Aquaculture News

Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth

Add some more info about this item...

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to strengthen the American economy; improve the competitiveness of American industry; ensure food security; provide environmentally safe and sustainable seafood; support American workers; ensure coordinated, predictable, and transparent Federal actions; and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Purpose.  America needs a vibrant and competitive seafood industry to create and sustain American jobs, put safe and healthy food on American tables, and contribute to the American economy.  Despite America’s bountiful aquatic resources, by weight our Nation imports over 85 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States.  At the same time, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing undermines the sustainability of American and global seafood stocks, negatively affects general ecosystem health, and unfairly competes with the products of law-abiding fishermen and seafood industries around the world.  More effective permitting related to offshore aquaculture and additional streamlining of fishery regulations have the potential to revolutionize American seafood production, enhance rural prosperity, and improve the quality of American lives.  By removing outdated and unnecessarily burdensome regulations; strengthening efforts to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; improving the transparency and efficiency of environmental reviews; and renewing our focus on long-term strategic planning to facilitate aquaculture projects, we can protect our aquatic environments; revitalize our Nation’s seafood industry; get more Americans back to work; and put healthy, safe food on our families’ tables.

Sec. 2.  Policy.  It is the policy of the Federal Government to:

(a)  identify and remove unnecessary regulatory barriers restricting American fishermen and aquaculture producers;

(b)  combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing;

(c)  provide good stewardship of public funds and stakeholder time and resources, and avoid duplicative, wasteful, or inconclusive permitting processes;

(d)  facilitate aquaculture projects through regulatory transparency and long-term strategic planning;

(e)  safeguard our communities and maintain a healthy aquatic environment;

(f)  further fair and reciprocal trade in seafood products; and

(g)  continue to hold imported seafood to the same food-safety requirements as domestically produced products.

Sec. 3.  Definitions.  For purposes of this order:

     (a)  “Aquaculture” means the propagation, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic species in controlled or selected environments;

(b)  “Aquaculture facility” means any land, structure, or other appurtenance that is used for aquaculture;

(c)  “Aquaculture project” means a project to develop the physical assets designed to provide or support services to activities in the aquaculture sector, including projects for the development or construction of an aquaculture facility;

(d)  “Exclusive economic zone of the United States” means the zone established in Proclamation 5030 of March 10, 1983 (Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States of America);

(e)  “Lead agency” has the meaning given that term in the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality, contained in title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, that implement the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);

(f)  “Maritime domain” means all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime-related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances;

(g)  “Maritime domain awareness” means the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime domain that could affect the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States; and

(h)  “Project sponsor” means an entity, including any private, public, or public-private entity, that seeks an authorization for an aquaculture project.

Sec. 4.  Removing Barriers to American Fishing.  (a)  The Secretary of Commerce shall request each Regional Fishery Management Council to submit, within 180 days of the date of this order, a prioritized list of recommended actions to reduce burdens on domestic fishing and to increase production within sustainable fisheries, including a proposal for initiating each recommended action within 1 year of the date of this order.

(i)    Recommended actions may include changes to regulations, orders, guidance documents, or other similar agency actions.

(ii)   Recommended actions shall be consistent with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.); the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); the Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.); and other applicable laws.

(iii)  Consistent with section 302(f) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1852(f)), and within existing appropriations, the Secretary of Commerce shall provide administrative and technical support to the Regional Fishery Management Councils to carry out this subsection.

(b)  The Secretary of Commerce shall review and, as appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, update the Department of Commerce’s contribution to the Unified Regulatory Agenda based on an evaluation of the lists received pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(c)  the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality a report evaluating the recommendations described in subsection (a) of this section and describing any actions taken to implement those recommendations.  This report shall be updated annually for the following 2 years.

     Sec. 5.  Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing.  (a)  Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shall issue, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, a notice of proposed rulemaking further implementing the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing, which entered into force on June 5, 2016 (the Port State Measures Agreement).

(b)  The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the heads of other appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall, to the extent permitted by law, encourage public-private partnerships and promote interagency, intergovernmental, and international cooperation in order to improve global maritime domain awareness, cooperation concerning at-sea transshipment activities, and the effectiveness of fisheries law enforcement.

(c)  The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, consistent with applicable law and available appropriations, prioritize training and technical assistance in key geographic areas to promote sustainable fisheries management; to strengthen and enhance existing enforcement capabilities to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; and to promote implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement.

Sec. 6.  Removing Barriers to Aquaculture Permitting.  (a)  For aquaculture projects that require environmental review or authorization by two or more agencies in order to proceed with the permitting of an aquaculture facility, when the lead agency has determined that it will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under NEPA, the agencies shall undertake to complete all environmental reviews and authorization decisions within 2 years, measured from the date of the publication of a notice of intent to prepare an EIS to the date of issuance of the Record of Decision (ROD), and shall use the “One Federal Decision” process enhancements described in section 5(b) of Executive Order 13807 of August 15, 2017 (Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects), and in subsections (a)(ii) and (iii) of this section.  For such projects:

(i)    NOAA is designated as the lead agency for aquaculture projects located outside of the waters of any State or Territory and within the exclusive economic zone of the United States and shall be responsible for navigating the project through the Federal environmental review and authorization process, including the identification of a primary point of contact at each cooperating and participating agency;

(ii)   Consistent with the “One Federal Decision” process enhancements, all cooperating and participating agencies shall cooperate with the lead agency and shall respond to requests for information from the lead agency in a timely manner;

(iii)  Consistent with the “One Federal Decision” process enhancements, the lead agency and all cooperating and participating agencies shall record all individual agency decisions in one ROD, unless the project sponsor requests that agencies issue separate NEPA documents, the NEPA obligations of a cooperating or participating agency have already been satisfied, or the lead agency determines that a single ROD would not best promote completion of the project’s environmental review and authorization process; and

(iv)   The lead agency, in consultation with the project sponsor and all cooperating and participating agencies, shall prepare a permitting timetable for the project that includes the completion dates for all federally required environmental reviews and authorizations and for issuance of a ROD, and shall make the permitting timetable publicly available on its website.

