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U.S. moves to propel aquaculture with new executive order

May 8, 2020  By Liza Mayer

The Trump Administration has issued an executive order Thursday to remove “outdated and unnecessarily burdensome” aquaculture regulations to promote the competitiveness of American seafood.

The Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth acknowledged aquaculture’s contribution to the U.S. economy and in enhancing the quality of American lives.

It calls for the expansion of sustainable U.S. seafood production through more efficient and predictable aquaculture permitting.

“This demonstrates a clear understanding that safe, authorized aquaculture can have a lasting impact that is not only beneficial to the viability of wild capture stocks but to the economic sustainability of the entire seafood community,” said John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute.

The directive designated NOAA Fisheries as the lead for aquaculture projects located outside of the waters of any state or territory and within U.S. exclusive economic zones.

“This executive order will propel the United States forward as a seafood superpower by strengthening the American economy,” the agency said.

A Seafood Trade Task Force was established as part of the effort. The Department of Commerce, under which NOAA operates, will co-chair the task force tasked with developing a comprehensive interagency seafood trade strategy.

The strategy will identify opportunities to improve access to foreign markets through trade policy and negotiations; resolve technical barriers to U.S. seafood exports; and otherwise support fair market access for U.S. seafood produce.

“Continuing work to open essential markets, like the EU to our shellfish or Japan for our Alaska pollock, will help regain the seafood community’s financial footing and grow an industry eager to expand,” said NFI’s Connelly.

“Our country needs economic stimulus – not just in terms of immediate cash assistance, but also in the form of new job opportunities. Today’s executive action recognizes and fulfills this need in a pragmatic, deliberate way that is long overdue,” said Bill DiMento, president of the Stronger American Through Seafood (SATS) coalition and vice-president of corporate sustainability and government affairs at High Liner Foods.

Sean O’Scannlain, president and CEO of Fortune International and a board member of SATS, added: “We simply cannot meet the rising global demand for healthful animal protein without farming fish. We need both sustainable, local food AND new job opportunities for newly unemployed Americans.”

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