The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have solicited public comment on complementary draft policies aiming “to enable the development of sustainable marine aquaculture.” According to NOAA, these policies apply to “the farming of marine organisms such as shellfish, finfish, and algae for food, habitat restoration, and rebuilding of wild fish stocks,” and outline how the agency plans “to fund research into innovative aquaculture technologies, work with partners to create job initiatives that encourage the growth of the industry, and grant access to favorable sites for aquaculture facilities.”

To this end, the NOAA draft policy specifically offers “a national approach for supporting sustainable commercial production, expanding restoration aquaculture, and researching and developing new technologies.” It also includes principles meant to guide the regulation of aquaculture in federal waters, with an emphasis on (i) ecosystem compatibility, (ii) compatibility with other uses, (iii) the best available science and information, (iv) social and economic benefits, (v) goals for industry collaboration, (vi) transparency, and (vii) public education. DOC and NOAA will accept comments on both policies until April 11, 2011. See NOAA Press Release, February 9, 2011.