Release of final Gulf Aquaculture Rule welcomed
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its final Gulf Aquaculture Rule, which represents a key early step in the fostering of a domestic offshore aquaculture industry, said the American Soybean Association (ASA). The association, which represents the nation's soybean farmers, has been a consistent and strong advocate for the growth of the offshore aquaculture industry in the U.S., and its demand for soybean meal as a sustainable and affordable fish feed.
'ASA supports this plan as the first step to realizing offshore aquaculture development and growth in federal waters,' said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, DE. 'The final rule today sets us on a course to development of the promising marine aquaculture industry in the United States, which has so much room to grow.'
Currently, the U.S. imports 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat, contributing to a trade deficit of $11.2 billion. ASA argues that a streamlined aquaculture policy will encourage the development of a domestic industry that create U.S. jobs, meets growing demand for a safe and sustainable source of seafood, and fosters an additional and growing domestic market for the soybean meal that provides such a valuable source of protein in fish feed.
'As the domestic offshore aquaculture industry grows, it creates multiple positives for American consumers, workers and farmers alike,' said Wilkins. 'It creates and supports jobs in coastal communities and all along the inland supply chain to retail and foodservice; it generates an American-grown source of nutritious and in-demand protein; and it further expands a growing market for the meal that we as farmers produce on our farms.'
'We applaud the administration for finalizing this rule,' Wilkins added. 'We look forward to working with our partners at the Soy Aquaculture Alliance, as well as within the industry, to continue the momentum from today's announcement.'