The American public would support initiatives to create “a clear and predictable path for offshore aquaculture”, according to a poll commissioned by the lobby group Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS).
The survey, which polled just over 1,000 likely voters, found two-thirds of voters “would feel more supportive” of a congressman who voted to establish pathways for offshore aquaculture.
When told that upon learning that doubling US aquaculture production could create 50,000 direct and indirect jobs, 87% agreed it was important to expand US seafood production.
A similar proportion supported the decision to create a pathway for industry expansion when told that offshore aquaculture presented an opportunity to create a low-impact, climate-friendly food industry, and 75% said that it was important for US companies to gain access to global offshore aquaculture opportunities by learning the global value of aquaculture and America’s limited access to the industry.
SATS has campaigned for an overhaul of regulations to allow review of offshore aquaculture proposals in US waters. The Promoting Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Law (AQUAA) bill, which has bipartisan support, is currently before Congress.
The United States imports up to 80% of its seafood from Asia and Europe, and the US seafood trade deficit has reached more than $16.9 billion (13, £8 billion). Despite the country’s thousands of miles of coastline, US farmed products currently make up only 5-7% of seafood consumed, and the US ranks 16th in the world for aquaculture.