August 05, 2019
Barry Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., Henry L. & Grace Doherty Professor of Marine Sciences and executive director of UNE NORTH: Institute for North Atlantic Studies, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to provide his expertise on aquaculture to House, Senate and Executive Branch staffers.
Congress is considering legislation that would establish a regulatory system for sustainable offshore aquaculture in the United States.
Under current law, waters up to three miles offshore fall under state jurisdiction, while waters three miles to 200 miles offshore are considered federal waters.
“The legal and regulatory environment for federal waters is not well developed,” Costa-Pierce explained. “There is an accelerated interest by many foreign, as well as domestic, investors in aquaculture development in federal waters.”
Costa-Pierce was one of 17 aquaculture scientists from across the country invited to share their insights at the two-day conference.
Goals of the workshop included examining the current state of science for sustainable aquaculture, fostering a broad range of research perspectives to craft effective policy solutions and reporting key ideas articulated by participants in a document to be shared broadly.
Costa-Pierce gave a talk on how offshore energy projects can co-exist with aquaculture operations in federal waters, without harming existing fishing industries, water-based transportation systems or marine ecosystems.
“There are a lot of users out there right now, and moving further offshore can minimize conflicts,” he stated. “Plus, I know aquaculture can fit in with existing energy and transportation networks."
He outlined the vision, ideals and standards that have been developed internationally. UNE North has been gathering knowledge from countries that are much more advanced in aquaculture than ours, Nordic countries in particular.
“We are communicating that information to our partners in America, but we’re also looking at how we could go far beyond existing standards,” he stated. “Our goal is to make American aquaculture products not just better, but to produce the best ecologically, socially and environmentally sustainable foods from the ocean.”