(b)  Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, other appropriate Federal officials, and appropriate State officials, shall:

(i)    develop and propose for public comment, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, a proposed United States Army Corps of Engineers nationwide permit authorizing finfish aquaculture activities in marine and coastal waters out to the limit of the territorial sea and in ocean waters beyond the territorial sea within the exclusive economic zone of the United States;

(ii)   assess whether to develop a United States Army Corps of Engineers nationwide permit authorizing finfish aquaculture activities in other waters of the United States;

(iii)  develop and propose for public comment, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, a proposed United States Army Corps of Engineers nationwide permit authorizing seaweed aquaculture activities in marine and coastal waters out to the limit of the territorial sea and in ocean waters beyond the territorial sea within the exclusive economic zone of the United States;

(iv)   assess whether to develop a United States Army Corps of Engineers nationwide permit authorizing seaweed aquaculture activities for other waters of the United States;

(v)    develop and propose for public comment, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, a proposed United States Army Corps of Engineers nationwide permit authorizing multi-species aquaculture activities in marine and coastal waters out to the limit of the territorial sea and in ocean waters beyond the territorial sea within the exclusive economic zone of the United States; and

Sec. 7.  Aquaculture Opportunity Areas.  (a)  The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, other appropriate Federal officials, and appropriate Regional Fishery Management Councils, and in coordination with appropriate State and tribal governments, shall:

          (i)   within 1 year of the date of this order, identify at least two geographic areas containing locations suitable for commercial aquaculture and, within 2 years of identifying each area, complete a programmatic EIS for each area to assess the impact of siting aquaculture facilities there; and

(ii)  for each of the following 4 years, identify two additional geographic areas containing locations suitable for commercial aquaculture and, within 2 years of identifying each area, complete a programmatic EIS for each area to assess the impact of siting aquaculture facilities there.

(b)  A programmatic EIS completed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may include the identification of suitable species for aquaculture in those particular locations, suitable gear for aquaculture in such locations, and suitable reporting requirements for owners and operators of aquaculture facilities in such locations.

(c)  In identifying specific geographic areas under subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary of Commerce shall solicit and consider public comment and seek to minimize unnecessary resource use conflicts as appropriate, including conflicts with military readiness activities or operations; navigation; shipping lanes; commercial and recreational fishing; oil, gas, renewable energy, or other marine mineral exploration and development; essential fish habitats, under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; and species protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

     Sec. 8.  Improving Regulatory Transparency for Aquaculture.  (a)  Within 240 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with other appropriate Federal and State officials, shall prepare and place prominently on the appropriate NOAA webpage a single guidance document that:

(i)   describes the Federal regulatory requirements and relevant Federal and State agencies involved in aquaculture permitting and operations; and

(ii)  identifies Federal grant programs applicable to aquaculture siting, research, development, and operations.
(b)  The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of NOAA, shall update this guidance as appropriate, but not less than once every 18 months.

Sec. 9.  Updating National Aquaculture Development Plan.  (a)  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture, established pursuant to the National Aquaculture Act of 1980 (16 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.), shall assess whether to revise the National Aquaculture Development Plan, consistent with 16 U.S.C. 2803(a)(2) and (d), in order to strengthen our Nation’s domestic aquaculture production and improve the efficiency and predictability of aquaculture permitting, including permitting for aquaculture projects located outside of the waters of any State or Territory and within the exclusive economic zone of the United States.

(b)  In making any revisions to the National Aquaculture Development Plan as a result of this assessment, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce shall, as appropriate:

(i)    include the elements described at 16 U.S.C. 2803(b) and (c) and the appropriate determinations described at 16 U.S.C. 2803(d);

(ii)   include programs to analyze, and formulate proposed resolutions of, the legal or regulatory constraints that may affect aquaculture, including any impediments to establishing security of tenure — that is, use rights with a specified duration tied to a particular location — for aquaculture operators, owners, and investors; and

(iii)  consider whether to include a permitting framework, including a delineation of agency responsibilities for permitting and associated agency operations, consistent with section 6 of this order and with the “One Federal Decision” Framework Memorandum issued on March 20, 2018, by the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality, pursuant to Executive Order 13807.

(c)  The Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Subcommittee on Aquaculture, shall subsequently assess, not less than once every 3 years, whether to revise the National Aquaculture Development Plan, as appropriate and consistent with 16 U.S.C. 2803(d) and (e).  If the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce decide not to revise the National Aquaculture Development Plan, they shall within 15 days of such decision submit to the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy a report explaining their reasoning.

Sec. 10.  Promoting Aquatic Animal Health.  (a)  Within 30 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, other appropriate Federal officials, and States, as appropriate, shall consider whether to terminate the 2008 National Aquatic Animal Health Plan and to replace it with a new National Aquatic Animal Health Plan.

(b)  Any new National Aquatic Animal Health Plan shall be completed, consistent with applicable law, within 180 days of the date of this order.

(c)  Any new National Aquatic Animal Health Plan shall include additional information about aquaculture, including aquaculture projects located outside of the waters of any State or Territory and within the exclusive economic zone of the United States, and shall incorporate risk-based management strategies as appropriate.

(d)  If adopted, the Plan described in subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall subsequently be updated, as appropriate, but not less than once every 2 years, by the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, other appropriate Federal officials, and States, as appropriate.

Sec. 11.  International Seafood Trade.  (a)  In furtherance of fair and reciprocal trade in seafood products, within 30 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce shall establish an Interagency Seafood Trade Task Force (Seafood Trade Task Force) to be co-chaired by the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (Co-Chairs), or their designees.  The Secretary of Commerce shall, to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations, provide administrative support and funding for the Seafood Trade Task Force.

(b)  In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Seafood Trade Task Force shall include the following members, or their designees:

(i)     the Secretary of State;

(ii)    the Secretary of the Interior;

(iii)   the Secretary of Agriculture;

(iv)    the Secretary of Homeland Security;

(v)     the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

(vi)    the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy;

(vii)   the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy;

(viii)  the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers;

(ix)    the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade;

(x)     the Commissioner of Food and Drugs;

(xi)    the Administrator of NOAA; and

(xii)   the heads of such other agencies and offices as the Co-Chairs may designate.

(c)  Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Seafood Trade Task Force shall provide recommendations to the Office of the United States Trade Representative in the preparation of a comprehensive interagency seafood trade strategy that identifies opportunities to improve access to foreign markets through trade policy and negotiations, resolves technical barriers to United States seafood exports, and otherwise supports fair market access for United States seafood products.

(d)  Within 90 days of the date on which the Seafood Trade Task Force provides the recommendations described in subsection (c) of this section, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, in consultation with the Trade Policy Staff Committee and the Seafood Trade Task Force, shall submit to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, the comprehensive interagency seafood trade strategy described in subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 12.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

          (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
May 7, 2020.

Commissioner Nikki Fried Letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce on Executive Order Promoting American Seafood and Aquaculture

Add some more info about this item...

Tallahassee, Fla.— Yesterday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in response to the Executive Order “Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth” the White House issued on May 07, 2020. The letter requests that the U.S. Department of Commerce strongly consider the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) as a vital partner in enacting the Executive Order’s critical goals to bolster the nation's seafood and aquaculture industry.

