World Aquaculture Magazine - June 2020

WWW.WA S.ORG • WORLD AQUACULTURE • JUNE 2020 33 administration. This legislative initiative signaled the beginning of a national policy of encouragement of continued aquaculture development and expansion in the US (Carter and Goldstein 2019). The Act was later amended in 2002. In 1980, the InteragencyWorking Group on Aquaculture (IWGA) was formed and thereafter renamed the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA) which is now the Subcommittee on Aquaculture (SCA) that operates under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) within the Office of Science. The SCA is a federal interagency group devoted to improving the “overall effectiveness and productivity of federal aquaculture research, regulation, technology and assistance programs” and was functioning before the National Aquaculture Act of 1980 was ratified. In 1985, the National Aquaculture Improvement Act was passed with the recognition of aquaculture’s potential to reduce the contribution of seafood imports to the trade deficit of the US. These federally based actions were intended to serve as the foundation for aquaculture development and increased domestic production, partially attendant to the anticipated increase in population in conjunction with increases in per capita seafood consumption. The overall force of federal support has not produced the intended results, falling far short of expectations. In fact, for a period of 48 years (1965-2013), per capita seafood consumption in the US increased from 5.0 to 7.7 kg (54.5 percent) whereas per capita consumption of chicken has increased from 15.9 to 38.5 kg (158 percent). Per capita consumption of beef has correspondingly decreased from 34.0 to 24.5 kg (-28 percent). The increase in per capita seafood consumption in the US has principally been met by imports, as the US is currently the third largest global seafood market. Approximately 92 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported. With projected population growth in the US, and without any appreciable increase in per capita seafood consumption, 1.8 million t of seafood would be required annually to meet demand by 2050 (Kite-Powell et al. 2013). That amount represents a quadruple increase relative to the current level of aquaculture production. Nutritional guidelines issue by the USDA recommend seafood consumption of 227 g/wk, equivalent to 21.8 kg/capita per yr. Thus, if per capita consumption doubled to 15.4 O ver the past 40 years, through research and administration, my professional career has been devoted to the development and expansion of global aquaculture as a commercial enterprise, particularly in the United States (US). The passion still remains but my experiences have produced a disparate array of personal feelings that have included excitement, disappointment, inspiration, frustration and intimidation. From the encouraging rate of growth that occurred from 1980 to 2004, production from 2005 to 2010 leveled off at approximately 500,000 t and then declined from 2011 to 2017 to around 425,000 t (Fig. 1, FAO 2020). The gradual decline in production has been characterized by a slight decrease in the contribution of freshwater production compensated by a small increase in marine production. These data illustrate ill-fated prospects for expansion and possibly even a decline in the role of aquaculture as an animal production sector in the US. For example, the US percent contribution to total global aquaculture has decreased from a high of 10 percent in 1950 to 0.39 percent in 2017 (Shamshak et al. 2019). In the US, aquaculture comprises 8 percent of total seafood (capture and culture fisheries) production. Despite the technological advances that have been achieved in management of cultured species, annual US aquaculture production is literally stagnant, essentially on life support, awaiting a variety of significant changes that are needed to promote growth. Being an infant compared to other animal production sectors, uncertainty prevails due to lack of knowledge and the dynamic changes that are occurring. The growth of aquaculture in the US is confronted by challenges in governance that include management and regulation of development that must confront the “wicked problem” that inherently characterizes aquaculture. A “wicked problem” is defined as one that is extremely difficult or almost impossible to solve due to changing or incomplete requirements (National Research Council 2015). The Protracted Legislative Promotion of Aquaculture Potential By 1980, the notable increases in US aquaculture production and its corresponding potential were recognized and the National Aquaculture Act was passed in that year under the Carter Expansion of the Aquaculture Industry in the United States: From Enduring Hope to Redeeming Reality Louis R. D’Abramo ( C O N T I N U E D O N P A G E 3 4 ) FIGURE 1. Total US aquaculture production (t) 1980-2017. Source: FAO 2020.