Today, Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif) issued the following statement in response to the release of a draft National Aquaculture Policy by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the 111th Congress, Capps introduced the National Sustainable Aquaculture Act (H.R. 4363), legislation that sought to establish, for the first time, a comprehensive regulatory framework for offshore aquaculture development.
Currently there are no national policies or laws governing how this method of offshore fish farming should be regulated in America’s territorial waters which generally begin three miles from the coastline. Capps plans on reintroducing similar legislation this spring.
“NOAA’s draft National Aquaculture Policy represents a step forward in our country’s efforts to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for offshore aquaculture development. I’m pleased the draft policy tracks closely with the National Sustainable Offshore Aquaculture Act, legislation I introduced in the last Congress that ensures any offshore aquaculture development only proceeds in an ecologically sustainable fashion. Offshore aquaculture has the potential to preserve the integrity of our fragile ocean ecosystems, meet the increasing consumer demand for seafood, reduce stress on wild fish populations, and create jobs here at home. But we have to do it right, and this draft policy puts forward a good model for doing it. I believe this type of balanced, comprehensive and precautionary approach has worked in states like California, and has the potential to accomplish similar goals at the national level. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that any legislation on this topic does not harm coastal communities or the environment,” said Capps.
Capps also submitted comments to NOAA while it was developing the released draft policy. The letter is attached.