 

Florida's seafood industry, generating $3.2 billion annually and supporting more than 76,000 jobs, has incurred significant economic losses due to COVID-19, according to a UF/IFAS impact assessment. Commissioner Fried notes that FDACS actively supports the seafood industry and urges the U.S. Department of Commerce and Congress to take bold action to help advance offshore aquaculture to benefit American farmers recovering from the pandemic's effects.

 

The letter, which may be downloaded here, reads as follows:

 

June 10, 2020

 

The Honorable Wilbur Ross

Secretary

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20230

 

Dear Secretary Ross,

I write to you today as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture on behalf of Florida’s robust and diverse seafood and aquaculture industries, and in response to the Executive Order (EO) “Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth” issued by the White House on May 7, 2020.

 

In line with the Executive Order’s objectives, Florida’s seafood industry, which generates $3.2 billion annually and supports more than 76,000 jobs, actively supports the bolstering of the national seafood sector by increasing competitiveness through critical international seafood trade reform and enhancing protection of the nation’s sustainably managed fisheries. As Florida’s lead aquaculture agency, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) strongly urges the U.S. Department of Commerce to consider Florida as a vital partner in enacting these critical goals.

 

As one of the fastest growing agribusinesses in the world, aquaculture is rapidly expanding in both diversity and scale to meet the growing demand for safe, affordable, and nutritious seafood commodities. While the U.S. has been a leader in technological innovations and production research, our country has experienced virtually none of the economic benefits due to cumbersome and uncertain federal policies, or the lack thereof.

 

It is evident through the issuance of this EO and the introduction of the bipartisan Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act (H.R.6191), that the federal government is willing to make the necessary policy changes and investments to increase domestic aquaculture production. As the U.S. Department of Commerce takes steps to enact Sections 6, 7, and 9 of this EO, I encourage you to consider the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a potential partner in supporting permitting procedures, ready to seize the development opportunities forthcoming.

 

Florida is uniquely positioned to advance an environmentally sustainable offshore aquaculture industry in the Gulf of Mexico and the southern Atlantic Ocean. Our state has a proven and streamlined submerged-lands leasing process for marine aquaculture that has functioned for decades, and to date oversees 1,304 aquaculture lease parcels covering 3,918 acres of state waters. As acknowledged in the EO, security of tenure for a minimum of ten years — already well established in Florida law — is essential for aquaculture leaseholders to secure capital and investor confidence for business development.

 

Our Department has been actively engaged at the state level in developing the offshore aquaculture industry similarly aligned with the EO objectives for several years. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Center for Coastal Ocean Science (NOAA NCCOS), the Offshore Aquaculture Spatial Planning in Florida project has identified several large areas in the Gulf of Mexico ideal for the development of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas in state and federal waters off of Florida’s coast, critical for the development of this offshore industry.

 

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a long and established history of working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to develop, update, and manage permits for marine aquaculture. Not only do we maintain a unique general permit for shellfish and live rock aquaculture in state waters, but we are also actively working to modify this permit to allow seaweed farms to be sited in state waters. However, our permit modification review and consultation process has now been underway for more than one year with no significant progress from NOAA nor USACE. This resource-intensive and time-consuming permitting process is difficult for state agencies with extensive expertise to navigate, much less individual businesses.

 

Our experiences underscore the desperate need for transparent and streamlined federal permitting mechanisms. I cannot overstate the need for a “One Federal Decision” process for aquaculture permitting and timely interagency review of both state and public permit requests.

 

I am formally requesting that the U.S. Department of Commerce consider Florida when designating Aquaculture Opportunity Areas within the next year. Our proactive work with NOAA NCCOS and distinctive regulatory framework would allow us to proceed with the Environmental Impact Statement process expeditiously. We also actively support the inclusion of state waters as the USACE works to develop nationwide permits for finfish and seaweed aquaculture, as stated in Section 6, subparts (b)(ii) and (iv) of the EO.

 

I urge the U.S. Department of Commerce and Congress to take bold action to enact common-sense policies that will advance sustainable offshore aquaculture and benefit American farmers, the jobs they support, and the families they feed. As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, our Department and Division of Aquaculture stand ready to assist with these new efforts.

Sincerely,

 

Nicole “Nikki” Fried
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

USDA Aquaculture Data Collection

Add some more info about this item...

Recently, the USDA worked with the Department of Commerce to determine specific guidelines for aquaculture within the CARES Act. 

The FAA understands that determining this data may be an undertaking during the current circumstances but this is vital for federal funding moving forward and assist in recovering from COVID-19. 

If you have not already submitted the following information or similar comments to the USDA, we ask that you complete the following form and we, the FAA, will submit the information on behalf of aquaculture producers in the state of Florida. All submitted information will be kept confidential and only sent to the addressed parties as a collective submission. No individual farms, facilities, producers, etc. will be named or identified in any manner. 

Please complete the survey and submit no later than June 16th, 2020. You may complete the survey HERE

If you have any questions, please visit www.flaa.org/copy-of-home or feel free to contact us at 813-438-3522 or Tiffany@flaa.org

CFAP Aquaculture FAQs

Add some more info about this item...

The following information was requested by the USDA.

USDA recently worked with the Department of Commerce to clarify what aquaculture companies could be covered under their respective CARES Act programs.  Please see the attached FAQ that provides some clarity for the USDA CFAP program, I have also attached the NOFA.    

What aquaculture species are eligible for coverage under CFAP?

USDA worked with the Department of Commerce to provide non-redundant coverage for the aquaculture industry from the CARES Act.  Commerce will cover Privately owned aquaculture businesses growing products in state or federal marine waters of the United States and the hatcheries that supply them under CARES Act Section 12005, This includes all molluscan shellfish and marine algae. Non-salmonid marine finfish grown in marine waters not covered by USDA are eligible for Sec. 12005 funding. 

USDA will consider information submitted by aquaculture producers in the NOFA for privately-owned aquaculture businesses that propagate eligible (see question below) freshwater and saltwater products in controlled environments (including raceways, ponds, tanks, and recirculating systems). Farmed shrimp and all salmonids (trout and salmon) are included.   

What are the eligibility requirements for covered aquaculture species?

USDA must determine that individual types of aquaculture products (meeting the criteria in the question above) which have incurred a requisite decline in price as outlined in the Notice of Funding Availability. Information to submit in that NOFA might include:

  1. For live aquaculture that you produced, had vested ownership in, and had in inventory at some point between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020, what was:

    1. The average price you received per product the week of January 13 through January 17, 2020, (or if not available, nearest date to this);

    2. The average price you received per aquaculture product you sold the week of April 6 through April 10, 2020, (or if not available, nearest date to this);

    3. The number of aquaculture products you sold between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020.

  2. The number and the contracted price of aquaculture products you produced that left your farm by April 15, 2020, and subsequently spoiled due to no market, and for which you did not have Federal crop insurance or obtained NAP to cover the loss.

