Meetings and Reports

The goal of the meeting was to understand the impediments and potential for aquaculture in California and begin the process of better educating the public and legislators regarding the risks and benefits. Approximately 125 people attended the Friday forum that covered the potential economic impacts, case studies of other activities, social and environmental considerations, and the regulatory landscape. The evening reception included excellent food and drinks provided by Monterey Bay Seaweeds, Real Good Fish, Monterey Abalone Company, McFarland Trout Farm, and Hog Island Oysters. These great, fresh seafood was prepared by Hog Island Oysters, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and The Poke Lab. On the second day, about 70 participants discussed (1) exploring the potential for responsible aquaculture in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and (2) emergent restorative seaweed and shellfish economies in California.  


A few themes were apparent during the two-day forum:
  • Aquaculture in California has the potential to (1) restore damaged habitats, (2) produce local, healthy, and lesser carbon-based products, and (3) boost economic viability.
  • Regulatory issues are substantial but there seems to be efforts and momentum to increase efficiencies, decrease paperwork, and possibly consider new leases and ventures in both State and Federal waters.
  • There is an incredible need for additional, effective education of the general public, legislature, and agencies. Up-to-date, factual, unbiased, and concise information is needed in a very digestible format. Perhaps there needs to be a central repository where reliable aquaculture information resides.
  • There are tradeoffs that need to be identified: imported seafood with its carbon footprint, potentially greater environmental impacts, potentially less fresh and less healthy vs local aquaculture products with some aesthetic impacts.


Future plans:
  • A possible white paper or summary document regarding the two-day forum.
  • Follow-up meetings and working groups to tackle certain issues (e.g. education, regulations and policy, seaweed aquaculture, siting - ocean planning, developing an aquaculture network)
  • Developing research projects to address concerns addressed at the meeting.

Pathways Toward Responsible Aquaculture in California

Moss Landing Marine Labs, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing CA 95039

Day 1: Friday August 10th, 8:30am - 5:30pm

Clicking on the Title of each talk will take you to a recording of that presentation.
7:30 - 8:30 am: Registration
8:30 - 8:40 am: Welcome - California Sea Grant and Moss Landing Marine Labs
8:40 - 8:50 am: The Role of Aquaculture in Providing Sustainable Food Security and Prosperity - Wayne Porter (Naval Post Graduate School)
8:50 - 9:10 am: Marine Aquaculture - California Style! - Mike Rust (NOAA)
9:10 - 9:30 am: California, the Land of Opportunity for Marine Aquaculture...? And Why one Person Took the Plunge - Jerry Schubel (Aquarium of the Pacific) and John Molina (Pacific Six)
9:30 - 9:45 am: California Aquaculture, Where are We and How did We Get Here? - Tony Vaught (California Aquaculture Association)
9:45 - 11:15 am: Potential Economic Impacts of Aquaculture to California
9:45 - 10:00 am: Aquaculture, Biomarine and the California Blue Economy - Michael Jones (The Maritime Alliance)
10:00 - 10:15 am: Current and Future Economic Trends of Aquaculture - Shaun Richards (The Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies)
10:15 - 10:30 am: Aquaculture in California: A Need, An Opportunity, A Leader - Mike King (Kings Seafood)
10:30 - 10:45 am: Economic Considerations for Offshore Mussel Aquaculture from a Port District Perspective - Doug Bush (Ventura Shellfish Enterprise)
10:45 - 11:00 am: Marine Finfish Farming in Southern California - From R&D to Commercial Reality? - Mark Drawbridge and Don Kent (Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute)
11:00 - 11:15 am: Aquaculture and Blue Economy Initiatives at the Port of San Diego - Paula Sylvia (Port of San Diego, Aquaculture and Blue Tech)
11:15 - 11:30 am: Break
11:30 - 11:45 am: Perspective of the California Natural Resources Agency for the Future of Aquaculture in the State - John Laird (California Secretary of Natural Resources)
11:45 am - 12:45 pm: Case Studies of Aquaculture Activities in or with Relevance to California
11:45 am - 12:00 am: Good Things Grow Slowly - Terry Sawyer (Hog Island Oyster Company)
12:00 - 12:15 pm: Aquaculture in the Northwest Atlantic - Challenges and Sustainable Solutions - Simona Augyte (University of Connecticut)
12:15 - 12:30 pm: Mariculture Development off Baja California, Mexico - José A. Zertuche-Gonzáles (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California)
12:30 - 12:45 pm: Aquaculture Trends in Chile and an Analysis of some Sustainability Issues - Alejandro Buschmann (Universidad de Los Lagos)
12:45 - 1:45 pm: Catered Lunch
1:45 - 2:45 pm: Case Studies of Aquaculture Activities in or with Relevance to California
1:45 - 2:00 pm: Promises and Pitfalls of Emerging Technological Innovations in the Aquaculture Sector - Dane Klinger (Conservation International)
2:00 - 2:15 pm: The Role of Seafood Watch in Improving the Sustainability of Global Aquaculture - Lisa Tucker (Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch)
2:15 - 2:30 pm: Offshore Aquaculture - Fast Forward to the Future - Neil Sims (Kampachi Worldwide Holdings)
2:30 - 2:45 pm: Feedkind Protein: California-based Feed Ingredient to Support Sustainable Aquaculture - Josh Silverman (Calysta)
2:45 - 3:35 pm: Social and Environmental Considerations - Concerns and Proactive Responses
2:45 - 3:00 pm: Resolving Controversial Issues in Marine Finfish Aquaculture - Paul Olin (California Sea Grant)
3:00 - 3:15 pm: Value and Confidence Across the Chain: How Third-party Certification can Deliver Transparency and Build Public Trust - Contessa Kellogg-Winters (Aquaculture Stewardship Council)
3:15 - 3:30 pm: A Guide to Collaborative Efforts to Address Public Misperceptions about Marine Aquaculture - Kim Thompson (Aquarium of the Pacific)
3:35 - 3:45 pm: Break
3:45 - 4:35 pm: Social and Environmental Considerations - Concerns and Proactive Responses
3:45 - 3:57 pm: Addressing Potential Interactions Between Protected Species and Aquaculture Gear - Diane Windham (NOAA Fisheries)
3:57 - 4:09 pm: Aquaculture by Design: Restorative Aquaculture and Smart Growth - Tiffany Waters (The Nature Conservancy)
4:09 - 4:21 pm: Inclusive Opportunities for Aquaculture: Working Closely with Coastal Communities to Create Aquaculture Opportunities that Empower Fishermen, Improve Ecological Health, and Reinforce the Local Food System - Alan Lovewell (Local Bounty/Real Good Fish)
4:21 - 4:33: pm: The Essential Bond Between Fishing and Farming - William Foss and Kenny Belov (Two by Sea)
4:35 - 5:20 pm: Regulatory Landscape of Aquaculture in California and Beyond
4:35 - 4:50 pm: Caught in the Framework: Identifying the Hits and Misses of State Aquaculture Regulation - Randy Lovell (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
4:50 - 5:05 pm: A Compressed History of the Virginia Oyster Industry from 1895-2018. What has Changed, What has not, and What Should - Andrew Button (Virginia Marine Resources Commission)
5:05 - 5:20 pm: The California Experience - John Finger (Hog Island Oyster Company)
5:20 - 5:30 pm: Closing Remarks - California Assembly Member Mark Stone
5:30 - 7:30 pm: Social Event - Sustainable Seafood Showcase - Featuring chefs Matthew Beaudin and Adam Young (Monterey Bay Aquarium), James Anderson (The Poke Lab), and Hog Island Oyster Bar

