Offshore aquaculture is the rearing of aquatic organisms in controlled environments (e.g., cages or net pens) in federally managed areas of the ocean. Federally managed areas of the Gulf of Mexico begin where state jurisdiction ends and extends 200 miles offshore, to the outer limit of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The purpose of this Aquaculture Fishery Management Plan is to maximize benefits to the nation by establishing a regional permitting process to manage the development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The primary goal of the proposed aquaculture permitting program is to increase the maximum sustainable yield and optimum yield of federal fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico by supplementing the harvest of wild caught species with cultured product.