Encouraged by recent federal policies established to increase aquaculture production, California has sought to expand coastal mariculture by various means, including the establishment of the collaborative California Shellfish Initiative, which aims to streamline environmental review and permitting for shellfish culture and oyster restoration in the state. While this effort is quite valuable for finding a balance between economic development and environmental stewardship, it does not address the multiple uses of the ocean and how to integrate aquaculture with them as it expands. As such, the many offshore aquaculture proposals in coastal US waters have faced impediments related to potential or real conflict with those uses, most notably existing commercial and recreational fishing activities.
The goal of this project is to improve the process for considering and integrating multiple uses of ocean space, specifically capture fisheries and aquaculture. The proposed project is guided by four objectives:
- Characterize the diverse dimensions, values, and needs related to ocean and coastal space use for fisheries and mariculture;
- Identify potential conflicts and synergies between aquaculture and fisheries on and off the water;
- Develop mechanisms for obtaining input to identify and portray options addressing space needs of fisheries and aquaculture; and
- Develop outreach materials and conduct workshops to improve current and prospective ocean users’ understanding of space use interactions, impediments, and opportunities related to aquaculture development and fisheries.
Determining the priorities and needs of those ocean users as a foundation for dialogue will help to avoid or mitigate potential space use conflict as an impediment to expanding aquaculture along the coast and offshore of California.