Aquaculture Opportunity Areas Atlases for the Gulf of Mexico and Southern California (ID424)

NOAA has directives to preserve ocean sustainability and facilitate domestic aquaculture in the United States. Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, the U.S. developed several policies and plans to bolster the domestic supply of seafood and address concerns about food security. Among the most notable of these policies was the issuance of an Executive Order (EO) on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth, which offers a particular focus on spatial planning for Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOA) to support aquaculture development. An AOA is a small defined geographic area that has been evaluated to determine its potential suitability for commercial aquaculture. This map atlas is a product of NOAA for use by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and other coastal managers to inform aquaculture siting for identification of AOAs in federal waters off Southern California and the Gulf of Mexico. The map atlas and spatial analyses were developed by the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) in partnership with the NMFS, and in coordination with cooperating Federal agencies, Regional Fishery Management Councils, and State and tribal governments.

ID: 424

Info. Type: ISI

Estimated Initial Dissemination Date: 07/01/2021

Estimated Dissemination Date of Final Work Product: TBD

Contact Person: Tyler Christensen Get contact information

Review Type: Individual Letters

Expected Number of Peer Reviewers: 3

Peer Reviewers will be selected by: Center for Independent Experts

Will the public, including scientific or professional societies, be asked to nominate potential peer reviewers? No.

Will there be opportunities for the public to comment on the work product to be peer reviewed? The public had the opportunity to comment on the Request for Information (RFI) that NMFS published in the Federal Register (85 FR 67519), requesting interested parties provide input on potential areas in federal waters of California and the Gulf of Mexico that may be suitable for development of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOA). In addition to the RFI, five (5) national and regional webinar- based listening sessions were conducted to provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the spatial planning for identification of AOAs and the overall process to identify AOAs and to complete a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The public input provided in response to the RFI will inform NOAA as it works to identify AOAs.

Upon publication of the Technical Memorandums, ‘An Aquaculture Opportunity Atlas for Southern California’ and ‘An Aquaculture Opportunity Atlas for the Gulf of Mexico’, NOAA expects to publish a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare a PEIS for the first AOAs in both regions. Public notices announcing the NOI and announcing the availability of a draft PEIS will provide additional opportunities for public comment on AOAs.

Will the agency provide significant and relevant public comments to the peer reviewers before they conduct their review? No.

Primary disciplines or expertise needed in the review: Coastal resource management; geospatial science; marine spatial ecology; aquaculture

Comments on Peer Review:

Charge statement

Peer review reports:

Final work product: TBD