Abstract Expanded development of marine aquaculture and aquaculture-enhanced fisheries for U.S. coastal and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters has been a hot topic in recent years. Driving these discussions have been the converging issues of America’s growing demand for quality seafood for a healthy diet, increasing reliance on imports to meet demand, in large part from the developing countries, and recurring concerns over the long-term stability of these outside sources in a highly volatile seafood marketplace and interconnected world economy. The United States has the largest and most diverse EEZ in the world. This resource is essential to domestic fisheries landings and could be the location for commercial open ocean aquaculture of a variety of economically important species. Recent efforts by the Obama Administration and Congress have focused on comprehensive ocean use planning and management as well as promulgating a permitting and leasing regime for commercial aquaculture in federal waters. It is suggested that sufficient scientific understanding exists for establishing an interim permitting and leasing process for EEZ aquaculture while the regional multiuse ocean planning is carried out. The issues mentioned above are discussed in this article to support the contention that expanded domestic marine aquaculture development and aquaculture-enhanced fisheries are a necessity. Positive action to develop a strong, proactive federal policy framework for marine aquaculture expansion and to increase investment in research, development, and demonstration of sustainable technologies should occur now.
The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.