  3. The inventory of aquaculture products as April 15, 2020, that will not be sold due to lack of markets.

Are all salmonids farmers eligible for coverage under CFAP, regardless of production system?

Upon submission to the NOFA, USDA will consider farmed salmonids grown for commercial market for eligibility under CFAP.  As stated in the NOFA "Farmed shrimp and salmonids (trout and salmon) will be included in CFAP to the extent USDA determines individual types of these products have incurred a requisite decline in price."  This includes salmonids grown in a controlled environment such as net pens in marine waters. 

 

Are producers of farmed crustaceans eligible for coverage under CFAP?

Upon submission to the NOFA, USDA will consider farmed crustaceans, including shrimp and crawfish, grown for commercial market for eligibility under CFAP.  As stated in the NOFA "Farmed shrimp and salmonids (trout and salmon) will be included in CFAP to the extent USDA determines individual types of these products have incurred a requisite decline in price."  This includes farmed crustaceans grown in a controlled environment.

 

Are producers of marine finfish grown in land-based systems eligible for coverage under CFAP?

Upon submission to the NOFA, USDA will consider marine finfish grown for commercial market in land-based systems for eligibility under CFAP as the NOFA states "privately-owned aquaculture business that propagate freshwater and saltwater products in controlled environments (including raceways, ponds, tanks, and recirculating systems)."   

 

Are producers of freshwater finfish eligible for coverage under CFAP?

Upon submission to the NOFA, USDA will consider freshwater finfish for eligibility under CFAP as the NOFA states "privately-owned aquaculture business that propagate freshwater and saltwater products in controlled environments (including raceways, ponds, tanks, and recirculating systems)."   

 

Are molluscan shellfish farmers eligible for coverage under CFAP?

No, molluscan shellfish are eligible for coverage under the Department of Commerce per CARES Act Section 12005.   

 

Are seaweed producers eligible for coverage under CFAP?

No, marine algae producers are eligible for coverage under the Department of Commerce per CARES Act Section 12005.   

 

Are aquaculture producers who harvest via fee-fishing on their farms eligible for coverage under CFAP?

Only those finfish producers who have ownership risk in the production of the finfish grown for a commercial market for food sales will be eligible for CFAP.   The finfish must be propagated in and harvested for sale from the controlled environment.  

NAA Update: SBA and Treasury Update COVID-19 Related Information

Add some more info about this item...

The Department of Treasury has also updated their CARES Act website to include specific sections on:

 For more information and updates, visit Treasury.gov/CARES and SBA.gov/PayCheckProtection.
 

Assistance for Small Businesses
 

The Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act, is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury. This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

Survey Results: COVID-19 Impacts on the U.S. Aquaculture, Aquaponics, and Allied Businesses

Add some more info about this item...

NAA Update: 

On March 23, 2020, Virginia Tech Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center and The Ohio State University Extension initiated an online survey of the U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses. This survey was designed to capture and quantify the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied industries. The survey will be distributed at the conclusion of every quarter for 2020, to attempt to capture the evolving impacts of COVID-19 over time. The Quarter 1 survey was open to respondents from March 23rd to April 10th.
 
Below is a short summary of key project results based on the survey responses. The survey closed with a total of 652 responses of which 537 were sufficiently complete to be usable. Based on the 2018 Census of Aquaculture, this represents approximately 18% of all U.S. aquaculture operations. 

  • 90% of respondents indicate that they have been impacted by COVID-19.

  • 80% of respondents have had sales orders or contracts from private companies canceled and 9% have had government (state/federal) sales contracts canceled for 2020.

  • Sales losses reported ranged from < $1,000 to $5 million.

  • 33% of respondents have had to lay off employees. 26% respondents reported that "they will have to soon". The number of employees laid off ranged from 1-3 (56% of respondents) to more than 20 employees, with one comment that a farm or business has had to lay off 66 employees.

  • 54% of respondents indicated that they had from 1-3 weeks to make a decision whether to lay off employees, with individual estimates of layoffs in excess of 290 employees for a single aquaculture farm.*

  • Without external intervention (such as governmental assistance), 13% of respondents said that they will not survive the next 3 months and 51% said that "maybe" they will survive the next 3 months. Only 20% said that they would survive 6 months without external assistance (47% said "maybe" they would survive 6 months, and 32% said that they would not survive 6 months without external assistance).

*please note that some of these responses are already 3 weeks old.
 
If there are any questions about the research, please contact Jonathan van Senten (jvansenten@vt.edu) or Matthew Smith (smith.11460@osu.edu).
 
For copies of a draft Virginia Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet and an accompanying Appendix summarizing the Quarter 1 survey results, please contact Jonathan van Senten (jvansenten@vt.edu), Matthew Smith (smith.11460@osu.edu) or the NAA Office at naa@thenaa.net.

Thank you to those farms and businesses that participated in the study and to all of those who helped distribute the survey link.

FDACS Ag and Seafood Avaiability Notice

Add some more info about this item...

Per FDACS...

To limit losses caused by COVID-19 market disruptions, FDACS is providing information of those
holding agricultural commodities and those seeking agricultural commodities. By submitting this form
you agree to have this information posted on the FDACS website or sent to potential buyers or food
banks who may be interested in your commodity. Any interested parties are to contact you directly,
and it will be up to you and the interested parties to negotiate terms. FDACS is not a party to any
transaction and assumes no responsibility as to any aspect of a resulting transaction.

Gov. DeSantis Issues Safer At Home Order

Add some more info about this item...

April 1st, 2020

Gov. DeSantis issues a state-wide 'safer-at-home' order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Essential workers have been classified to include agriculture/ aquaculture workers. 

The Florida Executive Order 20-91 goes into effect on April 3rd at 12:01 AM and remains in effect until April 30th or until necessary. 

The Essential Worker Movement form can be downloaded HERE

SBA Office of Disaster Assistance Conference Call: March 26th

Add some more info about this item...

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) is hosting a conference call with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance.  The purpose of the call is to provide the “nuts and bolts” of applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, answer listener questions about the loan program, and provide information about other SBA economic disaster assistance programs.
 
The conference call will occur:
          Thursday, March 26th, starting at 2:00 pm eastern.
 
The call-in information is:
          Dial In # - 712-775-7031
          Access Code - 664-518-980
 
The agenda for the call will be:

            I.  Introductions
            II. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
                        Overview
                        Intent and Scope
                        Eligibility
                        Application Process
             III. Other Economic Assistance Programs
             IV. Caller Questions

If you would like for the SBA representatives to address a particular topic or answer a specific question during their presentation, please send your requests to the NAA Office at naa@thenaa.net.

NAA Update: All 50 States included SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Add some more info about this item...

