In this newsletter, I have many updates for you. First and foremost, there are quite a few new faces on our aquaculture team.  At NMFS we have hired some new staff at the headquarters office and have new aquaculture coordinators in the Pacific Islands and Greater Atlantic regions. They replace former staff who have retired or moved on to new challenges over the past two years.  Bios for our new staff are below, and staff bios for all headquarters and regional offices can be found here .  

I'd also like to welcome Jonathan Pennock who will soon join NOAA to lead our partners at the Sea Grant National Office.

During the last two weeks of July, the Office of Aquaculture will be conducting a formal peer review of the aquaculture science programs at NOAA's Science Centers. This review, to be conducted by a panel of experienced aquaculture scientists, will be split into two sessions. You are invited to view the presentations via a web broadcast and submit comments (see details below).

The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and the Office of Aquaculture released a summary of the workshop conducted last September on potential whale and turtle interactions with longline mussel aquaculture (details are provided below).

And last but not least, the Office of Aquaculture recently released its FY2016-2020 NOAA Fisheries Marine Aquaculture Strategic Plan. The Plan is now linked from our website - - or can be found by this direct link to the Plan's landing page.

I look forward to continuing to work with you to support sustainable development of commercial U.S. marine aquaculture and the use of aquaculture as a tool for species and habitat restoration.

Dr. Michael Rubino
Director, NOAA Office of Aquaculture
Michael Rubino signature
New Staff at Headquarters and in the Regions

David Nichols

David Nichols joined the program in May 2016 as the Pacific Islands Regional Aquaculture Specialist. Based in Honolulu, David is responsible for working with industry and research partners to develop marine aquaculture throughout the Pacific Islands Region including American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawaii. A primary goal for the Region is to simplify regulatory processes in cooperation with state and other responsible federal agencies. David is currently leading the development of a regulatory Management Plan for aquaculture in federal waters in the Pacific Islands Region. Prior to joining the aquaculture program, David was the NMFS Regional Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 6 Coordinator and ESA Section 7 biologist. He has been in Hawaii since 1999 and has worked with the Humpback Whale National

Marine Sanctuary, the state of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources and NOAA's fishery observer program. David received his B.S. degree in biology from the University of Southern Indiana. His master's degree research at the University of Southern Mississippi focused on the environmental physiology of shrimp.

Kevin Madley is the Aquaculture Coordinator for the Greater Atlantic Region, based in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Kevin works with federal and state agencies, industry, and members of the scientific, academic, and NGO communities on a variety of marine aquaculture issues. He has over 7 years of federal regulatory experience with NOAA Fisheries. Kevin worked as a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for nine years in the Center for Spatial Analyses and Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration divisions. Kevin has also worked for consulting companies providing GIS services, in-water site assessments, and regulatory assistance to business and property owners. Mr. Madley earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in biological sciences from the University of South Florida.

Mark A. Rath

Mark serves as the Science Coordinator for the Office of Aquaculture. He acts as a liaison between government scientists, regulators, and the public, placing him in a unique position to bridge science and practice. Prior to joining NOAA, Mark worked in several sectors of the aquaculture industry including food and ornamental fish production, restoration, public aquariums, agricultural extension and aquatic research models. He earned his M.S. in Aquaculture from the University of Maryland Marine Estuarine and Environmental Science program in 2004 and over the years has worked with many species, including tilapia, yellow perch, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, menhaden, blue crabs, oysters, clownfish, sea urchins, African clawed frogs and zebrafish. At the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, Mark led their aquatics team in the development and management of over 15 different aquaculture research laboratories on that campus and at the Walter Reed Military Medical Center. In 2011-2012 Mark served as President of the Zebrafish Husbandry Association. 

Clete Otoshi

Clete Otoshi is the Program Coordinator for the Office of Aquaculture. His responsibilities include coordination of international research collaborations, project management, and budgeting. Prior to joining NOAA, Clete managed the growout division of the Shrimp Program for Oceanic Institute in Hawaii. He led research and development of indoor recirculating system technology for the production of marine shrimp. His work included managing research trials during a five-year joint-venture project funded by the Department of Commerce's Advanced Technology Program to support commercialization of this sustainable technology. Clete also led international technology transfer projects where he designed and successfully demonstrated indoor recirculating system shrimp production in research and commercial-scale systems. Clete holds a M.S. degree in Marine Biology from the University of Oregon and a B.A. degree in Biology from the University of California, San Diego. 

Karen Pianka

Karen Pianka is the Aquaculture Fellow in NOAA Aquaculture Program. She is a recipient of the 2016 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. Her marine policy research has focused on shellfish and seaweed aquaculture as an income diversification opportunity for commercial lobstermen, and her marine biology research has explored the development of ecologically friendly treatments for blister worms in Eastern oysters. Karen's background includes experience working in the aquarium industry as well as serving as the Wildlife Permits Coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Both of these experiences afforded her the opportunity to work close to the interface between science and policy, which she is looking forward to continuing. Karen has dual M.S. degrees in Marine Policy and Marine Biology from the University of Maine. 

