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USA - Cross-Industry Coalition Launched to Push for Expansion of Domestic Aquaculture

A core group of seafood industry stakeholders with a common interest to grow domestic aquaculture has banded together to form the Coalition of U.S. Seafood Production (CUSP), it was announced last week at the Aquaculture Americas Conference in Seattle. The group - including aquaculture and feed producers, retail and restaurant customers, researchers, technology and feed suppliers, and public aquaria - aims to provide expertise and momentum in support of government action that will create significant growth in aquaculture development.

February 20, 2014

A core group of seafood industry stakeholders with a common interest to grow domestic aquaculture has banded together to form the Coalition of U.S. Seafood Production (CUSP), it was announced last week at the Aquaculture Americas Conference in Seattle.

The group - including aquaculture and feed producers, retail and restaurant customers, researchers, technology and feed suppliers, and public aquaria - aims to provide expertise and momentum in support of government action that will create significant growth in aquaculture development. 

“We believe establishing relationships and building connections among soy, aquaculture and seafood value chain stakeholders is crucial to helping aquaculture catch on,” said Steven Hart, the executive director of the Indiana-based Soy Aquaculture Alliance, one of the Coalition’s founding organizations. “This is imperative, as wild-capture fish production cannot sustainably meet the rising global demand for seafood in the decades ahead.”

CUSP first met in June, 2013, and developed three strategic directions for the group: specific efforts in support of legislative and administrative government action; coordination of education and communications efforts; and development of concepts for aquaculture pilot projects that are economically sustainable at a commercial scale.

“As a group, we’re not doing enough to ask for aquaculture development,” said Hart. “Congress says they’ve never heard of the need before.” 

To address this lack of awareness among legislators, the Coalition’s goals include lobbying for finalization of the Fishery Management Plan for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico; reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act, which regulates NOAA’s activities related to aquaculture; and including aquaculture as a “specialty crop” in the next Farm Bill to qualify for Agriculture Department programs.

 “We’ll get much further with a unified voice to create a common message,” said Hart.

For more information on the Coalition for U.S. Seafood Production, contact Steven Hart.

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