NOAA Aquaculture Program Newsletter
February 2010


Welcome to the first edition of the NOAA Aquaculture Program's newsletter.  I am writing this as the greater Washington, D.C. area is still bouncing back from back-to-back-to-back snow storms, which may not seem like much to our friends in the Northeast, but was a record-setter for this area. However, that doesn't mean everything stopped cold. While D.C. was digging out, Dr. Jane Lubchenco announced that Eric Schwaab is the new Assistant Administrator for the NOAA Fisheries Services.  Eric is familiar with the potential and the challenges of aquaculture based on his tenure at Maryland's Department of Natural Resources and as a member of NOAA's Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. We look forward to working with him in his new role as AA.


Speaking of new, I am excited about the potential for this newsletter. Using this format, my staff and I plan on communicating with you more regularly on key issues and developments affecting not only commercial shellfish and finfish farming, but also public sector use of aquaculture technologies to restore important marine habitats such as oyster and coral reefs and to rebuild and enhance wild stocks of Pacific salmonids, Alaskan king crab, and other species. We will highlight the wide range of aquaculture research and management initiatives supported by NOAA and feature announcements, program activities, events of interest in your area, and some of the people and milestones that make U.S. aquaculture so dynamic. 


On another positive note, I want to let you know what NOAA is proposing to do with the funding requested in the President's budget. In FY11, the President requested an increase of $5.1 million for NOAA's marine aquaculture program, for a total of $12.7 million. With that, NOAA will continue to address the agency's significant regulatory and management responsibilities under existing laws for all forms of marine aquaculture, including coastal shellfish and finfish farming, hatchery-based replenishment of important commercial, recreational, and endangered species, and restoration of oyster reefs.  With the FY11 funding increase, NOAA will expand aquaculture research at science centers and through competitive grants.  In particular, NOAA Fisheries and NOAA Sea Grant will jointly respond to the four research area needs identified in a 2008 Government Accountability Office report concerning the environmental effects of marine aquaculture, including developing alternative fish feeds;  creating best management practices to minimize environmental impacts; determining how escaped cultured fish might impact wild stocks; and disease management strategies.


This week and next, I am on the road with speaking engagements and meetings in Seattle and San Diego. Thursday, I will give one of the 2010 lectures in the Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences. My talk, which is titled, "Is aquaculture a sustainable use of the sea?" should spark some good discussion with students, faculty, and other guests. The following week, I will be in San Diego to participate in the World Aquaculture Society's Aquaculture America meeting and the National Shellfisheries Association meeting. NOAA staff will give over 25 presentations on a wide range of issues at Aquaculture America, including alternatives to fish meal in aquaculture feeds, life cycle assessment of aquaculture, advances in stock replenishment/enhancement, aquaculture extension, fish health, oyster restoration, and aquaculture policy. Along with my counterparts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Fish & Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies, I will participate in the annual Town Hall on federal programs.


That's it for now. I look forward to staying in touch.

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