ELI Primary Menu

Skip to main content

Offshore Aquaculture and the Magnuson-Stevens Act


June 28, 2013

Aquaculture is an increasingly important component of the world food supply; at the same time, it causes a variety of environmental impacts, such as discharge of excess feed and wastes, fish escapes, and impacts on local habitats and native species. Because the United States has not enacted laws specifically addressing aquaculture development in federal ocean waters, the government is using existing laws, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), to authorize and manage offshore aquaculture.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) implements the MSA and is moving forward with plans to apply it to aquaculture in federal ocean waters. Building on its issuance of a national aquaculture policy in 2011 and recent issuance of a special permit for offshore aquaculture in waters off Hawaii, NOAA is now moving forward with rulemaking to implement a Fishery Management Plan for aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA aquaculture program leadership has indicated that it will use the Gulf plan as a national model. However, not all stakeholders agree that the MSA authorizes NOAA to manage offshore aquaculture or that the statute is a good fit for this purpose.

This webinar brought together experts from NOAA, nongovernmental organizations, and the aquaculture industry to explore questions related to the application of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to offshore aquaculture.

  • Constance Sathre, NOAA Office of the General Counsel
  • Neil Sims, Kampachi Farms
  • Joe Hendrix, Seafish Mariculture
  • Elizabeth Fetherston, Ocean Conservancy

  • Read Porter, Director, Invasive Species Program, Environmental Law Institute




This seminar was made possible by generous support from the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation, the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Click here for more information on ELI's Ocean Seminar Series