Provide Your Feedback on NOAA’s Draft Aquaculture Strategic Plan

Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Mandy Lindeberg
NOAA is seeking public comment on its draft aquaculture strategic plan. Join us for a one-hour session to help shape this important document. Click on a date and time below to register:

Session 1: Wednesday, June 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Session 2: Wednesday, June 22, 6:30 p.m. ET
Session 3: Friday, June 24, 2:00 p.m. ET

These sessions are hosted by NOAA and will consist of a brief presentation, followed by public comments (three-minute time allotment per comment) for the remainder of the hour. Please register in advance.

During each meeting, NOAA staff will provide an overview of the contents of the draft aquaculture strategic plan, discuss next steps, and receive related feedback from the public. Each session will be recorded.

Public meetings ensure an inclusive and transparent process as NOAA works to expand sustainable aquaculture in the United States. Your comments are valued as we continue to refine our aquaculture mission and vision.

To view the draft strategic plan, visit this page. If you have any questions, please contact nmfs.aquaculture.info@noaa.gov.

2022 Census of Agriculture

The 2022 Census of Agriculture is right around the corner and USDA NASS is making every effort to count all aquaculture producers in the United States.  

If you produce any aquaculture products and want to make sure that you are counted in the 2022 Census of Agriculture and the 2023 Census of Aquaculture, please sign up your operation using this online form:  2023 Census of Aquaculture.

Once you have signed up, you might receive a short survey in the next two years to further categorize your operation. But most likely, you will not receive a survey until the 2022 Census of Agriculture in January or February, 2023.

When signing up, please keep these items in mind to better understand how USDA NASS counts aquaculture production:

  • To be counted as an aquaculture farm, some form of intervention in the rearing process, such as seeding, stocking, feeding, or protection from predators, must be done by the producer. 
  • Aquaculture is defined as the farming of aquatic organisms, including baitfish, crustaceans, food fish, mollusks, ornamental fish, sport or game fish, algae and sea vegetables, and other aquaculture products. 
  • Fish, shellfish, and other aquatic products which are caught or harvested by the public from non-controlled waters or beds without any intervention, or input costs, are considered wild caught and are NOT included in the USDA NASS count of aquaculture farms.

Remember, participating in the 2022 Census of Agriculture and the 2023 Census of Aquaculture is Your Voice, Your Future, and Your Opportunity. To learn more about the Census of Agriculture and Aquaculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

All information you provide will be held confidential under penalty of federal law.  There is NO sharing of individual farm financial data with other federal agencies other than the final compiled reports that are publicly available.  Since NASS surveys are conducted for statistical purposes only, individual reports are protected by law, even from other governmental agencies. Please read and share the NASS Confidentiality Pledge.

If you have any questions, contact Tony Dorn at tony.dorn@usda.gov or (202) 690-3223.

United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership

The AADAP program, which is a part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation program (USFWS-FAC), is the only program in the U.S. singularly dedicated to obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of new drugs needed for use in fish culture and fisheries management. AADAP is comprised of four sub-programs: the National Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD), Research, New Animal Drug Approval (NADA), and Outreach programs. Together these programs provide fish culturists and fish health professionals with legal access to a variety of aquaculture drugs currently in the drug approval process, evaluate the safety and efficacy of aquaculture drugs, assist drug sponsors in navigating the new animal drug approval process, and provide fisheries professionals with up-to-date information about existing and pending drug approvals, as well as extensive drug use guidance information. We are a partner-based organization and couldn’t accomplish our mission without the support of our colleagues in the field.

AADAP sends out a monthly news bulletin via an email listserv. These bulletins contain updates about aquaculture drugs currently in the approval process, AADAP programmatic updates, and aquaculture drug use guidance information. If you would like to sign up to receive the AADAP Update, please email Julie Schroeter to be added to our email list.

NOAA Maps Options for Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOA) – “Aquaculture Atlases”

Courtesy of National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)

Monday, November 15, 2021 NOAA released two Atlases compiling the best available science to inform the identification of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOAs) in the Gulf of Mexico and Southern California. NOAA previously identified these regions for their potential to host sustainable commercial aquaculture development in the United States. Areas in the Atlases will have characteristics expected to support multiple types of aquaculture industries including finfish, shellfish, seaweed, or some combination. 

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2021 Humboldt Bay Symposium: Sustainable Blue Economy

Symposium Overview

The 2021 Humboldt Bay Symposium will be webcast via Zoom on September 28-30. A long-standing local tradition, the Symposium is a community-oriented conference and provides a unique opportunity for the general public to engage directly with scientists, managers, and local experts. It is a forum for learning about the latest developments on a variety of current issues related to the Humboldt Bay region including research and restoration of coastal ecosystems, economic development, and sustainable use and recreation. 

