World Aquaculture Society Meetings

Add To Calendar 24/02/2016 10:00:0024/02/2016 10:20:00America/ChicagoAquaculture 2016Protected Species & LONGLINE MUSSELL Aquaculture Interactions Champagne 2The World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY

Protected Species & LONGLINE MUSSELL Aquaculture Interactions

Carol Price*, Ellen Keane, David Morin, Christine Vaccaro, David Bean, & James A. Morris, Jr.
NOAA National Ocean Service
101 Pivers Island Rd.
Beaufort, NC  28516

Marine aquaculture is expected to expand in the U.S. Economic Exclusive Zone due to increased demand for domestically grown seafood coupled with improved technological capacity to farm in the open ocean. Aquaculture companies must acquire appropriate permits to establish farms, and - depending upon location, type of aquaculture proposed, and scale of the operation - several agencies may be involved in permitting. Under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) a federal agency must determine if proposed aquaculture activities will affect ESA-listed species and/or critical habitat in the proposed site. To make informed assessments of potential effects of aquaculture, protected resources scientists rely on expert scientific knowledge. There is growing interest in siting mussel longline aquaculture operations in North Atlantic federal waters, and the NOAA staff requires science-based resources to make knowledgeable determinations and recommendations about potential interactions with protected species.

Relatively little is known about how marine mammals and sea turtles interact with aquaculture facilities in the open ocean, and prior to our efforts, there was no summarization of the scant available information. We compiled and analyzed over 100 journal articles and technical reports to reflect the worldwide state of knowledge about effects of offshore aquaculture on protected species, with specific focus on mussel culture and ESA-listed whales and sea turtles in the northern Atlantic Region. Because there is little direct data, research or observations of marine mammal interactions with mussel farms, we broadened the scope of our investigation to include effects of other marine aquaculture sectors on protected species. Additionally, we identified similarities between commercial fishing and aquaculture gears.

This report laid the foundation for a workshop in Fall 2015 to bring together state and national regulators, industry, researchers and other stakeholders to cooperatively refine a risk analysis and needs assessment for this issue. The ultimate goal is successful coordination of permit review aided by having transparent, agreed upon and scientifically informed expectations for permit review for mussel farms and other aquaculture operations in federal waters in the north Atlantic and other U.S. waters. This project supports the goals of our research team to develop decision support tools for coastal managers enabling them to safeguard the environment while supporting aquaculture development in the coastal zone.  

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