The SEAfood Act provides a way to grow healthy, sustainable seafood off the coast of the United States.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), this is the only action in Congress that will lay the foundation for a fair and inclusive seafood economy for both farmed and wild fish, bringing data and science to ocean development. US aquaculture is at the forefront. This is an important first step towards meeting growing consumer demand for seafood and creating future jobs in vulnerable coastal areas.

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According to EDF, the SEAfood Act will:

  • Charge the Government Accountability Office to produce a report detailing permitting, monitoring, and regulatory options for governing offshore aquaculture in the US.
  • Direct the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to complete a study on the scientific basis for efficient and effective regulation of offshore aquaculture.
  • Authorise NOAA to create an offshore aquaculture assessment program to gain data from on-the-water demonstration projects that close significant knowledge gaps necessary to determine strong, science-based standards.
  • Create a grant program, under NOAA, for minority-serving institutions to establish aquaculture centers of excellence to develop or enhance undergraduate and graduate aquaculture curriculum to meet the needs of a growing, domestic, and sustainable aquaculture industry and supply chains, and for career development and extension programs.

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The development of offshore aquaculture can help meet the growing demand for seafood and add stability to the domestic seafood supply chain, but the US currently lacks a federal regulatory framework and the requisite strong standards needed for sustainable, equitable and profitable offshore aquaculture.

The SEAfood Act catalyses studies to assess the best ways to minimise the risks of developing aquaculture in federal offshore waters and close knowledge gaps needed to develop the right regulatory standards.

A 2021 Environmental Defense Fund poll showed strong support for a science-based approach. Eighty-four percent of voters supported the proposal to first consider the opportunities and risks of fish farming in U.S. federal waters before imposing higher safety and safety standards and regulations. Security is established for sustainable aquaculture.

In addition, Americans have genuine concerns about the health and environmental impacts of foreign and domestic aquaculture. However, 7 in 10 Americans say farmed fish have higher safety and environmental standards if their seafood is caught or raised in the United States, and more likely if it comes from sustainable sources.

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