The Role of Marine Aquaculture in the United States

The Oxford English Dictionary defines agriculture as “The science and art of cultivating the soil; including the allied pursuits of gathering in the crops and rearing live stock.” Modifying that definition by replacing “soil” with “Earth’s surface” makes aquatic agriculture – or in shorthand “aquaculture” – the fastest growing sector of agriculture.

Supplying Seafood

Seafood demand is increasing in the United States and abroad because of changes in

More than 70% of the seafood Americans currently consume is imported and at least 40% of that is from aquaculture.

Wild caught fisheries have been stable for decades. Increases in the availability of seafood must come from aquaculture products whether domestic or foreign.

Contributing to the Economy

The United States' trade deficit in seafood is currently more than $8 billion annually.

Development of a strong domestic aquaculture industry could help reduce that deficit, provide jobs for coastal communities and increase seafood supply and security.

Sustaining and Restoring Marine Fisheries

Over exploitation and habitat degradation are putting stress on many U.S. marine fish and shellfish populations.

Traditional tools for management of marine fisheries are limited for the most part to limits on fishing and protection of habitat.

Marine aquaculture programs can offer an additional tool that aids in replenishing and restoring fisheries by: