Marine Aquaculture Task Force

Half of America’s seafood comes from aquaculture—the cultivation of fish and other marine life for food consumption—and that share is expected to grow. The federal government has proposed a fivefold increase in U.S. aquaculture production, but policy makers need to take steps to ensure that the growth is carried out in an environmentally responsible way.

The Marine Aquaculture Task Force, a diverse panel of experts with scientific, regulatory, business and policy-making backgrounds, evaluated key issues related to regulating aquaculture operations in marine waters. The task force was organized by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with support from Pew and the Lenfest Foundation.  The final report of the task force was issued in January 2007.

In its report, the task force recommended a suite of protective, science-based standards to assure that aquaculture development poses a minimal threat to the ocean environment. The task force advocates evaluation of environmental risks prior to granting permits for marine aquaculture, and the inclusion of permit conditions to eliminate or minimize those risks. The panel urges that only native species of the local wild genotype be used in marine aquaculture unless the risk from doing so can be shown to be negligible. The task force also recommends enhanced research and development and the use of market-based incentives to ensure sustainable, ecologically sound aquaculture.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, view the materials below. 

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