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Janet H. Kim

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Advocacy Paper
Managerial Self-Readiness Analysis

There are many problems and issues that the Atlantic salmon is faced with. Presently, wild Atlantic salmon are near extinction. The declining species population is due to many contributing factors, such as the major industrial pollution that came along with the construction of the dams, and more importantly, the existing aquaculture that is not well monitored. Human activities during the 19th century largely affected our present problem with the disappearing wild salmon population. Currently this issue has not been solved and the Atlantic salmon continue struggling to survive. If no successful changes are made soon, the entire Atlantic salmon population will eventually disappear. One strategy for conservation and restoration is the National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2007. If this bill were to be passed, it would create a foundation for safe, sustainable aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters up to 200 miles off the coast and develop a research program for on and offshore marine aquaculture (NOAA Aquaculture Program). This is the best policy because the values that are within the plan are well thought out and detail oriented. These values include: one, ranking the severity of the factors affecting salmon; two, prioritizing the different management options in terms of effectiveness and cost; and three, suggesting a sequence for undertaking those options (Atlantic Salmon in Maine 108). This plan would be ideal because the National Offshore Aquaculture Act focuses on creating domestic supply to meet the world's increasing demand for fish and establishing aquaculture as a feasible technology for the replenishment of important commercial and recreational marine fisheries] (NOAA Aquaculture Program). Some oppose this proposal because they say these operations do not eliminate the problems against wild fish stocks, ecosystems, water quality and habitat, marine wildlife, and endangered species (Food & Water Watch). However, looking at the causation, coverage and cost benefit of this act, if passed, it has a very high chance of being replenishing our oceans with salmon.
As the fish population declines, the demand for salmon continues to rise. In order to restore the salmon population and meet the high demand for salmon in the 1980s, hatcheries and aquaculture farms were created. At present, the United States does not have a regulatory institution in place to permit aquaculture operations in federal marine waters (Buchanan). The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) proposed the National Offshore Aquaculture Act to create a regulated basis for protected and sustainable aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters (U.S. Aquaculture). The NOAA consulted with industry, conservation groups, states, the research community and others to create a successful proposal. This Act would create requirements to ensure offshore aquaculture development process in an environmentally responsible manner that protects wild stocks and marine ecosystems (The National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2007). Also, the Act requires monitoring of operations, allows the Secretary of Commerce to modify, suspend, or revoke permits, and authorizes emergency action in response to unanticipated impacts (The National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2007). The establishment of a permitting process further promotes private investment in aquaculture operations as well as research. Ultimately, this promotion will enable marine operations to achieve operational objectives while protecting marine ecosystem quality ( As of right now, there are not any existing aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters because of regulatory uncertainty however there is a commercial U.S. aquaculture industry that is currently worth $1 billion per year. This Act can help solve the problem of diminishing salmon, because currently, the government does not closely regulate the fish farming industry. and once this is enacted, the aquaculture industry can be more successful and salmon-friendly.
This Act is the most economically beneficial policy that the U.S. can adopt. This anticipated legislation will allow American businesses to contribute in a seventy billion dollar global industry. According to Bill Hogarth, Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service. As other countries have continued to develop aquaculture industries the United States has fallen behind, left to export our technology and investments overseas. With a seafood trade deficit between $8-10 billion, the United States relies on imported fish and shellfish to meet current market demand, and that reliance will rise unless we increase our ability to produce seafood at home (Hogarth 1). Raising fish as a source of food and income has become a global reality. The United States imports over 80% of their seafood, and over 50% of it is farm-raised. (Hogarth 1) Research and predictions reveal that the U.S. needs two millions tons of seafood per year in the next twenty years in order to meet the market demand. Also, the annual seafood trade deficit, which presently exceeds $8 billion, is a large contributor to the total U.S. trade deficit (NOAA Aquaculture Program). Aquaculture would be the answer to solve these problems. It is predicted that global seafood demand will triple by the year 2025 and since wild-caught fisheries will not be able to meet future market demand, the increase in global seafood supply will have to come from aquaculture, either imported or domestically produced (Buchanan).