Day 2: Saturday August 11th, 9:00am - 4:30pm

Clicking on the Title of each talk will take you to a recording of that presentation.
9:00 am - 12:00 pm: Exploring the Potential for Responsible Aquaculture in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
9:00 - 9:15 am: Summary of Day 1 and Introduction to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Session - Katherine O’Dea (Save our Shores) and Mike Graham (Monterey Bay Seaweeds)
9:15 - 9:30 am: Perspective of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on aquaculture - Paul Michel (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary)
9:30 - 9:45 am: State Regulatory Perspective and How it Interacts with the Sanctuary - Randy Lovell (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
9:45 - 10:00 am: Mariculture and Conservation - Mark Silberstein (Elkhorn Slough Foundation)
10:00 - 10:15 am: Break
10:15 - 10:45 am: Current Aquaculture Operators in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
10:15 - 10:30 am: Monterey Abalone Company - Art Seavey
10:30 - 10:45 am: Monterey Bay Seaweeds - Mike Graham
10:45 - 11:45 am: Potential for Restorative Aquaculture in the Sanctuary to Mitigate Environmental Issues
10:45 - 11:00 am: Cohabitation - Aquaculture Partnerships - Tony Vaught (California Aquaculture Association)
11:00 - 11:15 am: Aquaculture as a Tool for Restoring Native Oyster and Understanding Lost Species Interactions - Brent Hughes (University of Washington)
11:15 - 11:30 am: New Technologies for Turning Aquaculture Waste into Biofuel and Fertilizer - Mike Cox (Anaerobe Systems)
11:30 - 11:45 am: Aquaculture in Partnership with Terrestrial Farmers - Ross Clark (Central Coast Wetlands Group)
11:45 am - 12:00 pm: Can the Sanctuary Become a Global Model for Integrating Aquaculture-Agriculture to Secure Food, Water, and Energy? - Mike Graham (Monterey Bay Seaweeds)
12:00 - 12:05 pm: LIFT Economy and Sustainable Design Masterclass - Emergent Restorative Seaweed and Shellfish Economies in California
12:05 - 1:00 pm: Lunch (HOG Island Oyster Bar, Salt Point Seaweeds Seaweed Salad, Box Lunches)
1:00 - 2:30 pm: Panel Discussion: What is Happening in California Now and What is the Restorative Potential for Current Ocean Initiatives in California?

- Moderator: Erin Axelrod (LIFT Economy) - Leslie Booher and Torre Pollizi (Sunken Seaweeds) - Scotty Schmidt (Primary Ocean Producers) - Dr. Jose Zertuche (Blue Evolution) - Lindsay Cruver (Catalina Sea Ranch)

2:30 - 2:45 pm: Break and Networking Opportunity
2:45 - 4:00 pm: Panel Discussion: What are the Next Steps Towards Establishing Additional Restorative Ocean Farms and Businesses in California?

