Aquaculture is an increasingly important source of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans worldwide and in the United States. In 1970, aquaculture accounted for 4% by weight of the total global supply of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. By 2002 aquaculture accounted for 30% of the global supply. The U.S. currently imports approximately 70% of its seafood, and of this, 40% is farm-raised. As wild-caught fisheries continue to be depleted, more and more industry is looking to aquaculture to satisfy the seafood demand. Environmental impacts from aquaculture can include release of substances such as animal wastes, antibiotics, and fungicides as well as escapees that can become invasive or otherwise hybridize with wild fish populations. Effective environmental regulation of this sector is an important challenge to this growing industry. Moderated by ELI’s John Pendergrass, panelists discussed the current environmental challenges facing aquaculture, laws and policies that regulate existing aquaculture practices, and expanding and emerging sectors such as offshore aquaculture.
Susan Bunsick, NOAA