University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review


Elan Lowenstein


Aquaculture has the potential to be one of the most efficient methods of food production to date. In recent years, the developments in offshore finfish aquaculture have proven to be more environmentally friendly than large-scale terrestrial animal farming, requiring a fraction of resources such as freshwater which are becoming more scarce in the face of global population growth, while also relieving pressures on wild fisheries. The United States is one of the largest global consumers of seafood, importing about ninety-percent of its supply. The current regulatory framework for offshore aquaculture in the United States is effectively non-existent. Federal courts have yet to designate a controlling agency to regulate aquaculture and legislation has fallen short of providing any foundation. More recent offshore aquaculture activities have been administered by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), but a United States District Court ruled in 2018 that the NMFS was not authorized to regulate aquaculture based on an interpretation of aquaculture as a fishery in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). This leaves the United States’ much needed aquaculture sector dead in the water during the ever-growing global Blue Revolution. To bolster the need for a proper regulatory structure for domestic aquaculture production, this note will discuss the current federal regulations in the United States as well as other countries that deploy varying management methods to the benefit, and sometimes detriment, of aquaculture production.