- Moderator: Michael Murphy (PharmerSea and Eco-EconFuture) - Severino Gomes (Kashia Band of Pomo Indians) - Karen Gray (Greenwave) - Renee Angwin (San Diego State University)

4:00 - 4:30 pm: Closing Conversation and Next Steps
 - Erin Axelrod (LIFT Economy) - Michael Murphy (PharmerSea and Eco-EconFuture)
Wayne Porter
Captain United States Navy (Retired)
The Role of Aquaculture in Providing Sustainable Food Security and Prosperity

Several years ago, I co-wrote with Marine Colonel Mark Mykleby, A National Strategic Narrative, to provide a positive direction for our nation in the 21st Century. The essence of that strategic vision, was a focus on the sustainability of prosperity and security, empowered by values that characterize us as Americans. Values we share with much of the world. As the Special Assistant for Strategy to then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ADM Mike Mullen, I was focused on global trends – both threats and opportunities. Food security and environmental impacts were high on my list. In fact, as a result, I was named the first Walton Fellow at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, and my doctoral dissertation dealt with the importance of sustaining agriculture and aquaculture here in Monterey County, and across the nation. Mike Graham, and the folks here at the Moss Landing Marine Labs, helped open my eyes to the opportunities we have here in California to become a leader in aquaculture education and development. Aquaculture has remained a personal interest of mine, both on the Board of Advisors for Ocean Sustainability for Paul Alan’s Vulcan endeavor and in work I have done on fisheries protection with the Indonesian Navy while at NPS. In fact, I also maintain a house in Maine, another state with great interest in both offshore and inshore aquaculture and fisheries commercial development.

As the world’s population approaches nine billion, the role of sustainable fish and aquaculture harvests is increasingly critical both for food security and global market viability. Just as Silicon Valley has been a powerful engine for the national and global economy, so too, can California now lead the way in demonstrating the innovation, technology, and stewardship of aquaculture needed to drive us toward a better, more prosperous, stable, and sustainable future. I commend you all on recognizing the need to convene this conference, and I encourage you to pursue the opportunity this offers to move our and state and the nation into even greater prosperity, while addressing a critical national and global security challenge.

Mike Rust
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
Aquaculture Science Advisor
Marine Aquaculture - California Style!

California often leads the nation on new technology and ideas that inspire change nationally and internationally. California values often become national values and even world values, as California’s products and ideas circle the globe. Why can’t California define what marine aquaculture will look like, not just locally, but for the nation? For that matter, the western world? California is a land with deep respect for the environment, excellent science organizations, a rich agricultural tradition and it’s the epicenter of high tech. Californians are picky about where their food comes from. Californians enjoy a high quality of life. This also means that business is regulated, laws are complex, labor is expensive and the population is well educated. These factors inform a ecosystem approach to aquaculture in a western context that has four attributes as it’s foundation. An ecosystem approach to aquaculture is a systematic approach in a (1) geographically specified area that contributes to the (2) resilience and sustainability of the ecosystem; (3) recognizes the physical, biological, economic, and social interactions among the affected components of the ecosystem, (including humans); and seeks to (4) optimize benefits among a diverse set of societal goals. Addressing California’s values can produce a new model for marine aquaculture....but we better hurry because the rest of the world is not waiting.

Jerry Schubel (Aquarium of the Pacific)
John Molina (Pacific Six)
California, the Land of Opportunity for Marine Aquaculture…? And Why one Person Took the Plunge

This will review the challenges and the opportunities, the risks and potential rewards for the U.S. and California to become leaders in offshore aquaculture, with an emphasis on finfish aquaculture. John Molina, Pacific Ocean AquaFarms will describe why he decided to take the plunge and invest in a farm proposed for off San Diego.

Tony VaughtOwner of Professional Aquaculture Services
Vice President of the California Aquaculture Association
California Aquaculture: Where we are and how we got there

California has a long history in aquaculture, with over two dozen species grown for food recreation and research. Private aquaculture is diverse due to California’s rich natural resources, climate and species. This overview of California will identify species grown, areas of production, new technologies and the direction and growth of aquaculture in California. Information on how the industry has grown and what lessons have been learned that can be applied to further growth in marine and inland settings. The goal is to identify those areas of commonality so as to increase collaboration and to solve problems related to production and quality, while at the same time enhance and protect the environment. Several key elements of production methods, geographical areas of private aquaculture and species diversity will be covered.

Potential Economic Impacts of Aquaculture to California

Michael Jones
The Maritime Alliance
Aquaculture, Biomarine and the California Blue Economy

Aquaculture – the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms – is important across multiple levels such as food, feed, fuel and medicine. It also creates value in downstream logistics and supporting industries as well in upstream Value-Added opportunities when using 100% of the ocean harvest in the Circular Economy (CE). This talk will give an overview of a growing appreciation of aquaculture and BioMarine in the Blue Economy

Shaun Richards
The Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Current and Future Economic Trends of Aquaculture

This presentation covers the current state of aquaculture starting with California and expanding to the national and global aquaculture markets. It will look at the performance of California compared to the rest of the United States and the world. Finally, it will explore the future short term and long term trends of aquaculture in terms of threats, technological advancements and economic potential.

