On May 2, 2023 NOAA Fisheries published a Public Scoping Summarythat provides a broad overview of the written and verbal submissions received during the public scoping period for the Gulf of Mexico Aquaculture Opportunity Area (AOA) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).
The public scoping process provides an early opportunity for stakeholders and the public to provide input on the range of topics and issues to be addressed in the PEIS. During public scoping NOAA Fisheries received a total of 216 verbal and written submissions from stakeholders and the public.
These public comments will provide NOAA Fisheries and the cooperating agencies with important information to consider in selecting the locations to evaluate as alternatives in the draft PEIS, as well as in shaping the scope of the draft PEIS.
Why is this happening?
NOAA Fisheries published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register on June 1, 2022 announcing its intent to develop the PEIS and asked for public comments on nine potential AOA locations in federal waters off the coasts of Florida, Louisiana and Texas, as well as for feedback on the scope and range of issues to be addressed in the PEIS. The Notice of Intent initiated a 60-day public scoping process, which concluded on August 1, 2022. Three virtual public scoping meetings were also held on the evenings of June 8, June 16, and July 12, 2022 at which comments could be provided verbally.
The Public Scoping Summary provides a broad overview of the submissions received during the public scoping period for the PEIS. It does not replace the verbatim submissions, but highlights the key content and themes within those submissions. Its intent is to promote transparency and share information, particularly for those who might not have time to read all of the public comments individually.
NOAA Fisheries and its cooperating agencies are considering all public comments received, along with the best available science and any new information related to ocean uses in or around the nine potential locations for AOAs in the Gulf of Mexico. Collectively this information will be used to make a determination about how many and which locations will be carried forward and fully analyzed as proposed alternatives in the draft PEIS.
NOAA Fisheries aims to release a draft PEIS for public review and comment in early 2024.
Where can I find more information on Aquaculture Opportunity Areas and the Gulf of Mexico Aquaculture Opportunity Area PEIS?