The National Offshore Aquaculture Act will affect the entire public including coastal communities, government officials, consumers and producers. In a health sense, medical research shows that seafood, including salmon, benefits human health in many ways. It is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and is low in fat and sodium. Federal health experts recommend the public to consume an average of two servings of fish (seafood) per week (Hogarth 2). By allowing aquaculture, we can meet the market demand for seafood through promoting fish consumption. Aquaculture also provides jobs and revenues for coastal neighborhoods, and offer fishermen additional business opportunities between fishing seasonss (Hogarth 2). Aquaculture also offers fresh year-round, consistent product for consumers and producers. Commerce Secretary, Carlos M. Gutierrez stated, Today's action will create jobs and revenues for coastal communities and U.S. businesses by allowing for the expansion of an underutilized industry. This legislation fulfills a promise President Bush made to the American people in his Ocean Action Plan, and we urge Congress to take action in support of this bill (Buchanan). The Maine industry provided about 800 jobs on the farms, hatcheries, and processing plants, and the industry was valued at about $60 million and produced around 13,000 tons of Atlantic salmon each year (Atlantic Salmon in Maine 82). If this bill were to be passed, there will be more job opportunities for the economically depressed coastal communities and less of a dependence upon other nations for imports, and increased regional food supply and security (NOAA Aquaculture Program). NOAA administrator, Conrad C. Lautenbacher, stated that "Our goal is to develop a sustainable aquaculture program that balances the needs of fishermen, coastal residents and visitors, seafood consumers, the environment, and the aquaculture industry it is a public process through which all our stakeholders and constituents will have an opportunity to provide guidance as we begin developing the guidelines and regulations for offshore aquaculture ventures" (Buchanan).
The National Offshore Aquaculture Act proposes great plans that can eventually relieve salmon extinction, but some critics have raised skepticism and controversy, because not all the flaws may have been solved. Some oppose this proposal because they say these operations do not eliminate the problems against "wild fish stocks, ecosystems, water quality and habitat, marine wildlife, and endangered species" (Food & Water Watch). The Executive Director of Food & Water Watch said that the form of aquaculture used in aquaculture consists of salmon being grown in cages or "net pens"in the ocean. These operations also involve a certain amount of chemicals and fish wastes that go straight into the ocean, thus polluting the open waters (Food & Water Watch). Also, these interactions between farm and wild Atlantic salmon can cause many problems, both ecological and genetic. These problems are: the transfer of diseases; competition for space, food, and mates; and lastly, putting the growth and survival of both wild and farm fish at risk (Atlantic Salmon in Maine 86). Interbreeding is a major genetic problem because it can be very harmful to salmon because interbreeding weakens the genes and traits needed for survival for them wild salmon. These genetic interactions are a direct result of hybridization between farm and wild salmon and the alteration of selection pressures (86). The Center for Food Safety stated that ultimately, these farm-raised fish are raising detrimental human health and food safety concerns because farmed fish receive large doses of antibiotics to protect them from diseases. They are also exposed to large dosages of various pesticides used to kill parasites and fungi that collect in the fish's tissues (Center for Food Safety).
Taking into consideration all the issues that skeptics bring up to oppose the passage of this Act, the government needs to carefully determine how to appease these criticisms. Stocked fish only add more to the already existing problems facing the Atlantic salmon, but it could be beneficial if it is more stringently monitored and regulated. Although there may be health concerns from eating farm raised fish, recent scientific studies have affirmed that the health benefits of eating salmon fat outweigh the risks of contaminant exposure in the fish that could potentially harm humans (U.S. Aquaculture). Extensive medical research has shown that the consumption of fish will lead to a healthier, smarter, and longer-lived U.S. population (NOAA Aquaculture Program). The NOAA supports efforts made to make certain the consumers have a healthy and safe seafood supply. "It is important for the public to understand that the levels of persistent environmental chemicals found in fish and shellfish are significantly lower than FDA standards, and lower than levels found in many other popular foods" (NOAA Aquaculture Program). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would never allow contaminated seafood to be sold in the market, especially if they knew the severe toll it would take on human lives. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wouldn't allow the use of pesticides that would discharge toxic chemicals from aquaculture facilities. "The U.S. marine aquaculture industry helps maintain a supply of healthy seafood through well-developed aquatic animal health management practices" including the use of vaccines that have been developed to protect fish from disease, largely eliminating the use of antibiotics"(U.S. Aquaculture). Over the past decade, there have been major improvements and advances in equipment and environmental safeguards in aquaculture facilities.
This proposition can significantly aid in salmon population restoration. Aquaculture is the fastest developing type of food manufacture in the world, and it acts as a key source of protein for people globally. Currently, half of the fish consumed by the public is produced in fish farms. Therefore it can be concluded that aquaculture is a flourishing means to fish circulation within our world today. Aquaculture will help the public because it produces food and other valuable products that the world demands and needs. Furthermore, this Act is successful because it encourages the development of environmentally friendly and responsible ways to expand aquaculture. Aquaculture will remain a significant part of the United States because of the growing global demand for fish, the country's seafood trade deficit, and the need for safe, reliable fish supply in the U.S. (NOAA Aquaculture Program). Ultimately, the lives of the salmon now lay in the hands of the public, and every voice counts.

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