Mike King
Kings Seafood
Aquaculture in California: A Need, an Opportunity, a Leader

California has a long history with the Pacific Ocean and the state’s genetic makeup is laced with innovation. To top it off, we control one of the most powerful marketing tools in the world: Made in California. This presentation will highlight and identify the market for aquaculture product from California as well as show how the development of this industry will align with the culture of this state. Being present in all phases of the seafood supply chain, from harvest to plate, King’s Seafood Company has identified the need for responsible aquaculture. A growing world population and food security are topics to discuss while Guest feedback and sales of aquaculture product in our restaurants are figures that tell the story. We are in the midst of a changing and growing world, California needs to be a leader again.

Doug Bush
Ventura Shellfish Enterprise
Economic Considerations for Offshore Mussel Aquaculture from a Port District Perspective

The Ventura Shellfish Enterprise is a port district led collaborative initiative that seeks to establish twenty 100 acre offshore parcels for the cultivation of mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. Economic context for the project includes historic commercial landings of wild caught species, costs to maintain and operate harbor facilities, commitment to a Coastal Plan, annual dredging requirements, US import data for cultured mussels, and economic multipliers for harbor based landed seafood products. This initiative seeks to establish all permits and entitlements for subsequent subleasing or assignment. Operators of these parcels will contract for access to turn key offshore aquaculture opportunities and access to centralized regulatory compliance pathways. In exchange, product will be landed with assessed royalties at the host port of Ventura and thereby increase the economic base of the harbor district for the purpose of ensuring long term economic sustainability.

Mark Drawbridge and Don Kent
Hubbs Sea World Research Institute
Marine Finfish Farming in Southern California - From R&D to Commercial Reality?

The global need for aquaculture production to meet the growing demand for seafood has been obvious for decades as highlighted by the corresponding plateau in capture fishery harvests. In the United States seafood is imported at a staggering level of over 90% with more than 50% of that being produced by aquaculture. Such heavy reliance on imported seafood has significant ramifications to our nation’s seafood security and safety, as well as obvious lost economic opportunities. This is in stark contrast to our worldwide leadership in efficient agriculture production, which is led by California. Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI) has been conducting applied aquaculture research on a variety of marine finfish species for almost 40 years. This includes rearing depleted native species for restocking, ornamental fish for the aquarium trade, and food fish to bolster flat harvest landings. The scale of production varies according to need but commercial scale processes have been fully developed and tested in the hatchery and at sea for species like white seabass, California yellowtail, and striped bass. Complementary research in all areas related to further enhancing sustainability is being conducted in parallel.

Attempts to transfer this technology to the US commercial sector have failed thus far in land-based recirculating systems. Acquiring access to operate commercially in the open ocean has stalled regional implementation of proven cage technologies in US waters, while our neighbors in Mexico are seizing the opportunity. In partnership with an investment group and the Port of San Diego, HSWRI is seeking permits for an offshore farm site that is planned to produce 5,000 tons of fish, with California yellowtail being the primary species due to its high market value, fast growth rate, and existing market familiarity. According to a recent study by the San Diego Economic Development Corporation, farm sales are projected to be $50 million annually, which is five times San Diego’s commercial fisheries landed value. The farm would help support over 300 seafood jobs annually at wages approximately two times the regional average, and in doing so, help to revitalize the local working waterfront. From a regional perspective, the operation would generate more than $50 million in Total Economic Impact and catalyze new spending on the order of $100 million annually. Statewide the project would represent a 20% increase in ex-vessel sales. If 100 of these farms were operated, it would feed all 39 million Californians safe, local grown seafood at current average consumption levels. The space required to do this would be 3.1 km 2 or 0.07% of the available state and federal waters off California that consist of soft bottom substrate and a depth of 30-100m. And then there are the economic benefits…

Paula Sylvia
Port of San Diego, Aquaculture and Blue Tech
Aquaculture and Blue Economy Initiatives at the Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego was established by state legislation as a trustee of the land and water around San Diego Bay for the promotion of fisheries, commerce, navigation and recreation. Inherent to The Port’s mission is to utilize its various assets in leading and accelerating the blue economy around San Diego Bay. Water dependent business is a long and proud tradition at the Port and its sustainable future is critical to our region’s long term success of water dependent fisheries and technologies.

In 2015, the Port established an Aquaculture and Blue technology Program to explore new environmental and economic opportunities to diversify its portfolio and strengthen our collective economic impact.

In 2016, the Port established a Blue Economy Incubator and strategic investment fund to assist in the creation, development, and scaling of new business ventures on San Diego Bay, focusing on aquaculture and blue technology.

To advance development of both aquaculture and blue technology initiatives, the Port has been conducting several planning and pre-development studies, including, but not limited to: 1) Coastal marine spatial planning to inform future development for aquaculture in and around San Diego Bay; 2) Baywide feasibility study to assess infrastructure capable of supporting aquaculture; 3) Developing a health baseline for oysters in San Diego Bay; 4) Research to support the development of permit ready infrastructure; 5) Reviewed prospects and logistics for early pilot projects; 6) Stakeholder outreach for the San Diego Ocean Planning Partnership.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Port’s aquaculture and blue economy initiatives as well as highlight how Ports and Harbors can and are increasingly playing a critical role in the development of sustainable aquaculture, given their familiarity and expertise in the permitting and entitlements process for a variety of coastal and ocean uses; the unique role they often play as a landlord, operator and/or regulator, and as champions of the blue economy. As the state-legislated trustee of tidelands and submerged waters of San Diego Bay, developing sustainable domestic aquaculture helps fulfill the Port’s public trust responsibility to promote fisheries and commerce, as well as aligning with its mission to enhance and protect the environment.

