The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives, businesses and economy. American industries, including the seafood and restaurant sectors, have been faced with unprecedented challenges. During a time when economic stimulus is needed most, the expansion of sustainable aquaculture is one way to create jobs in our communities while feeding Americans with healthy, sustainable, U.S.-raised seafood.
Offshore aquaculture, the process of cultivating farm-raised fish in an ocean environment, is a safe and resource-efficient way to produce protein. In fact, it has a much lower environmental impact than other forms of food production. Domestic aquaculture will complement wild fishing to increase the supply of American seafood at our restaurants and grocery stores, provide jobs in coastal communities, and help revitalize our national seafood industry, which has faced significant economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
With the world population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, demand for sustainable protein will increase by at least 70 percent. To meet that demand, we must increase our food production through resource efficient methods. Aquaculture holds the key to the future for food production, utilizing the latest science and technology and industry best practices to produce sustainable seafood in an environmentally friendly way. Because of the benefits that aquaculture can provide, bipartisan support and momentum for domestic aquaculture development has been growing in our nation’s capital and nationwide.
Just last month, Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced bipartisan legislation to advance American aquaculture development. The Advancing the Quality and Understanding