2.1 Increase Aquaculture Production

Why is aquaculture important?

Aquaculture is defined as the propagation and rearing of aquatic organisms in controlled or selected aquatic environments for any commercial, recreational, or public purpose. Marine aquaculture technology is used all around the world and is vital to the expansion of seafood production. An increase in the use of marine aquaculture in the U.S. will provide new economic, social, and environmental benefits to our Nation. At the end of 2019, the U.S. seafood annual trade deficit was $16.6 billion. It is estimated that over half of the seafood that the U.S. imports and consumes comes from aquaculture.

Strategic Objective 2.1 Progress Update

Great potential exists to build new businesses in the U.S. aquaculture sector. Expansion of the aquaculture industry will foster new employment and trade opportunities in coastal areas and throughout the seafood supply chain. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fosters sustainable aquaculture to create U.S. economic opportunities while also increasing the quantity and access to healthy seafood. During FY 2019, NOAA awarded $16 million to advance U.S. aquaculture production. This funding supports 42 research projects to help address barriers to aquaculture growth. Click here to see the list of all projects. Three categories for these projects are:
  • Advanced Aquaculture Collaborative Programs
  • Exploring New Aquaculture Opportunities
  • Social, Economic, and Behavioral Research Needs in Aquaculture
U.S. Aquaculture Industry has Opportunities for Growth
U.S. aquaculture production currently ranks 17th in the world. Currently, U.S. marine aquaculture supplies only 1.5% of the entire U.S. seafood supply. 
The U.S. aquaculture industry has been slowly developing over the years, however our Nation’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone presents untapped potential for industry expansion. By utilizing cutting-edge research, regulatory efficiencies, and technology development, NOAA supports efforts to foster sustainable aquaculture production in the U.S. The U.S. marine aquaculture industry has great investment potential and industry growth can improve the U.S. balance of trade while also increasing American food security. 


More About Aquaculture and Its Career Opportunities
In the U.S., commercial aquaculture contributes to our seafood supply and complements wild fisheries. Around our Nation, commercial fishermen are exploring aquaculture for new career opportunities and as a way of diversifying their income. Marine aquaculture, if done responsibly—as it is in the U.S.—is increasingly recognized as one of the most environmentally sustainable ways to produce food and protein.
Most marine aquaculture production in the U.S. consists of bivalve mollusks such as oysters, clams, and mussels. Advances in technology and management techniques are making finfish and seaweed species, like American eels and kelp, available to consumers. Watch this video to learn more.

Picture of NOAA’s coastal aquaculture planning portal
Toolbox for Sustainable Aquaculture Coastal Planning and Siting
The Coastal Aquaculture Planning Portal (CAPP) is a toolbox of coastal planning tools designed to assist managers, planners, and industry with sustainable aquaculture development. Featured tools include:
This toolbox was developed in partnership with Digital Coast, a product of the NOAA National Ocean Service Office for Coastal Management. Click here to explore the full portal.

Aquaculture in the U.S. Economy
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. 
NAICS code: 11251 Aquaculture. This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the farm raising and production of aquatic animals or plants in controlled or selected aquatic environments. These establishments use some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as holding in captivity, regular stocking, feeding, and protecting from predators, pests, and disease. Click on the links below to learn about aquaculture subcategories.
Picture of NOAA’s aquaculture grows resilient coastal communities

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About the Data
NOAA Fisheries, Data on US Fishing Industry
United Nations, Data on Aquaculture Industry
About Aquaculture 
NOAA, Aquaculture Story Map