A bipartisan bill was introduced by Suzanne Bonamici, Rob Wittman, Frank Pallone, and Chellie Pingree in the U.S. House of Representatives to boost and support aquaculture and aquaculture farmers and harvesters.
The Sustaining Healthy Ecosystems, Livelihoods, and Local Seafood (SHELLS) Act will create a program office for aquaculture within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote blue carbon ecosystems, protect food security, and bolster shellfish harvesters and seaweed farmers. It will also establish an Aquaculture Advisory Committee to oversee program activities, support the development of best practices, provide technical assistance, and acknowledge the history, use, and preservation of Indigenous and traditional aquaculture practices and ecological knowledge.
“A thriving domestic aquaculture industry will help us provide healthy and affordable seafood to consumers nationwide. In my home state of New Jersey, seafood is a critical component of our state's economy, and local seafood producers need more federal support,” said Pallone. “The SHELLS Act creates an Office of Aquaculture within USDA to ensure the Department has the vital resources it needs to strengthen our food system, promote sustainable seafood, and support American aquaculture.”
“By establishing a USDA office dedicated to supporting aquaculture, the SHELLS Act will uplift aquaculture farmers and contribute to building a more sustainable seafood system,” said Pingree.