The Gulf of Mexico has long been the source of some of the nation’s best seafood. Changing social and environmental pressures, increased demand for quality protein, and an influx of foreign seafood products have changed the nature of wild harvest fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries implemented an Aquaculture Fishery Management Plan in 2016. For effective and proper implementation of marine aquaculture, wild capture fisheries and aquaculture must be complimentary, and this requires participation and input from various stakeholders invested in the Gulf of Mexico seafood economy.
The two workshops in this program bring together individuals involved in offshore marine environments to develop a baseline understanding of the science, management, and economics of offshore aquaculture endeavors. Specifically, the program is geared towards involved stakeholders from the commercial and recreational fishing community, individuals within traditional fishery science & management governing bodies, and others from the academic and conservation communities. Participants gain insights, dispel myths, and learn tools to participate in changes happening in their communities.
Aquaculture Communities Tour
During this 4-day tour and workshop, participants experience a variety of aquaculture operations in practice in a mature and diverse aquaculture industry. We explore potential obstacles and opportunities for transfer of business practices to the Gulf of Mexico.
Aquaculture Science and Management Workshop
This is a 3-day workshop where participants build on their experiential knowledge from the Communities Tour to learn the nuts and bolts of aquaculture science and federal water aquaculture management, including:
- Environment and ecosystem considerations and management,
- Site-selection procedures,
- Lease application processes and the managing bodies,
- Economic impacts on coastal communities and especially fishermen, and
- Opportunities and tools for fishermen and other stakeholders to get involved.