Pioneering the Offshore Permitting Pathway

The 2011 release of NOAA’s National Aquaculture Policy was a great step forward. NOAA has demonstrated that is committed to the development of a domestic sustainable open-ocean aquaculture industry. In 2016, NOAA released the Rules that provided a regulatory framework for open ocean aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. The Ocean Stewards are committed to working with NOAA and other relevant authorities to revise these Rules to set in place a more practical, realistic and responsible permitting process for open ocean aquaculture in U.S. Federal waters.

Organic Standards for Aquaculture Finfish

The Ocean Stewards are continuing discussions with environmental groups and the National Organic Standards Board to push for setting of meaningful and attainable Organic standards for aquacultured finfish.

Establish a Robust Regulatory Framework in US Waters

  1. Designate NOAA as the lead federal agency for any and all applications for aquaculture activities in US waters.
  2. NOAA should continue it's efforts to make public a Geographical Information System (GIS) that provides guidance to offshore aquaculture proponents (both commercial farmers and researchers) for prefered offshore waters for aquaculture (POWA).
  3. An overarching Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for ocean aquaculture should be established to identify potential significant impacts, and monitoring and mitigatory measures for projects.
  4. NOAA should provide a timely review process for commercial aquaculture projects.
  5. The review and approval process for experimental aquaculture trials should be simplified in order to support scientific development.




Setting Standards for Third-Party Certification

The Ocean Stewards worked closely with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, The World Wildlife Fund and other stakeholders in industry and the conservation community, through the Aquaculture Dialogue framework for developing standards for sustainability certification of Seriola/Cobia and Feed. The goal is to establish rigorous environmental and social standards, providing consumers with a recognizable third-party certification that will assure them that the fish in their local retailer's seafood counter is farmed responsibly.

Establishing Dive Safety Standards for Offshore Aquaculture

SCUBA-, surface-supplied air or free-diving are essential components of working in offshore aquaculture, and for the Ocean Stewards - and for each of our members - diver safety is the highest priority. The Ocean Stewards have therefore drawn on the expertise of our members to establish consensual dive standards for offshore aquaculture, to provide a collectively-drafted guide for each of our members to govern the set-up and management of their own dive safety program.