Case Studies of Aquaculture Activities in or with Relevance to California

Terry Sawyer
Hog Island Oyster Company
Good Things Grow Slowly
Simona Augyte
University of Connecticut
Aquaculture in the Northwest Atlantic - Challenges and Sustainable Solutions

Seaweed aquaculture started to flourish in the Northwest Atlantic in 2010 with a kelp farm in the Gulf of Maine. There are currently 27 commercial open water seaweed farms (Kim et al. in Review) with numbers growing. The drive for economic development and growth observed in New England and the state of New York was mediated by a strong collaborations between academia, specifically the University of Connecticut, and industry partners. The challenges associated with the technology transfer of nursery development, outplanting and processing were again eased with guidance from the scientific community and grant support. Outreach and involvement from educational groups has been critical to reach local, regional and state representatives. Current challenges include permitting, reliable seedstring production, scaling up farm production, processing and market development. Sustainable solutions will be discussed including the importance of highlighting ecosystem services and conducting outreach to gather support for this growing industry.

José A. Zertuche-Gonzáles
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
Mariculture Development off Baja California, Mexico

Mariculture off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, started in the mid 70´s with the introduction of the Japanese oyster Crassostrea gigas as part of a joint project between the Mexican government, the State University of Baja California (UABC) and one cooperative of local fishermen. Presently, there are numerous companies devoted to mariculture of commercially valuable marine organisms including: mussels, clams, abalone, fish, shrimp and seaweeds. A large percentage of their production is exported to USA and Asian countries. With the exception of tuna farming, the majority of the technologies being applied started as research projects at the State University of Baja California. Presently, others federal research centers, such as: The Center for Research and Graduate Studies of Ensenada (CICESE), the Center for Biological Research (CIB-La Paz), as well as the State University of the southern state of Baja California Sur and the Center of Interdisciplinary Marine Research (CICIMAR) include aquaculture research, joint projects with private sector and aquaculture programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Alejandro Buschmann
Universidad De Los Lagos
Aquaculture Trends in Chile and an Analysis of some Sustainability Issues

Aquaculture has become one of the major sectors for the Chilean economy during the past decades. The main production (ca. 800,000 ton) is still the production of different salmon species. The production of mussel has also been increasing during the past decade, but other mollusks (abalone and scallops) have still a rather low production. There is a low production of microalgae in the north of the Chilean coast and the red macroalgae Gracilaria chilensis has been cultivated along the Chilean coast for the agar industry. On the other side of the economic development that aquaculture has bring to different regions in Chile, there is a discussion on several threats that aquaculture face today like: the environmental effects of escapees; the use of antibiotics and other chemical products; the relationship between wastes and eutrophication conditions between others.

Dane Klinger
Conservation International
Promises and Pitfalls of Emerging Technological Innovations in the Aquaculture Sector

Aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing food production sector, but it has often been slow to develop and adopt technology-driven innovations. That is beginning to change. Technological improvements have the potential to move the industry towards enhanced profitability, environmental performance, resource efficiency, social responsibility, resiliency, and transparency. Moreover, improvements are being developed for a range of different types of aquaculture enterprises, from family-owned farms to operations owned by multi-national conglomerates. This talk highlights the opportunities and challenges posed by several recent innovations in the aquaculture sector and their relevance to aquaculture in California.

Lisa Tucker
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
The Role of Seafood Watch in Improving the Sustainability of Global Aquaculture

Aquaculture can be done sustainably, regardless of production system or species. Countries and regions that produce the majority of farmed seafood imported by the United States often do so in ways that are not ecologically sustainable, however there are examples of better-performing production of the most commonly consumed species. Along with these examples, there are promising efforts to drive improvement in ways that are appropriate to the specific region, and do not attempt to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to improvement. The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) was founded with the goal of creating a forum for local stakeholders to develop and implement improvement strategies for farmed shrimp and wild capture fisheries in Asia. ASIC is comprised of representatives from all of the Southeast Asian countries, and has developed improvement frameworks for shrimp farming that reflect realistic practice in the region. Products that meet the requirements of the frameworks are considered equivalent to a Seafood Watch yellow “Good Alternative”, or a green “Best Choice” rating.

Neil Sims Kampachi
Worldwide Holdings
Offshore Aquaculture - Scaling to Success

Offshore aquaculture has suffered from both the broad‐brush negative association with nearshore net pen aquaculture, and from a paucity of commercially successful models to use as the basis for further investment and scale‐up.

This is now changing dramatically, as best represented by Norwegian salmon farming’s embracing of radically innovative, massive offshore culture systems for new “green” concessions. In addition, there is now growing recognition from academics and leading marine conservation NGOs of not just the opportunity to expand aquaculture to offshore waters, but of the imperative to do so. Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy have both begun to overtly advocate for the expansion of offshore aquaculture. More recent academic assessments provide further support for scaling offshore production responsibly.

