President Joe Biden signing a stack of executive orders. SATS wants the new President to make aquaculture a priority. Photo: CNN/AP.

Biden urged to prioritise aquaculture expansion

New US President Joe Biden has been urged to prioritise domestic seafood production through aquaculture as part of his administration’s oceans and climate policies.

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Industry lobby group Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) said increasing the country’s seafood supply through aquaculture will have benevolent ripple effects throughout many areas of the US.

“Increased aquaculture production will increase demand for American-grown crops, such as soybeans, corn and peas, which can be used in fish feed, and will open up new markets to heartland farmers while lessening dependence on the uncertainty of foreign trade relationships,” said SATS in an open letter to Biden.

“By prioritising domestic aquaculture in your administration’s oceans and climate policies, you will support the growth of an American seafood community that is resilient to economic and climate changes and is part of a holistic approach to a greater sustainable food strategy.”

Executive orders

The development of offshore aquaculture was given a boost by former President Donald Trump when he issued an executive order streamlining a labyrinthine permitting process for fish farms.

But Biden has been busy reversing many of Trump’s policies by signing more than 30 executive orders of his own. These have so far addressed the Covid-19 pandemic, economy, immigration and climate change, but aquaculture supporters are keen to ensure the progress under the previous administration continues.

“For the US to continue to expand the aquaculture industry and tap into the full economic and environmental potential that aquaculture can provide, we ask that you continue the work of numerous previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, who sought to clarify aquaculture regulatory and management activities across federal agencies,” wrote SATS.

Federal clarity

“This federal regulatory clarity is critical for American-based companies to invest locally and to bring back home the many benefits of global, sustainable seafood production.

“Now perhaps more than ever, we need both sustainable, local food AND new job opportunities for all Americans. Aquaculture can fill both those needs while also limiting impacts on our global environment.”

SATS has requested an early meeting with Biden and his climate and/or ocean policy teams.