NOAA Fisheries has published a notice of intent announcing the preparation of the Southern California programmatic environmental impact statement. This seeks to assess the impacts of identifying one or more Aquaculture Opportunity Areas in federal waters of the Southern California Bight.
The notice of intent initiates a formal 60-day public scoping period for the programmatic environmental impact statement that will close on July 22. Public comments can be submitted in writing as well as during two virtual public meetings that will be held on June 27 and July 11. Information and instructions on how to submit comments can be found on the NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region AOA Public Scoping Meetings page.
The comments received during scoping will play a key role in helping NOAA Fisheries and its cooperating agencies – including NOAA the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – determine the scope of the programmatic environmental impact statement.
NOAA Fisheries and its federal partners will use feedback from the public – including industry, states, local communities, tribal governments, commercial and recreational fishing organisations, fishery management councils, the environmental NGO community, and other key stakeholders – to determine the number and location of alternative AOAs and the range of aquaculture types and systems NOAA evaluates in the statement.
“We greatly appreciate hearing from you during our public comment period, as well as your assistance in spreading the word to your communities about this important opportunity,” said NOAA in a press release.