This presentation reviews these developments, and discusses where further enlightened NGO support could truly help to advance offshore aquaculture to meet its full potential.

Josh Silverma
Feedkind Protein: California-based Feed Ingredient to Support Sustainable Aquaculture

Feedkind protein is a single cell protein produced by Calysta, a California-based company. Feedkind protein is highly digestible and has a composition and performance similar to super-prime grade fishmeal. However, Feedkind protein does not impact wild fish populations, nor does it compete with human food production for on-shore water or land usage. Feedkind protein represents a preferred, sustainable feed ingredient to support expanding aquaculture projects in the state.

Social and Environmental Considerations - Concerns and Proactive Responses

Paul Olin
California Sea Grant
Resolving Controversial Issues in Marine Finfish Aquaculture

World capture fisheries reached a plateau in the late 1980s and have since then leveled off at around 85 to 90 million metric tonnes/year (mmt/yr.). Despite this leveling off of global harvest, seafood supplies have continued a sustained growth through aquaculture production of fish, mollusks, crustaceans and algae. Today, the production of edible seafood from wild harvest is surpassed by that from aquaculture and expanding aquaculture production around the world is likely to continue. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations projects that global seafood supplies must increase 27 mmt by 2030. This is more than 2 mmt/yr., which is about equal to the worldwide production of farmed salmon.

Farming of marine finfish is not without controversy. Real concerns exist about the potential to degrade water quality, organic material accumulating in sediments beneath cages, disease transmission, escaped fish competing with their wild counterparts and altering genetic variability, the use of therapeutants and the use of finite fishmeal supplies in fish feeds. All of these issues are being addressed through research being conducted throughout the world at universities and private companies with the common goal being to minimize or eliminate adverse environmental impacts.

Advanced models such as Aquamodel™ have been developed to accurately predict impacts of proposed fish farming scenarios on surrounding water and sediment quality. To provide predictions on the genetic effect of escaped fish on wild populations an OMEGA model has been developed to forecast what these impacts might be. This all helps to provide regulatory certainty as to what the effects of marine finfish farming could be and enable an effective regulatory program to oversee the industry. Avoiding escapes is obviously desirable and significant advances in net-pen design and net materials have been achieved in the last 30 years to reduce numbers of escapes.

There is still significant research that needs to be undertaken to advance the industry and if there is a desire to continue eating seafood and supply future needs, while reaping the health benefits and economic opportunities afforded by this industry, marine finfish farming could be part of the solution. Efficient fish farms could produce seafood equivalent to the entire global wild harvest using an ocean footprint the size of Lake Michigan.

Contessa Kellogg-Winters
Aquaculture Stewardship Council
Value and Confidence Across the Chain: How Third-party Certification can Deliver Transparency and Build Public Trust

Consumers increasingly want to feel confident that the fish and shellfish in their markets has been raised in a manner responsible to both the earth and the community. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council logo, a mark backed by an independent, third-party certification awarded through a transparent audit process, can provide assurances to the buying public that their selection has been raised in a manner that meets strict values. Furthermore, the farm to table traceability offered through certification confers additional benefits across the supply chain to multiple stakeholders and provides another layer of accountability to compliment local and state regulations. Ongoing collaboration with complimentary ratings and certification schemes can help further improve public perception and provide further support for the responsible expansion of the aquaculture industry in California.

Kim Thompson
Seafood for the Future/Aquarium of the Pacific
Perceptions Matter: A Guide to Collaborative Efforts to Address Public Misperceptions about Marine Aquaculture

Responsible marine aquaculture (shellfish, seaweed, and finfish) is a promising opportunity to increase healthy food production while decreasing our environmental footprint. Despite strong scientific evidence that California and the U.S. have ample conditions to support environmentally and economically responsible marine aquaculture, we remain a laggard in production. One of the factors affecting the growth of marine aquaculture in California and the U.S. is negative public perception. Social acceptance of marine aquaculture, or lack thereof, can impact regulatory and permitting decisions. It is a growth-limiting factor for domestic expansion. The public’s hesitation to embrace and foster the growth and expansion of marine aquaculture has resulted in a great loss of opportunity for conservation, food security, and economic support for communities and working waterfronts. There are national and international efforts underway to address public misperceptions about marine aquaculture. These efforts are critical to ensure that messages about marine aquaculture are provided cohesively and accurately across different stakeholder groups. It is possible—with collaboration—to change public perceptions to support responsible growth of marine aquaculture in California and the U.S. for healthy ocean ecosystems and communities.

Diane Windham
NOAA Fisheries
Addressing Potential Interactions Between Protected Species and Aquaculture Gear

Sustainable offshore marine aquaculture development, informed by best available science, is a NOAA priority. Offshore aquaculture gear and farm operation practices are not well understood by many, including various stakeholder interests and even local, state, and federal regulatory agencies. Perceptions often equate aquaculture gear as similar to commercial fishing gear. NOAA is working with stakeholders and regulatory agencies to share aquaculture expertise and familiarity with gear and how it operates in the ocean environment. Another NOAA priority is conserving and protecting marine resources and using science to inform gear technology and best management practices. In recent years in California and elsewhere, there has been a marked increase in marine mammal entanglement in crab and lobster fishing gear, raising concerns about any action that puts lines in the water. The NOAA organization is actively working on not only assessing best available science to respond to this concern, but also focusing on developing tools to address this concern in a regulatory context.

