June 26, 2018
Senator Amy Klobuchar
302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Thank you to the over forty organizations who signed onto the AQUAA Act letter to the U.S. Senate! Attached and below, please find a copy of the final letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Letters have also been sent to Sens. Shaheen, Hassan, Rubio, Blumenthal and Smith (D-MN) as they are closest to signing on as original sponsors of the legislation. Please feel free to contact your own US Senators to encourage their support. If you’d like to discuss or would like more information, please contact me at any time.
Margaret B. Henderson
Owner, Henderson Strategies, Inc.
Campaign Manager, Stronger America Through Seafood, Inc.
Dear Senator Klobuchar,
With this letter, we ask that you become an original co-sponsor of the “Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act” or the “AQUAA Act” being circulated by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). This draft legislation reflects a comprehensive effort to increase U.S. production of healthful, sustainable and affordable seafood and we strongly encourage your support.
Offshore Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing, sustainable forms of food production in the world and has the unique potential to improve American food security and nutrition, enhance coastal resiliency, create quality jobs, help restore species and habitats, and ensure that seafood (both wild-caught and farmed) continues to be an important part of the global food supply. By growing domestic production of seafood through aquaculture, we can benefit the American economy, our public health, the environment and create jobs in our rural and coastal communities.
Unfortunately, U.S. aquaculture is currently constrained by disjointed federal leadership and numerous regulatory hurdles, including overlapping jurisdiction of federal, state and local governments, and the absence of an efficient and affordable permitting process, particularly in U.S. federal waters.
To overcome these regulatory hurdles and lay the groundwork for a viable U.S. offshore aquaculture industry, the AQUAA Act provides a comprehensive, nationwide permitting system for, and management of, marine aquaculture facilities in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It authorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to facilitate responsible aquaculture development in federal waters through a streamlined regulatory process and increased interagency coordination that preserves existing environmental standards. A more robust domestic aquaculture industry will stimulate the economies of our coastal communities, expand opportunities for US-based feed producers and increase consumption of healthy seafood by American consumers.
To ensure the final AQUAA Act reflects the needs of American businesses, communities and ecosystems, the undersigned organizations commit to working closely with Sen. Wicker, the Commerce Committee and the AQUAA Act’s co-sponsors throughout the legislative process to fine-tune the bill so that it addresses any outstanding challenges, of which we do not anticipate many.
With your leadership on federal aquaculture policy, our nation’s potential to become a pioneer in sustainable, marine seafood production will become a reality. As that new reality unfolds, markets for increasingly efficient American fish feeds will expand exponentially, marine-based job creation will abound, and a consistent supply of 100% traceable, local, healthful seafood will be made available to American consumers.
On behalf of the organizations listed below, we ask you to become an original co-sponsor of the AQUAA Act so that we may see the development of commercial-scale, responsibly-managed, affordable aquaculture become a reality for the betterment of American businesses and of our citizens.
Tony Dal Ponte
Pontos Aqua Advisors
High Liner Foods
Blue Ocean Mariculture
Woods Hole Group
Fortune International, LLC
Protein Products, Inc.
National Restaurant Association
International Foodservice Distributors Association
Washington Fish Growers Association
Jonathan White, RADM, USN (Ret.)
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Aquarium of the Pacific
Long Beach, CA
National Fisheries Institute
The Town of Greenwich Shellfish Commission
Louisiana Restaurant Association
William T. Hogarth, Ph.D.
NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (2001 – 2008)
St. Petersburg, FL
Ft. Pierce, FL
Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center
University of Southern Mississippi
Ocean Springs, MS
University of New Hampshire
New Hampshire Sea Grant
Bon Secour Fisheries
Gulf Oyster Industry Council
Bon Secour, AL
Kevan L. Main, Ph.D.
Mote Aquaculture Research Park
Mote Marine Lab
California Aquaculture Association
Hubbs- Sea World Research Institute
San Diego, CA, Melbourne Beach, FL
Margaret Pilaro Barrette
Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
Florida Atlantic University
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Ft. Pierce, FL
Ocean Stewards Institute
Kampachi Farms, LLC
Route to Market, LLC
East Coast Shellfish Growers Association
Toms River, NJ
New York, NY
Seattle Fish Company
Manna Fish Farms, Inc.
Vince Bryan III
Daniel Benetti, Ph.D.
Department of Ecosystems and Society
RSMAS – University of Miami