2016 NOAA Aquaculture Science Review

2016 NOAA Aquaculture Science Review

During the last two weeks of July 2016, NOAA is conducting a formal peer review of the aquaculture science programs carried out at NOAA Science Centers. Led by an independent review panel of experienced aquaculture scientists, the review will be split into two sessions. The first public session will take place in Milford, CT (July 19-20) and will cover recent aquaculture science conducted at the NOAA Science Centers in the eastern half of the US. The second public session will take place in Seattle, WA (July 26-27) and will cover aquaculture science from the Centers in the western half of the US. The review meetings will include presentations by NOAA scientists to the review panel. You are invited to view the presentations via a web broadcast (details below). Web viewers will be also be able to submit comments addressing the same questions being asked of the review panel by using the link provided at the end of this document. Note that anonymous comments will not be considered. Your identity will be associated with your submission and this information will be publicly available.

If you wish to join the online audience, please follow the login instructions below:

Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (872) 240-3412

Access Code: 544-092-293

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 544-092-293


Online Meetings Made Easy®

Not at your computer? Click the link to join this meeting from your iPhone®, iPad®, Android® or Windows Phone® device via the GoToMeeting app.

Every effort will be made to adhere to the final published schedule, however the exact timing is not guaranteed. The review process is designed to encourage discussion, which can negatively impact schedules. General agendas are below with links to details of planned presentations.

East Coast Aquaculture Science Review Schedule

Tuesday, July 19th: 8:30am - 12:00pm EST

Wednesday, July 20th: 8:30am - 12:00pm EST and 2:00pm - 4:00pm EST

West Coast Aquaculture Science Review Schedule

Tuesday, July 26th: 8:00am - 12:10pm PST and 1:00pm - 3:00pm PST

Wednesday, July 27th: 10:00am - 12:05pm PST and 12:50pm - 1:40pm PST

After the reviews are completed, a final report will be generated and made available to the public.

If you wish to comment on the reviews, use the questionnaire at the following link:

Public Comment for NOAA Aquaculture Science Review (2016)

NOAA Fisheries Releases Summary of Workshop on Potential Interaction of Protected Resources with Longline Aquaculture 

In September 2015, 44 experts in aquaculture, commercial fishing gear technology, marine sciences, and protected species met to discuss the potential for interactions, including entanglements, of sea turtles and marine mammals with longline aquaculture gear. Today, NOAA Fisheries is releasing the Workshop Summary.

Aquaculture is increasing in both near and offshore waters, making it important to assess the potential risk of interactions and to determine ways to minimize or reduce harmful and fatal events.

The goals of the workshop were to:
  • Collectively review a draft NOAA Technical Memorandum regarding interactions of protected species, such as sea turtles and marine mammals, with longline aquaculture operations.
  • Develop tools and strategies to support development of longline aquaculture while conserving protected resources.
  • Collect and discuss information that federal, state and local regulators and coastal managers can use to assess the potential risks that longline aquaculture poses to protected species.
The participants identified six priority areas for research that could improve the ability of farmers and regulators to work toward common goals of supporting aquaculture development while reducing risks to protected species. Comparisons between longline aquaculture gear and commercial fishing gear revealed several important differences in gear type and deployment density. These differences may (or may not) mitigate the relative risk of entanglement. These unknowns suggest the need for monitoring around farms until these questions can be resolved. Most importantly, the workshop provided an opportunity for networking among stakeholders to support future collaboration and information exchange.

NOAA Fisheries Releases its Marine Aquaculture Strategic Plan 

The Office of Aquaculture recently published its FY2016-2020 NOAA Fisheries Marine Aquaculture Strategic Plan. It is now linked from our website - - or can be accessed at this direct link to the Plan's landing page.
The Plan features four main goals: regulatory efficiency, science tools for sustainable management, technology development and transfer, and an informed public. Cross-cutting strategies of the plan include strengthening partnerships, improving external communications, building infrastructure to support marine aquaculture, and sound program management. It also establishes a target of expanding sustainable U.S. marine aquaculture production by at least 50 percent by the year 2020.
This Plan reflects input we received through internal review as well as from public comments. We received numerous comments from the academic community, government, industry, and NGOs from key stakeholders from all parts of the country.  In particular, NMFS' Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC)'s Aquaculture Task Force provided significant advice and comment throughout the process of developing this Plan
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View on Instagram   View our videos on YouTube

NOAA Aquaculture Office | NOAA Aquaculture Program | SSMC3 Route F, Ste. 13139 | 1315 East-West Highway | Silver Spring | MD | 20910