Tiffany Waters
The Nature Conservancy
Aquaculture by Design: Restorative Aquaculture and Smart Growth

The demand for seafood is dramatically increasing around the world, and wild fisheries cannot keep up. With 90% of global fish stocks overfished or fully fished, we must increasingly look to aquaculture as a means of sustainable food production. Today, more than half of global seafood produced comes from aquaculture, and this $144 billion a year industry is booming—farm raised seafood now exceeds global beef production. This rapid rise has led to environmental costs in many countries, including damaged coastal habitats and polluted waters. However, we believe it’s possible to get aquaculture right. Our goal is to establish how and where aquaculture can expand in ways that protect the environment while meeting food production needs and providing livelihoods for coastal communities. And in the case of shellfish or seaweed aquaculture, helping recover lost ecosystem services. The Nature Conservancy is working in California, Washington, Virginia, Palau, Belize, Indonesia, Australia, and Hong Kong with businesses, governments, and local fishers and growers to ensure that aquaculture is not only sustainable but, in some cases, even beneficial for the environment, ensuring that people and nature can thrive.

Alan Lovewell
Local Bounty/Real Good Fish
Inclusive Opportunities for Aquaculture: Working Closely with Coastal Communities to Create Aquaculture Opportunities that Empower Fishermen, Improve Ecological Health, and Reinforce the Local Food System

In recent years, global aquaculture production surpassed global production of wild seafood, however the U.S. has cautiously not followed this trend. A lingering fear of significant environmental and social impacts has limited the adoption and support of this rapidly maturing industry. Fortunately there are a enough examples of responsible aquaculture to fully realize the true opportunity of aquaculture, while not only mitigating the risk, but creating net benefit to the community; a win-win for people and planet. As a larger component of domestic seafood production, benefit to the community; a win-win for people and planet. As a larger component of domestic seafood production, aquaculture presents a unique opportunity to restore and enhance local ecosystems, catalyze entrepreneurship, support local employment, and deliver nutritious food to our communities. In the pursuit of responsible aquaculture programs, it is critical to recognize the interest of the communities that accommodate and ideally benefit from these ventures. Key questions to ask in development of responsible aquaculture programs are: what opportunities are being created? which community members are getting access to this opportunity? who will benefit from production? Which, if any, local resources are in competition? What are the short-term and long-term implications for supporting healthy wild ecosystems and fostering sustainable wild fisheries? From ecological restoration, storm buffers, and replenishment of local fish species in Hawaii, to training local fishermen to start new aquaculture businesses off the coast of Massachusetts, there are several examples of how responsible aquaculture programs can not only mitigate impacts, but truly enhance the greater social and ecological community, from ocean to plate.

William Foss and Kenny Belov
Two by Sea
Aquaculture: The Essential Bond Between Fishing and Farming, a Brief Discussion of the Responsibilities and Roles Within Two Interconnected Industries

In defining aquaculture with its role and responsibilities, parallels and symbiosis with commercial fishing become apparent. This recognition sets clear pathways and identifies challenges for both industries. As the need for quality protein grows, aquaculture can serve to provide part of this need. Optimal use of aquaculture indicates that it should do so by first soliciting partnerships with the commercial fishing industry. As marine resources become more difficult to forecast, aquaculture serves as a steady foundation to feed populations while supporting a higher cost of wild caught fish as a rarer commodity. The resources that are consumed by aquaculture, likewise, cannot be allowed to misappropriate that which is beneficial to the commercial fishing industry and overall health of the world’s oceans. Lastly, a recognition in these industries that both operate under the auspices of “Agriculture” sets a framework to intelligently manage respective resources with an eye to the future.

Regulatory Landscape of Aquaculture in California and Beyond

Randy Lovell
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Caught in the Framework: Identifying the Hits and Misses of State Aquaculture Regulation

The complexity of regulations governing aquaculture has been cited by the industry and its observers as a key impediment to its development both in California and the US. Despite numerous calls by stakeholders and decision-makers to improve permitting efficiency, root causes ingrained in various well-meaning, unrelated statutes have had implications that sometimes confuse and confound efforts to foster domestic aquaculture growth. Untangling the snags in our regulatory framework and differentiating them from needed safeguards will require dedicated investment and attention to understand both the causes and the solutions.

Andrew Button
Virginia Marine Resources Commission
A Compressed History of the Virginia Oyster Industry from 1895-2018. What has Changed, What has Not, and What Should

Virginia has one of the oldest and most progressive private oyster ground leasing systems in the county. Shellfish aquaculture leases are easy to get, easy to keep, inexpensive and in most cases, lightly regulated. The current system is expansion and innovation friendly, but can lead to underutilization of currently leased ground and user conflicts. This presentation will describe the mostly good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly of Virginia shellfish aquaculture.

