New Film Looks at American Aquaculture

Jun 09, 2016

A new film funded by the Soy Aquaculture Alliance and the United Soybean Board examines the question of why Americans aren’t growing our own fish. The Working Waterfront, a new film from Living Ocean Productions, aims to educate consumers on the current status of aquaculture.

The Working Waterfront looks at four established farms raising catfish in Alabama, salmon in Washington state, and oysters and mussels in Maine. The farmers talk about their commitment to environmental responsibility, economic benefits to their communities, and producing locally grown, high quality products for their customers. They also discuss challenges to growing a robust U.S.-based aquaculture community.

Over 90% of the seafood Americans eat is imported from overseas, and half of that amount is from aquaculture. The U.S. has ample coastlines, infrastructure, and research and development capability to produce all of the seafood the country demands in an environmentally sound manner. Lack of consistent, coordinated permitting processes and a lingering outdated perception of aquaculture are cited as obstacles to increasing the supply of locally grown fish and seafood.

“There have been so many advances in biology and technology over the past two decades which have made aquaculture so much more sustainable than when it first started 40 years ago,” said Sebastian Belle, Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Association. “There’s a real need forgot word – did you want to say need? to educate consumers that aquaculture today has less of an environmental impact of any other form of protein production… and that the resulting products are among the healthiest foods anyone can eat.”

The video was funded by the Soy Aquaculture Alliance (SAA) and the United Soybean Board to educate the public about the advances made by U.S. aquaculture. SAA is a founding member of the Coalition for U.S. Seafood Production (CUSP), an informal association of aquaculture producers, suppliers, seafood distributors, retailers, and restaurants that support efforts to grow domestic aquaculture.

“One of the key advances that has made aquaculture more sustainable has been new feed formulations that replace wild-caught fishmeal with plant proteins, especially U.S. soy,” said Bridget Owen, Executive Director of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance. “The far-reaching benefits of a domestic aquaculture industry can extend up the supply stream to feed ingredient farmers, and down through communities by creating green jobs. But our belief is that healthy, locally raised food would benefit American consumers the most.”