World Aquaculture - June 2023

WWW.WAS.ORG • WORLD AQUACULTURE • JUNE 2023 59 range of flavors and ingredients. Its mild flavor and tender texture also make it appealing to a broad range of consumers. Furthermore, salmon is considered a healthy food choice due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content, which is associated with several health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. As a result, many consumers prioritize salmon as a protein source over other meats, making it a popular choice for health-conscious consumers. The popularity of salmon as a food choice has also led to an increase in availability and affordability, further cementing its place as a core menu item. Additionally, salmon’s popularity has helped increase demand for sustainable seafood production methods, such as aquaculture, that can help to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality salmon for the foodservice industry. Overall, salmon versatility, health benefits and consumer demand have helped it to achieve core menu status in many countries, making it a staple protein choice for restaurants and foodservice operations. The primary factors driving salmon production include marketing investments, positive messaging that influence the perception of farmed salmon and sustainability practices that align with consumer trends for healthy food. Additionally, industry innovations, such as the use of convenient packaging and formats like skin-pack, have also contributed to the growth of the salmon industry. The primary factors driving salmon consumption include the growing demand for this seafood, its status as a core menu item similar to chicken and beef, its suitability for carry-out formats and its relatively stable pricing compared to other species. Strategic Plans for the Medium Term The National Strategic Plan for Aquaculture Research (20202024), prepared by the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Aquaculture, is a comprehensive initiative aimed at advancing the aquaculture sector in the United States. The plan focuses on improving the efficiency and sustainability of catfish, salmonid and hybrid striped bass aquaculture, which are key species for domestic production. It also emphasizes the development of sustainable aquaponic production systems and the creation of marine finfish seedstocks that can help to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality seafood. Additionally, the plan aims to enhance shellfish aquaculture, which has substantial economic and environmental benefits. Overall, the National Strategic Plan for Aquaculture Research is a critical step towards a more robust and sustainable aquaculture sector in the US. The NOAA Aquaculture Strategic Plan for 2023-2028 outlines four key goals for advancing sustainable aquaculture practices in the US. The first is to manage aquaculture sustainably and efficiently by improving regulatory processes and reducing barriers to entry. The second is to use worldclass science and expertise to address challenges facing the seafood production sector. The third is to promote education and information exchange to build awareness and support for sustainable aquaculture practices. The fourth and final goal is to support the economic viability and growth of the aquaculture sector by facilitating investment and innovation. By pursuing these goals, NOAA aims to promote a thriving and sustainable aquaculture s ector in the US that provides high-quality, healthy seafood to consumers while protecting the environment and supporting coastal communities. Use of Cage/Net Pen Technology Is Limited in the US Aquaculture in cages or net pens is limited because of ecological restrictions and water temperature constraints in suitable areas. These factors can make it difficult to maintain sustainable and efficient operations for raising fish in cages. Open-water fish farming is associated with several risks, including the potential for fish to escape due to equipment breakdowns or storms, susceptibility to fish diseases, longer growing periods compared to closed systems and a high level of pressure on water bodies. These risks can impact the sustainability and profitability of open-water fish farming operations, making it necessary for farmers to adopt effective management practices and mitigation strategies. However, despite these challenges, open-water fish farming remains a popular method of producing high-quality seafood for consumers around the world. Continued efforts to improve and innovate in this area can help to minimize the risks associated with open-water fish farming and promote a more sustainable aquaculture sector. Cooke Aquaculture farmed salmon in net pens on the US West Coast for almost 35 years until its infrastructure collapsed in 2017, causing the escape of almost 300,000 Atlantic salmon. This incident brought attention to the risks associated with open-water fish farming and the potential impacts on wild salmon populations and the marine environment. In response, in 2022, officials in Washington state prohibited commercial net pen aquaculture in state marine waters due to concerns about environmental damage, including deterioration of water quality, transmission of diseases to local fish, degradation of sediment beneath net pens and the impact of fish escapes on local flora and fauna. This prohibition on net pen FIGURE 3. Dynamics of the US market of salmonid products suitable for consumption (Source: FAO FishStatJ). (CONTINUED ON PAGE 60)