John Finger
Hog Island Oyster Company
The California Experience

Exploring the Potential for Responsible Aquaculture in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Paul Michael
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Perspective of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Aquaculture
Randy Lovell
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
State Regulatory Perspective and How it Interacts with the Sanctuary

Complex regulations governing aquaculture in California are normal. Multiple jurisdictions and overlapping agency responsibilities are commonplace. But when considering an aquaculture project in state waters that are also contained within a national marine sanctuary, things can get even more complicated. Each sanctuary can have different authorities regarding its oversight of aquaculture, so highlighting the authorities vested in this sanctuary’s founding Terms of Designation is important. So, too, is the coordination between state agencies, sanctuary staff, and public stakeholders. Conveying a consistent message starts with a better understanding of the ground rules coupled with open communications among all parties.

Mark Silberstein
Elkhorn Slough Foundation
Mariculture and Conservation

Elkhorn Slough has a long history of aquaculture with evidence of the first oyster leases going back to the turn of the 20th Century. After expansion and a flourish ending with the second world war, there was a resurgence of aquaculture in the slough in the late 1970’s that ended in the 1980s. Is there a way to cultivate marine and estuarine species and maintain the natural resources and ecological balance in places like Elkhorn Slough?

Current Aquaculture Operators in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Art Seavey
Monterey Abalone Company
Mike Graham
Monterey Bay Seaweeds

Potential for Restorative Aquaculture in the Sanctuary to Mitigate Environmental Issues

Tony Vaught
California Aquaculture Association
Lessons Learned from Integrating Fish Aquaculture and Agriculture Throughout California
Brent Hughes
University of Washington
Aquaculture as a Tool for Restoring Native Oysters and Understanding Lost Species Interactions

Aquaculture is well known for producing items for direct human use, such as food, fuel, and bioproducts, to name a few. While the industry is helping to address food security and adding value to markets worldwide, very little attention has been given to the utility of aquaculture for ecosystem restoration. For the oyster aquaculture industry on the west coast of the United States the majority of production effort and research funding has gone to a non-native species (e.g., the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas). Meanwhile, native Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) populations are at risk of local extinction in certain estuaries. In Morro Bay, Olympia oysters have gone locally extinct, a troubling result given the next closest populations are located in 100s of kms away. The nearest neighboring Olympia oyster population to the north is Elkhorn Slough, where estimates of the native oyster population is ~500 and is at threat from going locally extinct. Our collaboration between the MLML Aquaculture Center, the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Sonoma State aims at developing new methods for: 1) culturing Olympia oysters from local adults, 2) applying aquaculture practices to restoration problems, and 3) learning about important species interactions once cultured oysters are outplanted to the field. Ultimately, our project will inform future oyster restoration efforts along the U.S. west coast by merging industry with conservation, while also helping to prevent another Olympia oyster population from going extinct.

Mike Cox
Anaerobe Systems
New Technologies for Turning Aquaculture Waste into Biofuel and Fertilizer

There is an abundance of aquatic plant material that can be fermented with certain anaerobic bacteria to produce hydrogen, a liquid fertilizer, potassium carbonate fertilizer, and a solid soil amendment. Anaerobe Systems has developed the technology to carry out this fermentation process. We first heat sterilize the input material and then add a single prequalified anaerobic bacterium. The fermentation is carried out at 37 degrees C. and is complete in about 12 hours. The results of recent fermentation of Hydrocotyle and Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth) will be presented. These aquatic plants have utility in removing excess fertilizers from waterways and the potential to produce renewable hydrogen and organic fertilizers. The water issues of these two aquatic plants will also be addressed.

Ross Clark
Central Coast Wetlands Group
Aquaculture in Partnership with Terrestrial Farmers

California Sea Grant

California Sea Grant is a collaboration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of California and universities across the state to create knowledge, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of California.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) is a consortium of seven California State University campuses, with San Jose State University serving as the administrative campuse. MLML provides undergraduate and graduate (Masters degree) courses in marine science and has a dynamic research community.

Save Our Shores

Save Our Shores is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that stewards Clean Shores, Healthy Habitats and Living Waters to foster a truly thriving Monterey Bay and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Our theory for positive change is based on building Awareness through education and outreach, influencing smart environmental policies through Advocacy, and catalyzing citizen Action. Based in Santa Cruz we serve the ocean loving communities in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.

The Sustainable Design Masterclass

The Sustainable Design Masterclass (SDMC) offers online classes on restoring ecosystems and overcoming extreme environmental challenges. Featuring over 60+ online webinars on every topic ranging from seaweed ocean farming, wildfire management, and watershed restoration; the SDMC gathers some of the worlds top practitioners who are restoring ecosystems and taking on these challenges at scale. Whether your focus is ecosystem restoration, ecological entrepreneurship, profitable regenerative farming, or rewilding and biodiversity, the SDMC can help guide you on the right path.

LIFT Economy

LIFT Economy is an Impact Consulting firm dedicated to creating an economy that works for the benefit of all life. Our Restorative Ocean Economies field-building initiative supports networks and entrepreneurs focused on methodologies for accelerating the adoption of replicable, worker-owned solutions for meeting human needs, while restoring ocean health. Past and current clients include HOG Island Oyster Company, Salt Point Seaweeds and Sunken Seaweeds.

The Following links provide recordings of all the talks on Day 1 and Day 2, or you can click on the Title of each talk listed under the Agenda and it will take you to a recording of that presentation.

Day One - August 10, 2018:
Morning Session
Afternoon Session
Day Two - August 11, 2018:
Morning Session
Afternoon Session