On October 22, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a request for information on the creation of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOAs) in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and waters near southern California. The public and stakeholders are encouraged to provide comments for AOA creation in these areas as well as the location of future AOAs. NOAA is accepting public comments through December 22. To submit comments, click here.
On May 7, 2020, the White House issued an Executive Order (E.O.) on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. As part of the E.O., NOAA is directed to establish and identify AOAs, which are small, defined geographic areas that have been evaluated to determine their potential suitability for commercial aquaculture. NOAA plans to use a combination of scientific analysis and public engagement to identify areas that are environmentally, socially and economically appropriate for commercial aquaculture.
Counties support policies aimed at strengthening commercial activities while preserving the environment to foster safe and vibrant communities. Counties work closely with NOAA, as NACo is part of NOAA’s Digital Coast Partnership. In June 2018, NACo testified alongside NOAA before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Oceans Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee on the Digital Coast program. For more information on how counties can partner with NOAA and other organizations to improve their coastal resiliency, click here.