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.