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
 
Since the last NAA Update on this topic (March 19th), the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is now available in the 50 states and American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands to provide small businesses, including small aquaculture businesses, with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Eligibility is based upon identified counties in each state and there are now multiple declarations resulting in every county in some states being included.
 
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
 
SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
 
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For up-to-date information including states or counties that are included or to apply for assistance, visit: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

FL Aquaculture & COVID-19

Add some more info about this item...

FAA Members and Supporters,  
 
As you all know the COVID-19 outbreak has been labeled as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. While this is a very serious health concern for individuals not only in the state of Florida but throughout the country and world.  
 
For the aquaculture industry within the state of Florida, the Florida Aquaculture Association recommends that all producers, supporters, and individuals within the industry, document how they are being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. From a production and revenue standpoint, some of you may experience disruptions that would not normally be occurring if this outbreak was not occuring.  
 
While there has not been official reports or statements made in regards to state or federal funding allocated to agricultural losses due to COVID-19, we would like to be prepared with accurate data and documentation if it ever becomes necessary.  
 
We are working with our commodity representatives, FDACS Division of Aquaculture, and other stakeholders to ensure all of those within the aquaculture industry are well informed and safe. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please reach out to Tiffany Conner via the contact information below.  
 
 
Sincerely,  
 
Tiffany Conner  

FAA Coordinator  

813-438-FLAA  

Tiffany@flaa.org 

NAA Hosting Double-Crested Cormorant FWS ANPR Conference Call

Add some more info about this item...

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) is hosting a conference call on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm eastern, focused on assisting fish farmers to comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) entitled, “Migratory Bird Permits; Management of the Double-Crested Cormorants throughout the United States.”
 
The call-in numbers are:

 

Telephone number: 712-775-7031
Access code: 664-518-980

Prior to the call, the NAA recommends review of the following FWS documents:

 

Additional documents related to aquaculture and public resource agency management of double-crested cormorants are posted to a FWS website entitled “Expanding Management of Conflicts Associated with Double-Crested Cormorants.”
 
All fish farmers that experience double-crested cormorant eating your fish are encouraged to comment whether you participate in the conference call or not.  To comment on-line click here by midnight March 9, 2020.

Sea Grant Announces $5M in Grant Funding for US Aquaculture Economic or Market Research

Add some more info about this item...

Subject to the availability of funding, Sea Grant anticipates approximately $5,000,000 will be available for research projects and programs that will significantly advance the understanding of the economics of aquaculture businesses in the U.S. and address gaps regarding important market information. The overall goal is to advance business management towards development of a sustainable marine and Great Lakes aquaculture industry in the United States.

Successful proposals will address geographic and/or topical needs and will fully integrate research, extension, and education. Proposals that will support broad, non-proprietary research to address critical gaps with respect to aquaculture economics and market needs; make that information available to U.S. aquaculture businesses and management agencies; and build the capacity of Sea Grant and its partners, including Sea Grant aquaculture extension personnel and industry stakeholders, are preferred. These investments are consistent with Sea Grant’s focus area of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Sea Grant Network’s 10-year Aquaculture Vision, both which support NOAA and Department of Commerce aquaculture goals. 
 
All proposals to this competition must be submitted by a Sea Grant program. Other interested entities must submit proposals in partnership with and through a relevant Sea Grant Program.

Read the formal announcement for complete information here. An informational Webinar will be held on February 5, 2020 at 3 pm Eastern (Register or join here)
 
Notices of intent to submit due February 26, 2020. Full proposals due April 22, 2020

NAA Posts Updated and Expanded Rebuttal to Marine Aquaculture Criticisms

Add some more info about this item...

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) has posted an updated and expanded white paper entitled, Rebutting Marine Aquaculture Myths and Unfounded Criticisms, in anticipation of opposition to the federal permitting of an experimental, demonstration net pen to be located 45 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico funded by Florida Sea Grant.

Kampachi Farms is funded for one year to construct and operate a net pen demonstration project in the Gulf of Mexico as an educational platform for policymakers, the public and fishing interests. The submersible net pen will float at the surface off the coast of southwest Florida, with an objective of producing 88,000 pounds of marketable almaco jack.

Later today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a public hearing at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota Florida to receive additional public comment on the proposed permitting. The NAA will be attending to express support for the project and its educational and demonstration objectives.

A public comment period on the draft permit and supporting analyses is open until February 4, 2020.  NAA members and other interested parties are encouraged to comment on the proposed action and can do so by emailing R4NPDES.Kampachi@epa.gov.  

Seafood in Focus: Phase One Trade Agreement between the US and China

Add some more info about this item...

On January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed an historic and enforceable agreement on a Phase One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. The Phase One agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years. Importantly, the agreement establishes a strong dispute resolution system that ensures prompt and effective implementation and enforcement.
 
As incomes rise in China, consumption of animal proteins such as seafood is becoming more popular among Chinese consumers. In addition, China is a major partner for U.S. seafood producers who ship raw seafood to China for further processing. However, in recent years, U.S. seafood exports to China have been hampered by restrictive Chinese regulatory initiatives. The Phase One agreement addresses these limitations and gives U.S. seafood companies increased access to the China market.
 
China has agreed to allow the import of 26 previously unapproved aquatic species through a side letter that accompanies the Agreement. China has also committed to streamline the timelines and procedures for registering U.S. seafood facilities and products, including fish meal and oil, by updating its facility registrations within 20 business days of receipt of a list from FDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). China will ensure the continued use of existing bilaterally-agreed certificates issued by NOAA. In addition, competent authorities in the United States and China will reconvene their technical working group on seafood. The United States estimates these commitments could result in an additional $400 million in annual aquatic product exports to China above current levels.
 
For additional information, visit the Office of the US Trade Representative webpage devoted to Phase One here.

WOTUS: Navigable Waters Protection Rule Released

Add some more info about this item...

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define “Waters of the United States” and thereby establish federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. For the first time, the agencies are streamlining the definition so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated, and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before. Congress, in the Clean Water Act, explicitly directed the Agencies to protect “navigable waters.” The Navigable Waters Protection Rule regulates these waters and the core tributary systems that provide perennial or intermittent flow into them. Read the pre-publication version of the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

Under the final “Step 2” rule, four clear categories of waters are federally regulated:

  • The territorial seas and traditional navigable waters,

  • Perennial and intermittent tributaries to those waters,

  • Certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments, and

  • Wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters

The final rule also details 12 categories of exclusions, features that are not “waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall (e.g., ephemeral features); groundwater; many ditches; prior converted cropland; and waste treatment systems.

The final rule clarifies key elements related to the scope of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction, including:

  • Providing clarity and consistency by removing the proposed separate categories for jurisdictional ditches and impoundments.

  • Refining the proposed definition of “typical year,” which provides important regional and temporal flexibility and ensures jurisdiction is being accurately determined in times that are not too wet and not too dry.