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Learning first-hand about conservation

Santa Barbara News-Press by Dave Mason September 15, 2021

Courtesy Photo – The Cultured Abalone Farm is home to three different species of native California Abalone. Haliotis rufescens or red abalone is raised as a food product (left).  Haliotis Fulgens or green abalone (center) and Haliotis sorenseni or white abalone (right) are raised in support of restoration of both species.

Students are getting first-hand experience with sustainable seafood and marine conservation. That’s thanks to a collaboration between The Cultured Abalone Farm, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Select Link

Application Now Open for SOAR Shellfish Growers Resiliency Fund

Photo from NOAA Fisheries

The SOAR Shellfish Growers Resiliency Fund aims to pave the way for a more resilient and sustainable U.S. shellfish industry that benefits the ocean and the communities which rely upon it.

The fund offers small awards (up to $20,000) targeted toward shellfish growers, and large awards (up to $100,000) to address systemic issues facing the shellfish industry.

The small and large funding tracks have different eligibility requirements, application and reporting requirements, priorities, and deadlines. For full details and to apply, visit the resiliency fund website. If you have any questions, please contact SOAR Program Coordinator Christina Popolizio (c.d.popolizio@tnc.org).

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Extended to May 31, 2021

By California Aquaculture Association

As President Joe Biden signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 into law on March 30, 2021, extending the Paycheck Protection Program an additional two months to May 31, 2021, and then providing an additional 30-day period for the SBA to process applications that are still pending, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said:

“President Biden sent another strong message to America’s more than 30 million small business owners negatively impacted by the pandemic: help is here. By signing the PPP Extension Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act into law, the President is providing additional critical relief to the smallest of the small businesses – the mom-and-pop shops that line our Main Streets and keep our local and regional economies going.

“The leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, working with leaders of the House Small Business Committee, Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez, and Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer, Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Young Kim, and Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Ben Cardin, and Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Susan Collins, ensured a strong bipartisan vote to extend this critical relief to hard-hit small businesses. More than 8.2 million PPP loans have provided struggling small businesses with the relief they need to keep workers employed and make ends meets during this pandemic. The SBA remains dedicated to reaching the heart and soul of the nation’s urban, rural, and low-income communities – the smallest businesses – and removing barriers to access this vital relief.” 

Learn more about PPP

US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), will accept new and modified Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), will accept new and modified CFAP 2 applications beginning April 5, 2021. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin providing additional financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and producers impacted by COVID-19 market disruptions. Resources for these payments were approved by Congress in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The original application period for CFAP 2 was September 21 through December 11, 2020. USDA will reopen CFAP 2 signup for all eligible producers beginning April 5, 2021. A deadline for signup will be announced at a later date. Learn more at farmers.gov/cfap

Aquaculture Eligibility

Aquaculture eligible for CFAP 2 includes: any species of aquatic organisms grown as food for human consumption, fish raised as feed for fish that are consumed by humans, and ornamental fish propagated and reared in an aquatic medium. Eligible aquaculture species must be raised by a commercial operator and in water in a controlled environment. This includes molluscan shellfish and seaweed that was previously covered under the U.S. Department of Commerce program.

Eligible sales only include sales of raw commodities grown by the producer. The portion of sales derived from adding value to the commodity, such as processing and packaging, and from sales of products purchased for resale is not included in the payment calculation.

CFAP 2 payments are available for eligible producers of aquaculture commodities, which are categorized as sales commodities. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers of eligible commodities are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is Increasing the Lending Maximum Amount

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, 2021, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.

Businesses that receive a loan subject to the current limits do not need to submit a request for an increase at this time. SBA will reach out directly via email and provide more details about how businesses can request an increase closer to the April 6 implementation date. Any new loan applications and any loans in process when the new loan limits are implemented will automatically be considered for loans covering 24 months of economic injury up to a maximum of $500,000.

This new relief builds on SBA’s previous March 12, 2021 announcement that the agency would extend deferment periods for all disaster loans, including COVID-19 EIDLs, until 2022 to offer more time for businesses to build back. In order to shift all EIDL payments to 2022, SBA will extend the first payment due date for disaster loans made in 2020 to 24-months from the date of the note and to 18-months from the date of the note for all loans made in the calendar year 2021.

Questions about SBA COVID-19 EIDL and disaster loan payments can be emailed to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or directed to SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing).