Aquaculture

ASA strives to advance aquaculture priorities within Congress and regulatory agencies.

ASA supports implementation of marine aquaculture policies that will lead to development of a domestic offshore aquaculture industry. With foreign aquaculture now accounting for about half of the 91% of seafood imported by the United States, development of a domestic industry will create U.S. jobs and meet growing demand for a safe and sustainable source of seafood. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world is now eating more farmed fish than wild catches.

ASA is considered a key player in offshore aquaculture in Congress and welcomes legislation that would remove barriers to offshore aquaculture development. Aquaculture is the fastest growing form of food production in the world, and most of this growth is offshore and overseas. Seafood imports are the second biggest contributor to the U.S. trade deficit – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) puts the U.S. trade deficit for seafood at $14 billion. That number is second only to oil. Major aquaculture-exporting nations include China, India and Vietnam. U.S. aquaculture—both freshwater and marine—supplies about 5% of the U.S. seafood supply, and U.S. marine aquaculture supplies less than 1.5%.

Specifically, ASA:

Supports research on plant-based feeds to position soy as the economically viable and environmentally friendlier alternative to fish meal and fish oil. Since 1992, soybean farmers have funded market development activities for soy-based aquaculture diets, primarily in China. This program has increased demand for soybean meal for farm-raised fish from almost zero to an estimated 408 million bushels annually, contributing to China’s emergence as the largest market for U.S. soybean exports and soy’s role as the largest U.S. agricultural export.

Congressional Action

Soybean farmers welcome pro-aquaculture legislation that would remove barriers to offshore aquaculture permitting and development. H.R. 6191, the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act (the AQUAA Act) was introduced in March by Ag Committee Chairman Peterson (D-MN) and Congressman Palazzo (R-MS). The legislation creates a market for soybeans in aquafeed, streamlines the permitting process and builds upon research and development efforts that are underway. ASA encourages Congress to move forward on considering H.R. 6191.

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