  • Defining “adjacent wetlands” as wetlands that are meaningfully connected to other jurisdictional waters, for example, by directly abutting or having regular surface water communication with jurisdictional waters.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States.’” This final rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and will replace the Step One Rule published in October, 2019.

This final action is informed by robust public outreach and engagement on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, including pre-proposal engagement that generate more than 6,000 recommendations and approximately 620,000 comments received on the proposal. The final definition balances the input the final agencies received from a wide range of stakeholders.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule Materials

Public Outreach Opportunities:
Public Webcast - A public webcast discussing the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule will be held on February 13, 2020 - EPA and the Army will hold a public webcast to help explain the key elements of the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule on Thursday, February 13, 2020. Registration is available here.

Aquaculture America 2020 Session Schedule

Add some more info about this item...

Aquaculture America 2020 Session Schedule

NAA Action Alert: FWS Solicits Public Input on Cormorant Management

Add some more info about this item...

As part of ongoing efforts to address conflicts between double-crested cormorants and wild and stocked fisheries, the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has released a Federal Register describing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) and soliciting public input on future management options. 
 
“Balancing the protection of native wildlife with economic and human health needs is fundamental to effective management practices,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Today’s action starts the process of improving management and further reduces conflicts with double-crested cormorants throughout the United States.”
 
Future management actions built on a strong biological foundation ensure cormorant populations are managed responsibly and in compliance with federal laws and regulations, while balancing economic development, human health and safety, endangered species management and other priorities. 
 
“We are building long-term solutions for managing conflicts with double-crested cormorants under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act while maintaining healthy populations of this species,” said Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This effort, in collaboration with our partners, will ensure continued good stewardship of our natural resources.”
 
In 2017, the FWS completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluating options for issuing individual depredation permits to provide relief for aquaculture facilities experiencing direct economic losses from cormorants across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia.
 
The EA analyzed options for the issuance of depredation permits for cormorants where there is either significant economic damage to aquaculture facilities, significant damage to native vegetation, significant impact on a threatened or endangered species, or significant human safety risks. Upon completion of the EA on November 15, 2017, the FWS began issuing permits to aquaculture facility managers and property owners across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia. 
 
This review did not include potential damage to recreational and commercial fishing by cormorants. Since the publication of the EA, the FWS engaged stakeholders to assess the biological, social and economic significance of wild fish-cormorant interactions, and to identify a suite of management alternatives. 
 
The FWS is also currently working with tribes, state fish and wildlife agencies and other federal partners to assess comprehensive management options for cormorants across the United States.
 
“With nearly 30,000 water surface acres across Arkansas used for aquaculture production, our fish farmers contributed $71.1 million to our state’s economy in 2017. However, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates double-crested cormorants cause more than $25 million in damage annually within the aquaculture industry. These birds have become the foremost antagonists of fish farmers. We need commonsense solutions that allow aquaculture producers to safeguard their fish from these predators,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman (AR). “I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for responding to the need of aquaculture producers by increasing the amount of maximum allowable take of double-crested cormorants, and I look forward to working with the Department of Interior and FWS to ensure we can find commonsense solutions to ease the burden for hard working Arkansan aquaculture producers.” 
 
“Arkansans are experiencing the harmful impact of double-crested cormorants across the state. As one of the top aquaculture producers in the nation, Arkansas and its fish farmers are suffering millions of dollars in losses as these avian predators consume critical inventory,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (AR). “I am glad the Department of Interior is taking this problem seriously and hope that further progress will come swiftly.”
 
“Bird predation costs producers millions of dollars every year.  I applaud the Department of the Interior for taking this important step to help aquacultures producers address those losses,” said U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS).
 
“The double-crested cormorant has been detrimental to Mississippi’s catfish farmers,” said U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (MS). “I am pleased that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking this issue seriously and is considering options to allow aquaculture producers to manage the populations of these predatory birds that are destroying fish populations.” 
 
“I am pleased to see the Department is moving forward in the rulemaking process for the depredation of double-crested cormorants. This is a desperately needed next step for Michigan’s First District, where over-population is threatening the health of our free swimming and recreational fisheries,” said U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01). “I am grateful the Administration has committed to this process to ensure a long-term and effective management plan for Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.”  
 
“I am pleased with the efforts and action by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to increase the allowable take of double-crested cormorants. This is a necessary step to mitigate more than $25 million in annual damages to the catfish and aquaculture industry,” said U.S. Rep. Michael Guest (MS-03). “I’m supportive of this proposed rule, which will have a positive impact on Mississippi’s catfish industry, and I will continue to work with FWS to promote Mississippi’s aquaculture needs.”
 
“Science has consistently proven that managing cormorants is necessary to protect not just aquaculture but fishing as well. I applaud the administration for listening to input, increasing the take and promoting sound scientific practices,” said U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04).
 
“Double-crested cormorants can pose a significant threat to American aquaculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased to learn that the Department of the Interior is moving forward to help provide farmers the necessary management tools to prevent double-crested cormorants from preying on farm livestock,” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
 
“The strong return of double crested cormorants is a significant conservation success. But in the absence of natural predators, cormorants are inflicting substantial depredation on both private and public aquatic resources. This effort by the Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary and appropriate to maintain a healthy ecosystem," said Dale Hall, Former Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
Public scoping for the rulemaking process begins with the publication of the ANPR in the Federal Register today and will continue for 45 days until March 9, 2020. To promulgate a proposed rule and prepare a draft environmental review pursuant to NEPA, the FWS will take into consideration all comments and any additional information received on or before that date. You may submit written comments by one of the following methods. Please do not submit comments by both. FWS does not accept email or faxes.
 
Electronically:

  •  Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

  •  Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0103.

By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public

  •  Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–HQ–MB–2019–0103;

  •  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: JAO/1N, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

 
The FWS seeks comments or suggestions from the public, governmental agencies, tribes, the scientific community, industry or any other interested parties. Areas for consideration include but are not limited to: potential reporting and monitoring strategies of cormorants by states and participating tribes; impacts on floodplains, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers or ecologically sensitive areas; impacts to other species of wildlife, including endangered or threatened species; and impacts on prime agricultural lands. Please see the Federal Register notice for more details.
 
The FWS will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The agency will hold public scoping meetings in the form of multiple webinars in January 2020. 
 
More information about the rulemaking process, cormorants and meetings, including how to register, will be posted online at https://www.fws.gov/birds/management/managed-species/double-crested-cormorants.php.

FDA Releases Multi-Lingual Photonovels Encouraging Fish and Shellfish Consumption

Add some more info about this item...

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released four new photonovels—or comic-style graphic stories—that share information about eating fish and shellfish while pregnant and why including seafood in children’s diet can help their growth and development. The photonovels are available in EnglishSpanish, and Chinese and support the updated advice on eating fish from FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The photonovels emphasize:

  • Fish are part of a healthy eating pattern. Fish can have nutritional benefits for children’s growth during pregnancy and childhood. And, as part of a healthy eating pattern, eating fish may also offer heart health benefits and lower the risk of obesity.

  • Choose a variety of fish that are lower in mercury. It is important to limit mercury in the diets of women who are or could become pregnant or who are breastfeeding and young children. There are many types of fish that are both nutritious and lower in mercury.

  • Do not eat raw fish. Raw fish is not recommended for pregnant women and young children. These groups often have weaker immune systems and are more at risk for foodborne illnesses. 

USAS-CFA-NAA Partner to Showcase US Aquaculture

Add some more info about this item...

During October 2019, the US Aquaculture SocietyCatfish Farmers of America and National Aquaculture Association organized a forum, US Aquaculture: Our Sustainable Food Solution, in Washington DC.  The organizations invited House and Senate members, their staff, and federal agency representatives for an in-depth series of presentations to showcase US aquaculture. The forum benefited from the generosity of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance which supported the forum and hosted a working lunch for the participants. 
 
The 2019 forum kicked-off a dedicated effort by the partnership to undertake an Initiative on Education that will consist of an annual forum in our Nation’s Capital to present opportunities for expansion and new technologies and address misconceptions and gaps in information.
 
The US Aquaculture Society has posted recordings for each of the presentations which can be viewed by clicking on the presentation titles.

U.S. Aquaculture: Our Sustainable Food Solution

Welcome
Kevin Wheeler, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
Office of the Under Secretary
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
 
Welcome
Dr. Jeffrey Silverstein, Deputy Administrator
Animal Production and Protection
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
 
U.S. Aquaculture: Now and Beyond?
Jim Parsons, President
National Aquaculture Association
 
Introduction to Producer Story Series
Jimmy Avery, Extension Professor and Director
Delta Research and Extension Center
Mississippi State University
Producer Story: Catfish
          Producer Story: Oyster
          Producer Story: Trout
          Producer Story: Crawfish
          Producer Story: Baitfish
 
U.S. Aquaculture: Economic Opportunities in Rural and Coastal Economies
Carole Engle, Economist
Engle-Stone Aquatic$ LLC
 
Aquaculture and the Environment
Craig Tucker, Research Leader
Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit
Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
 
Solutions Through Applied Research and Extension
Caird Rexroad III, National Program Leader - Aquaculture
Agricultural Research Services
U.S. Department of Agriculture
 
Regulatory Reform in Support of Growth of US Aquaculture
Sebastian Belle, Executive Director
Maine Aquaculture Association
 
Please join the partnership in thanking the sponsors, speakers and farmers that contributed their time, expertise and in-depth knowledge to produce an excellent, informative and persuasive forum.
 
Planning for the 2020 forum is in-progress. Contact the NAA Office if you would like to be involved or support the Initiative on Education by calling 850-216-2400 or naa@thenaa.net

USDA Releases the 2018 Census of Aquaculture Results

Add some more info about this item...

Total sales of aquaculture products in 2018 was $1.5 billion, an increase of 10.5% from 2013, according to the 2018 Census of Aquaculture released today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In 2018, there were 2,932 aquaculture farms with sales in the United States, down 5% from 2013. Five states – Mississippi, Washington, Louisiana, Virginia, and California – accounted for 51% of aquaculture sales and 37% of aquaculture farms in 2018.
 
“The 2018 Census of Aquaculture updates important information about the industry that we last produced in 2013,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “These valuable data tell the story of U.S. aquaculture, following and expanding on the Census of Agriculture. The information in the report helps trade associations, governments, agribusinesses, and others learn about aquaculture and make informed decisions that have a direct impact on the future of the industry.”
 
The 2018 Census of Aquaculture provides detailed information about production and methods, surface water acres and sources, sales, point of first sale outlets, and aquaculture distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreational purposes. Data highlights include:

  • The average sales per farm was $516,944.

  • Sales of food fish was $716 million, a decrease of 2% from 2013.

  • The sales of mollusks was $441.8 million, an increase of 34% from 2013.

  • Crustacean sales in 2018 was $100.4 million, up 18% from 2013.

  • Catfish and oysters are the top species in both sales and number of farms.

  • Catfish sales, valued at $366.8 million, accounted for 51% of all food fish sales in 2018.

  • Oyster sales, valued at $284.9 million, accounted for 64% of mollusk sales in 2018.

  • Mississippi led the nation in total aquaculture sales in 2018 with $216 million.

An aquaculture farm is defined as any place from which $1,000 or more of aquaculture products were produced and sold or distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreation during the census year. Aquaculture is defined as the farming of aquatic organisms, including baitfish, crustaceans, food fish, mollusks, ornamental fish, sport or game fish, and other aquaculture products. Farming involves some form of intervention in the rearing process, such as seeding, stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic products caught or harvested by the public from non-controlled waters or beds are considered wild caught and are not included as aquaculture.
 
The Census of Aquaculture is a Census of Agriculture Special Study, or follow-on, that expands on the data collected for 2017. The last Census of Aquaculture was conducted in 2013. To access the 2018 Census of Aquaculture results and other agriculture census data, click here.

FWS Increases Double-Crested Cormorant Allocation to Individual Permits

Add some more info about this item...

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a notice in the Federal Register informing the public that the agency is increasing the annual maximum allowable take of double-crested cormorants to 74,396 per year through individual depredation permits. They are increasing this annual maximum allowable take of cormorants in response to an increased need by the public for additional authorized take of cormorants at aquaculture facilities.  
 
The Service already concluded that this level of authorized take of cormorants would maintain a stable cormorant population at levels as considered current in the Environmental Assessment (EA) published in November 2017. This 2017 EA evaluated options for issuing individual depredation permits to provide relief for aquaculture facilities experiencing direct economic losses from cormorants across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia. The preferred alternative in the 2017 EA allowed a take of 51,571 cormorants per year, well below the lower limit of the Potential Take Limit model. This more conservative limit was taken to assess the continued need for individual permits and allow an adaptive approach if needed, while staying within the lower and upper limits, 73,396 to 108,954 birds, estimated by the model.  
 
By increasing the annual maximum allowable take to 74,396 per year, the Service aims to provide relief to aquaculture facilities that are suffering economic losses due to predation of their fish stocks by double-crested cormorants. The Service is focused on ensuring cormorants are managed responsibly and in compliance with federal laws and regulations while balancing economic development, human health and safety, endangered species management and other priorities. 
 
The Service will allocate the increased maximum allowable take across the regions and flyways proportionally and continue to track the issuance of depredation permits in real time to assess where allocation may need to be adjusted. This change will take effect immediately. 
 
