National Fisherman

The possibility of Gulf of Mexico aquaculture moved another step closer to reality this month. But the small step forward – mainly adding a few rules for the proposed fish farming – caused fishers and environmentalists to once again speak out against an idea they fear will unfairly compete against local fishers and pollute local waters.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which advises the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service on fish and fishing in the Gulf, recently approved the final draft of its proposed rule to regulating offshore Gulf marine aquaculture. After some more federal review and an expected public comment period this summer, the idea is that sometime next year businesses could begin applying for permits to establish red snapper, grouper and other finfish-farms in Gulf federal waters, which in Louisiana extend from three to 200 miles offshore.

The plan would make the Gulf the first region in the country to develop open-ocean aquaculture in federal waters, potentially reaping another 64 million pounds of seafood. The plan prohibits shrimp farming, and only allows the raising of native Gulf species.

Read the full story at Times Picayune>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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