White House’s newest executive order to remove “unnecessary regulatory barriers,” identify opportunity areas in US aquaculture sector

Mississippi catfish (Photo: US Department of Agriculture)

A new executive order (EO) recently signed by US President Donald Trump seeks to reduce some of the burdens faced by parties intending to operate aquaculture businesses in the United States.

Among other objectives, the Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth stipulates that the US Federal Government “identify and remove unnecessary regulatory barriers restricting American fishermen and aquaculture producers.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be designated as the lead agency for reviewing proposed aquaculture projects within the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

For aquaculture projects that require environmental review or authorisation by two or more agencies in order to proceed with the permitting of an aquaculture facility, when the lead agency has determined that it will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the agencies shall undertake to complete all environmental reviews and authorisation decisions within two years, measured from the date of the publication of a notice of intent to prepare an EIS to the date of issuance of the record of decision (ROD).

The EO also stipulates the identification and selection of at least two “aquaculture opportunity areas” or geographic areas containing locations suitable for commercial aquaculture within a year’s time. For each of the following four years, two more areas are to be identified and designated as opportunity areas.

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