A coalition representing the aquaculture industry has written an open letter to US President Joe Biden, arguing that more farming in the seas could help mitigate climate change, as well as meeting the world’s increasing demand for food.

Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) advocates for increasing Americans’ access to “healthful, sustainable and affordable seafood” produced in the US. The letter was signed by more than 70 aquaculture advocates, including American scientists, environmental advocates and industry leaders.

SATS notes that, according to forecasts by the United Nations, the human population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 20501 and the global demand for animal protein will rise by as much as 88 percent.

It also argues: “Well-managed marine aquaculture development could increase the resiliency of our food systems to future environmental, social, and economic shocks, including the impacts of climate change.

“Certain types of marine aquaculture, such as seaweed farming, also have the potential to sequester carbon and may be used as a tool to mitigate global warming by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

“In addition to carbon sequestration, aquaculture can provide other ecosystem services such as improving water quality, regulating ocean acidification, protecting coastlines, providing habitat for other species, and more.”

The full text of the letter can be found at the SATS website .

Margaret Henderson, Campaign Manager of Stronger America Through Seafood, said: “As our federal leaders seek innovative solutions to address the climate crisis, aquaculture, one of the most resource-efficient methods for protein production, should be considered as a tool to help feed our growing population responsibly while protecting our planet. Through federal action, the Administration and Congress can establish a clear regulatory pathway for permitting offshore aquaculture that would support a sustainable seafood future, increase the resiliency of our food systems, and create new jobs in communities nationwide.”

She was supported by Dr Kevan L. Main, Director of Mote Aquaculture Research Park, who said: “If we are going to feed the growing world population, we must continue to advance the development of sustainable marine fish farming technologies.  Protein production from sustainable aquaculture systems is more efficient and less damaging to the environment than other animal protein production.”

A bill with bipartisan support, the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act, is being supported by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Representative Steven Palazzo (R-MS). This would open up selected federal waters for aquaculture.

Under the administration of President Trump, an executive order was signed encouraging the development of seafood production, including marine aquaculture, but there is also vocal opposition in the US to net-pen farming at sea.

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