The organization Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) has reported that a survey recently commissioned found that a majority of voters support establishing a United States (US) aquaculture industry to increase sustainable seafood production. The survey of 1,020 likely voters was conducted by Echelon Insights between May 20 and 23.
According to the survey two thirds of voters would feel more favorable towards a member of Congress who established pathways for offshore aquaculture. Also, it revel that over 6-in-10 voters (65% GOP, 67% Democrat) would feel more favorable toward their member of Congress if he or she were to support increased access to offshore opportunities for American businesses.
Among the takeaways of the survey also was found that 87% of voters to consider aquaculture important. Among voters, 84% support establishing a clear, predictable pathway for US aquaculture when learning many American companies build aquaculture operations abroad.
Low impact means to feed a growing population
Also, the SATS survey showed that 86% of the voters believe it’s important to expand US aquaculture when learning the country imports most of its seafood. The same proportion, 86%, believe it’s important to expand US aquaculture when learning that it’s a low impact means to feed a growing population, and 85% believe it’s important to expand U.S. when learning that aquaculture is a sustainable industry that provides climate-friendly protein from the ocean.
“Now is the time for Congress to act and put in place federal policies that would establish an aquaculture industry in US federal waters –and the majority of voters agree– “, said SATS campaign manager, Sarah Brenholt.
According to this recent survey, more than two thirds – stated they would feel more favorable “towards a member of Congress who established pathways for offshore aquaculture so the U.S. could benefit from the economic and environmental benefits that aquaculture provides”, added Brenholt.
The campaign manager assured SATS will continue to urge Congress to act swiftly “to put a clear regulatory pathway in place for American aquaculture.”
The May 2022 Echelon Insights Verified Voter Omnibus was fielded online from May 20-23, 2022 in English among a sample of N=1,020 voters in the Likely Electorate (LV) nationwide using non-probability sampling. The sample was drawn from the Lucid sample exchange and matched to the L2 voter file. Calculated the way it would be for a random sample and adjusted to incorporate the effect of weighting, the margin of sampling error is +/- 3.7 percentage points.
US imports up to 85% of the seafood consumed in the country
SATS advocates for federal policies and regulations that help secure a stronger America through increased US production of healthful, sustainable, and affordable seafood. They highlight that as a result of the seafood deficit, the US imports up to 85% of the seafood that is consumed in the country, mainly from Asia and Europe.
Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production sector around the globe, supplying half of the seafood consumed globally, but the US ranks only 16th in aquaculture production behind countries such as China, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, South Korea, Egypt, Norway and Japan. The annual output of the American aquaculture industry, valued at USD 1.5 billion, is only 0.6% of the USD 263 billion global aquaculture market.
For SATS, the lack of a clear and predictable policy framework for permitting offshore aquaculture hinders growth of an American industry because it deters investment in new projects. “Federal legislation is needed to establish a policy framework that supports growth of American aquaculture production and creates a thriving US aquaculture industry that can compete on the global stage”, they explain.
Current legislation in Congress, the AQUAA Act (H.R. 6,258/S. 3,100), which has bipartisan support in both the US House and Senate, would establish National Standards for offshore aquaculture and clarify a regulatory system for the farming of fish in the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ).