WWW.WAS.ORG • WORLD AQUACULTURE • JUNE 2023 17 Matt Smith showed his natural talent for Extension when he became the Program Specialist in Aquaculture Extension at Ohio State University. Within three years, he became the program director for Aquaculture Extension at OSU. He is also actively engaged in the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, arranging special talks and demonstrations. He has been very active in USAS, especially doing much of the legwork associated with the USAS website and social media accounts. Perhaps his greatest impact, however, was his immediate response to the cascade of effects of the Covid epidemic on US aquaculture. He assembled a team of researchers and developed a quarterly survey to document the financial damage of the COVID-19 pandemic on aquaculture producers. This information was immediately used by US policymakers and the aquaculture industry and was instrumental in the inclusion of US aquaculture producers in federal relief programs. Matt embodies all the qualities of the best Extension practitioners, including high intelligence, initiative, wit, resourcefulness and a commitment to helping others. USAS Distinguished Service Award: Forrest Wynne and Dana Morris The Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding personal contributions to the USAS and/ or US aquaculture. This award emphasizes significant leadership and overall impact in research, education, extension or industry development in aquaculture. Forrest Wynne and Dana Morris are well respected by their peers and by aquaculture industry members. They receive this award for their leadership and dedication to Extension and because they have been instrumental in connecting Land Grant and Sea Grant Extension. Both have co-organized and co-chaired the National Extension Conference, which is held once every five years or so. With Covid closures, these two converted to a virtual meeting and then turned around and organized an in-person meeting in 2022, providing the leadership needed during the pandemic for the aquaculture extension community. Forrest is an Extension Specialist at Kentucky State University, currently Co-Chairs the National Aquaculture Extension Steering Committee and is the Southern Regional Aquaculture Technical Committee Extension representative for Kentucky. Dana is the Senior Extension Program Manager and Aquaculture Lead for the Maine Sea Grant Program and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Dana Morris Matt Smith Forrest Wynne AQUAA Act Introduced to Advance American Aquaculture On 7 June, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) reintroduced the bipartisan Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act to establish national standards for sustainable offshore aquaculture. The bill would designate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the lead federal agency for marine aquaculture. The legislation would also direct NOAA to harmonize the permitting system for offshore aquaculture for farms in federal waters and direct the agency to lead a research and development grant program to spur innovation throughout the industry. This legislation would establish comprehensive standards for offshore aquaculture. Among other provisions, the AQUAAAct would: • Uphold existing environmental standards while providing regulatory certainty and clarity to the industry; • Include a set of national standards to guide development of offshore aquaculture and aquaculture management plans that implement those standards on a regional scale; • Include a national plan to identify and establish areas particularly well-suited for aquaculture; • Establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within NOAA, which would be charged with coordinating the federal permitting process; • Establish a permit through NOAA that would give an individual the security of tenure necessary to secure financing for an aquaculture operation; and • Fund research and extension services to support innovation and the growth of aquaculture in the United States. The full text of the bill can be found here.