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Palazzo and Case Introduce Bill to Advance Aquaculture Research

Washington, DC - Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) and Congressman Ed Case (HI-1) introduced H.R. 6258, Advancing Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act, to provide for growth in domestic aquaculture production by authorizing new aquaculture research and streamlining existing permitting requirements.

"Over the last several years, this legislation has been tirelessly written and improved with feedback received from relevant industries, agencies, and Members of Congress across the country," said Congressman Palazzo. While certain provisions and language have evolved, the motivation for continuing to fight for congressional action on aquaculture has not changed- improving food quality and origin transparency, aiding a boost to our economy, and reducing reliance on foreign seafood imports. Food security is national security, and the AQUAA Act is a great step toward meeting the food demands of our nation and the world."

"For decades we have pursued the promise of open ocean aquaculture as part of our larger goal of sustainable management of our marine resources. States like Hawai’i have led the way in developing sustainable and safe aquaculture in state waters, but development in federal waters throughout our Exclusive Economic Zone has been hampered by a confusing and often contradicting regulatory scheme that does not sufficiently protect our marine environment," said Congressman Case. "Our bipartisan, bicameral AQUAA Act would provide a consistent efficient regulatory umbrella to help fully unlock the potential of open ocean aquaculture in a sustainable, environmentally sensitive and science-based way and grow economies for coastal states and food security for the nation. I thank Congressman Palazzo (MS), along with our counterparts in the Senate, Senators Schatz (HI), Rubio (FL) and Wicker (MS) for partnering with me and look forward to working with them and many others toward expanding sustainable aquaculture.”

As the world population continues to grow, there is an ever-growing demand for protein sources. To sustainably meet this demand, America must produce more sustainable products at home.

United States aquaculture is currently constrained by disjointed federal leadership and numerous regulatory hurdles, including overlapping jurisdiction of federal, state, and local governments and the absence of an efficient and affordable permitting process in the federal waters.

The AQUAA Act includes a set of national standards to guide the development of offshore aquaculture and aquaculture management plans that implement those standards on a regional scale. This bill will help fund research and extension services to support the innovation and growth of aquaculture in the United States.

The AQUAA Act has strong support from domestic seafood producers, soybean producers, and others within the agriculture industry.

Dr. Kelly Lucas, Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Aquaculture for the University of Southern Mississippi, “We need to develop offshore marine farming and facilitate investment in U.S. aquaculture to assist in the creating  a sustainable food future and supply seafood for a growing population. This bill is needed to provide certainty to businesses and investors that permits are achievable and safeguards are in place to support offshore aquaculture."

Sarah Brenholt, campaign manager of Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS), “Federal legislation on aquaculture is welcome news for the seafood community, especially now, as the industry faces supply chain challenges and seeks to recover from the global pandemic by offering an alternative source of protein raised in the U.S. SATS thanks Reps. Palazzo and Case for helping raise awareness and create dialogue in Congress about how aquaculture can help increase our seafood production sustainably and address the food security needs of all Americans, while creating new jobs in American communities from coast to coast.”

Click HERE for bill text.