In a recent message acknowledging October as National Seafood Month, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver spoke of the U.S. seafood industry’s resiliency in the face of a pandemic and reinforced the country’s commitment to the industry.
Oliver said NOAA Fisheries has been proactive in monitoring and adjusting to the short- and long-term effects the pandemic will have on the industry, which supported 1.2 million jobs and flowed $69.2 billion to the GDP in 2017.
The U.S. intends to augment sustainable production and allow U.S. products to compete in domestic and foreign markets. The president’s Executive Order in May paves the way for various efforts, including the creation of a new Seafood Trade Task Force and 10 Aquaculture Opportunity Areas.
“Growing our domestic aquaculture industry is critical to expanding and stabilizing the supply of sustainable seafood in the face of environmental and economic uncertainty,” Oliver said. “Aquaculture operations diversify seafood production and provide a year-round source of high-quality jobs and economic opportunities in coastal communities. These jobs augment seasonal tourism and commercial fishing.”
In August, NOAA announced that the sites of the first two Aquaculture Opportunity Areas will be in federal waters off Southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico.
“By tapping into existing regional industry and infrastructure, each of the final 10 areas selected through 2025 will support new commercial marine farm sites.” Oliver said.