A long-awited notice of proposed rulemaking on the Gulf Fisheries Management Plan was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 28, 2014. The rule will set up a permitting process for offshore aquaculture operations in the Gulf of Mexico and has been widely anticipated by ASA and offshore aquaculture stakeholders. A link to the proposed rule is here. The 60-day comment period closes on Oct. 27, 2014.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepared the plan in 2009. The Federal Registerannouncement states that “If implemented, this rule would establish a comprehensive regulatory program for managing the development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico…The purpose of this rule is to increase the yield of Federal fisheries in the Gulf by supplementing the harvest of wild caught species with cultured product.”
ASA met with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and OMB (Office of Management and Budget) officials in May to urge publication of the rule. In conjunction with the Soy Aquaculture Alliance, ASA will review the proposal and offer comments on areas where it can be improved. State associations are encouraged to comment as well.