For offshore aquaculture to succeed in the U.S., it must be developed within the context of surrounding ecosystems. Projects that advance the industry’s profitability must be consistent with efforts to restore and sustain the health, productivity, and biological diversity of the oceans.
The Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center was established with the belief that fundamental research, combined with technology development and demonstration, are required to grow and regulate an industry that benefits consumers and safeguards the environment.
Our work builds on 30 years of lessons learned from fish farming in nearshore waters. While this industry has made great strides to reduce environmental impacts, there is limited space for it to expand along the coast. The open ocean not only offers space, its waves and currents can disperse excess feed and fish waste, and further reduce environmental impact.
Research conducted at the Center addresses critical environmental and ecological questions related to offshore farming, such as which species should be farmed and where? what level of discharge the ocean can safely absorb? where will we find sustainable sources of feed? how do we prevent escapes of farmed fish? how can we design a culture environment that is humane for fish and profitable for the farmer?
We believe the solutions to such questions can be found through research and development that takes into account the safety of the people who manage the farms, the well-being of the crops, the integrity and efficiency of the structures and systems, the health of the surrounding environment, the consumers who rely on seafood products, and the dynamic relationships that weave all of these together.