and specifically marine aquaculture. These MOUs should spell out the mutual understanding nec-

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 173 essary to create an environment for collaboration on needs and issues re- lated to marine aquaculture, and they must be reinforced with strong, high- level executive direction. With the MOUs in place, it is anticipated that the JSA can make a substantial contribution in influencing the actions of the participating agencies, going far beyond the role of coordination and information exchange now achievable. It is recommended that the USDA be charged with leadership in the promotion of commercial aquaculture including the research and support services (i.e., National Aquaculture Information Center) required, particu- larly in the areas of production, processing, distribution, and marketing of marine aquaculture products, especially as food products. The leadership role should involve: promotion of marine aquaculture as a provider of wholesome food; support of related R&D programs and establishment of related facil- ities for bringing new and improved systems and new species to commercial feasibility; reinstatement of base-level support for the National Aquaculture Infor- mation Center (NAIC); and collection and dissemination of production and marketing statistics and related information. To provide effective leadership for marine aquaculture, USDA will need to establish a formal entity focused on aquaculture, specifically including marine aquaculture at an appropriately high level within the agency, and to acquire expertise in marine aquaculture throughout its offices. Specific additional funds should be allocated for targeting marine aquaculture activ- ities in existing USDA programs such as the Agricultural Research Service, the Agricultural Extension Service, and the Economic Research Service. Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture It is recommended that in addition to its current role as a forum for interagency discussion, the JSA be charged with designing a streamlined planning and permitting process for marine aquaculture activities emphasiz- ing joint local, state, and federal coordination, and take responsibility for promoting the inclusion of marine aquaculture in the Coastal Zone Man- agement Act. Major unresolved issues that prevent marine aquaculture from achieving success should be addressed within JSA by the following actions: Formulate a plan for the explicit inclusion of marine aquaculture inter- ests and impacts in coastal and offshore planning activities and in policies of state and federal agencies.

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74 MARINE AQUACULTURE Design a model for local, state, and federal intergovernmental review of marine aquaculture projects to coordinate the permitting process, as well as state and federal regulation of marine aquaculture. Such a model will include guidelines for (1) planning the development of marine aquaculture business parks through provision of federal incentives; (2) assessing the potential impacts of marine aquaculture development on the marine envi- ronment and anticipating conflicts with competing uses of public resources and waters; and (3) developing appropriate mitigation measures for unavoidable impacts. Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of impacts of the Lacey Act (P.L. 97-79, as amended in 1981) on marine aquaculture; formulate national or regional policies, guidelines, and procedures for importation and use (in- cluding release) of nonindigenous and genetically altered species and for health-related evaluation and certification; and make recommendations to Congress for appropriate changes in the Lacey Act to specifically en- courage development of marine aquaculture based on ecologically sound . . conslc .eratlons. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service It is recommended that the FWS continue to exercise leadership in the area of fisheries enhancement of anadromous species. Such leadership should include: promoting the use of private aquaculture for enhancement of stocks of various anadromous species that are heavily fished or otherwise threatened or endangered; supporting the development of technology for rearing and releasing anadromous stocks where needed; and administering the introduction and transfer of nonindigenous anadro- mous species. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adm~nistrationl National Marine Fisheries Service It is recommended that NOAA/NMFS be charged with leadership in the management and assessment of stock-enhanced marine fisheries. Such leader- ship should include: evaluating the effectiveness of existing and future stock enhancement programs; supporting the development of technology for (1) producing stocks needed for nonanadromous marine fisheries enhancement and re- lated aquaculture, and (2) releasing marine stocks, where needed;

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 175 assessing the impact (or potential impact) of various nearshore and offshore marine aquaculture practices on the marine environment and fish- eries; and administering the introduction and transfer of nonindigenous marine species. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationl National Sea Grant College Program The Sea Grant Program has supported research relevant to marine aqua- culture; however, a major initiative should be undertaken in the context of environmental issues, the basic biology of candidate species, and competing uses of resources. It is recommended that NOAA/Sea Grant be charged with leadership in support of research and extension programs on marine aquaculture-related topics focused on preservation of the marine environ- ment, understanding the life history of candidate species, and multiple use of marine resources, including associated social, economic, and policy issues. Candidate research topics include: environmentally safe technology, methods, and systems for culturing marine species in the marine environment; marine aquaculture technology that is synergistic with other uses of the sea (i.e., multiple use technologies); life history and developmental biology of candidate species; the socioeconomic dynamics of the marine aquaculture industry (e.g., effects on local employment patterns); methods for addressing and resolving conflicts between marine aqua- culture and other competing users of the marine environment; comparative studies of state practices regarding the regulation and promotion of marine aquaculture; and alternative institutional and policy structures for managing marine aqua- culture in other countries. Congressional Action The development of marine aquaculture is beset with complexity that stems from unique factors that distinguish it from other kinds of agricul- tural activity. These are: its interaction with other marine and coastal activities and interests interactions often characterized by conflict; the fact that although marine aquaculture is ocean based, it is depen- dent on the use of land and freshwater resources as well; and

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176 MARINE AQUACULTURE the numerous environmental and regulatory considerations that are involved in the development and use of coastal zone land and water. This complexity entails the involvement of a number of federal, state, and local agencies that are responsible for all aspects of the advocacy, promotion, conduct, and regulation of marine aquaculture, leading to an array of planning acts, policies, and regulations. For marine aquaculture to realize its potential, it must be addressed explicitly within a coordinated and coherent policy framework in federal, regional, and state ocean and coastal zone planning activities, to ensure its proper consideration and evaluation with respect to both resource development objectives and environmental impacts. Designation of marine aquaculture as a recognized coastal use under the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act and inclusion in state coastal management plans would be the first steps toward recognizing its role as a positive marine economic activity and streamlining the regulatory requirements that must be complied with to engage in a marine aquaculture enterprise. Although most of the recommendations outlined above can be imple- mented by the designated agencies through MOUs and by the JSA under existing legislation (the National Aquaculture Act of 1980 and the National Aquaculture Improvement Act of 1985), three unresolved policy issues need to be addressed through new legislation and, therefore, require con- gress~onal action. Completion of Federal Policy Framework fo'- Marine Aquaculture Coastal Zone To realize its potential, marine aquaculture must be ex- plicitly included in coastal zone plans that ensure its proper consideration and evaluation in development and environmental decisions. It is recom- mended that Congress designate marine aquaculture as a recognized use of the coastal zone in the Coastal Zone Management Act (P.L. 92-583, as amended in 1990, P.L. 101-508~. Such designation will stimulate states to include marine aquaculture in their coastal management plans for achieving a balanced approach to land use, resource development, and envi- ronmental regulation. Federal Waters Currently, no formal framework exists to govern the leasing and development of private commercial activities in public waters under federal jurisdiction. A predictable and orderly process for ensuring a fair return to the operator and to the public for the use of public resources is necessary to the development of marine aquaculture. It is recommended that Congress create a legal framework to foster appropriate development, to anticipate potential conflicts over proposed uses, to assess potential

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 177 environmental impacts of marine aquaculture, to develop appropriate miti- gation measures for unavoidable impacts, and to assign fair public and private rents and returns on such operations. Revision of Laws That Impede Development of Marine Aquaculture The Lacey Act (P.L. 97-79, as amended in 1981) Environmental preser- vation and the protection of indigenous species are important concerns; however, the Lacey Act, as presently constituted, creates a barrier to the development of marine aquaculture. Control points for regulating the move- ment of living fish between states should be based on scientific and eco- logical information rather than solely on state borders. It is recommended that Congress make appropriate changes in the Lacey Act based on a com- prehensive evaluation by the JSA of ecological and economic impacts to encourage the development of marine aquaculture within an environmen- tally sound regulatory framework. Creation of a Congressional Committee or Subcommittee on Aquaculture As human demand for seafood exceeds sustainable yield from traditional fisheries, dependence on capture fisheries is likely to shift to dependence on aquaculture. No mechanism currently exists for congressional policy- makers to anticipate this transition and make appropriate policy decisions; nor is there a mechanism for congressional oversight of the federal agency and JSA actions mandated by the National Aquaculture Act and its amend- ments. It is recommended that Congress consider creating an oversight committee or subcommittee on aquaculture to provide a formal linkage be- tween the House Agriculture Committee and the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee to ensure the implementation of existing and fu- ture policies enacted to promote aquaculture. CONCLUSION A number of benefits will accrue to the nation from the addition of an economically vital, technologically advanced, and environmentally sensi- tive marine aquaculture industry. The prospects of this emerging enterprise are for healthy and vigorous growth, given a fair share of support for the development of an advanced scientific and engineering base, along with a reasonable and predictable regulatory framework. On this basis, the envi- ronmental problems that presently constrain marine aquaculture are likely to be resolved so that it can contribute to the continued vitality of the . . . nation's living marine resources.