The Service and the Department of Interior are committed to pursuing more comprehensive solutions for cormorant predation. They expect to publish an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Intend in the near future describing double-crested cormorant management alternatives for farm-raised and wild fish. The agency will share more information as soon as they can and look forward to working with the fish farming community on this endeavor.
 
The National Aquaculture Association offers our sincere appreciation to the offices of the Senators and Congressmen that assisted in improving double-crested cormorant management in lieu of the vacated Aquaculture Depredation Order and the action today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for responding positively to our several in-person and written requests.

NPDES Draft Permit - Kampachi Farms, LLC - Velella Epsilon (FL0A00001)

Add some more info about this item...

This is a courtesy email to inform you that the Environmental Protection Agency – Region 4 (EPA) will be holding a public hearing regarding the proposed issuance of an NPDES permit (FL0A00001) for the Kampachi Farms, LLC – Velella Epsilon marine aquaculture facility. The purpose of this public hearing is to receive your comments. A copy of the public notice is attached to this email.

 

The details for the public hearing are below:

Date:

January 28, 2020

Time:

5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Location:

WAVE Center

Mote Marine Laboratory

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway

Sarasota, FL 34236

 

All persons interested in this draft NPDES permit are invited to attend the public hearing. If you are interested in attending the hearing, EPA encourages you to pre-register at least 72 hours in advance. You may register to speak at the hearing when you pre-register online. You may also register to speak when you arrive at the hearing. Pre-registration can be done at the following website: https://projects.erg.com/conferences/npdes/register-publichearing.html.

 

The draft NPDES permit, draft Environmental Assessment, and other supporting documents can be found at https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-epa-region-4-southeast. The public comment period will be open through February 4, 2020. Information on how to submit comments can be found at that same website.

NAA Recommends Support for S 2209 Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act

Add some more info about this item...

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) recommends support for legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) to create a disaster assistance program for commercial fishing and aquaculture operations.
 
The Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019 (S 2209) would authorize a viable risk-management tool to help commercial fisheries and aquaculture to mitigate losses associated with market, weather, and other disaster conditions.
 
“Farmers and ranchers who experience serious losses have access to well-established USDA programs to help them survive down years.  Commercial fishermen, including aquaculture operations, do not have that option,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
 
Senator Hyde-Smith’s legislation would establish a permanent revenue-based disaster program to either replace or serve as an alternative to the “ad hoc” fishery disaster assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
 
The assistance program would apply to all species whether commercially fished or farm raised, including shellfish (oysters, shrimp, crawfish, and crab), finfish (catfish), and “any other species of aquatic organism harvested with the intent of entering commerce.”
 
With or without a fishery disaster declaration, the bill would require the Secretary of Commerce to provide support payments based on a formula if actual total gross revenue for a given year falls below 85 percent of the average total gross revenue for the three previous years.
 
The new assistance program would begin with the 2019 calendar year and be subject to the availability of appropriated funding, such as the $150 million provided for fishery disaster assistance in the FY2019 Supplemental Appropriations Act enacted on June 6, 2019.
 
A one-page summary of the bill is available here, and a copy of the legislation is available here.  Aquatic animal and plant farmers are urged to contact their Senators to support or co-sponsor S 2209 and to contact their House member to request a companion bill be introduced in the House. House and Senate members can be found here and here, respectively.

 

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400

Cell: 850-443-3456

http://thenaa.net/

USDA Issues Federal Order to Prevent the Introduction of TiLV to the US

Add some more info about this item...

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has responded to a request by the National Aquaculture Association and is issuing a Federal Order to prevent the entry or introduction of Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) into the United States.

 

This Federal Order requires that imported shipments of all live fish, fertilized eggs and gametes from TiLV-susceptible species now have a USDA import permit, official health certificate and veterinary inspection. 

 

The TiLV–susceptible species are:

 

  • Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

  • commercial hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus x Oreochromis aureus)

  • red hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) and

  • wild tilapia (Sarotherodon galilaeus)

 

TiLV is a deadly disease of farmed and wild tilapia, and it poses a serious threat to U.S. agriculture.  TiLV does not affect humans, nor is it a food safety concern.  Signs of the disease in tilapia include cloudy or bulging eyes, skin lesions such as darkening, bruising, ulcers or protrusion of the gills, and abdominal swelling. Fish may be slow-moving and off feed.  There are no treatments or vaccines for the disease at this time.

 

TiLV was first detected in the United States in March 2019.  The disease was quickly contained and eradicated.

 

The Federal order may be viewed here and becomes effective December 12, 2019. For more information regarding the Federal Order, please contact Dr. Alicia Marston, Staff Veterinary Medical Officer, at 301-851-3361 or Alicia.R.Marston@usda.gov. For information concerning the NAA’s request for TiLV import control, please contact the NAA Office at 850-216-2400 or naa@thenaa.net.

FSA ELAP INFO.

Add some more info about this item...

ELAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary. ELAP assistance is provided for losses not covered by other disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, such as losses not covered by the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

USDA FSA Farm Storage Facility Loans

Add some more info about this item...

The Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing so producers can build or upgrade facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables, floriculture, hops, maple sap, milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, eggs, meat/poultry (unprocessed), rye and aquaculture. Eligible facility types include grain bins, hay barns, bulk tanks, and facilities for cold storage. Drying and handling and storage equipment is also eligible, including storage and handling trucks. Eligible facilities and equipment may be new or used, permanently affixed or portable.

Ag Sales Tax Exemptions in Florida

Add some more info about this item...

Throughout our 75 year history of being Florida’s largest agricultural advocacy organization, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation has worked to secure millions of dollars in sales tax exemptions for agricultural producers and family farms across the state.

To help Farm Bureau members navigate the complexity of Florida’s tax code, we have provided a listing of sales tax exemption certificates for agriculture as of July 1, 2017.

DOT Works to Help American Farmers by Collecting Public Comment

Add some more info about this item...

FMCSA announces regulatory guidance to clarify the applicability ofthe "Agricultural commodity" exception in the "Hours of Service (HOS) of Drivers" regulations. This regulatory guidance clarifies the exception with regard to: (1) drivers operating unladen vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity or returning from a delivery point; (2) drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-miles from the source ofthe agricultural commodity; (3) determining the "source" of agricultural commodities under the exemptions; and (4) how the exception applies when agricultural commodities are loaded at multiple sources during a trip. This regulatory guidance is issued to ensure consistent understanding and application ofthe exception by motor carriers and State officials enforcing HOS rules identical to or compatible with FMCSA's requirements.

FY2019 Funding Opportunity from GFSMC

Add some more info about this item...

GSFMC has $600,000 to provide grants involving aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. Proposals are due Sept. 19th.