The aquaculture permitting process in federal waters

Vol. 45 No. 5

Kelly B. Boden and Karen A. Mignone are partners at Verrill Dana LLP in Portland, Maine, and Stamford, Connecticut, respectively. The authors would like to thank Colin Hay for his assistance in preparing this article.

With increased demand for seafood in the United States and concern regarding overfishing of wild fish stocks, the United States is looking to new methods of aquaculture to provide a sustainable source of seafood. Aquaculture is defined as the propagation and rearing of aquatic organisms for any commercial, recreational, or public purpose or—stated simply—aquaculture is seafood farming. The majority of aquaculture facilities in the United States are located in coastal waters, where state and local agencies oversee the permitting and regulation. Recently there has been increased opposition to inshore and near-shore fish farms, forcing those interested in aquaculture to consider locating facilities further offshore. The historic absence of proposed projects in federal waters has largely been a result of the complex and difficult federal permitting process.

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