Social Constraints and Solutions for Progressive Development of the Nation’s Offshore Aquaculture Industry

Start/End: September, 2012 to August, 2014

This project seeks to identify and analyze the social obstacles (constraints) to developing a domestic offshore aquaculture industry. The hope is that this type of information might lead to solutions that could help move the industry forward. Objectives include: (1) identifying the range of social, economic, environmental, cultural and ocean space-use challenges observed by participants in the emerging offshore aquaculture industry; (2) validate this information with people “directly involved in, formally overseeing, indirectly observing, and potentially working and recreating in areas adjacent to the industry,” and (3) identify options for mitigating or precluding the range of constraints and challenges. Well-tested social science research methods will be employed, including archival research, “purposive social network-based sampling,” indepth interviews and follow-up interviews, participatory mapping, and in-depth focus group research. The team has, to date, completed its first phase of work in Hawaii, California and along the U.S. East Coast and is in the process of preparing a report on the “human context in which the offshore aquaculture industry is situated.” Once this is done, their investigations will focus on a second round of interviews, focus groups and data analyzes that they hope will identify strategies for resolving concerns, constraints and objections to the industry’s growth. Findings will assist formal policy deliberations on the future of the industry.

Co-principal Investigators