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Kat Cammack Champions a Proposal to Have USDA Offer More Help for Aquaculture and Seafood

This week, U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., showcased her support of U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone’s, D-NJ, “Supporting Equity for Aquaculture and Seafood (SEAS) Act.”

Pallone’s proposal “reforms federal agricultural policy to ensure these industries receive equal treatment within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)” and “requires the USDA Secretary to give the same consideration to aquaculture producers as animal agriculture producers and ensure adequate and fair funding levels are made available to aquaculture producers through grants under USDA programs.”

U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oreg., and Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., joined Cammack to co-sponsor the bill. are original co-sponsors of the bill.

“Aquaculture is the production of fish and shellfish in controlled environments and is becoming an increasingly important method of food production. USDA recommends that adults eat at least eight ounces of seafood per week as part of a healthy diet. Despite this recommendation, it awards a disproportionate percentage of program funding to animal agriculture and land-based producers, leaving coastal communities and aquaculture producers without equal access to federal funding. As a result, American investment in aquaculture has failed to keep pace with the rest of the world. According to NOAA, the United States imports 70 to 85 percent of its seafood. It is estimated that more than half of this imported seafood is a product of foreign aquaculture,” noted Cammack’s office.

“Investing in aquaculture will help ensure all Americans have access to safe and affordable seafood nationwide. When we increase the consumption of American seafood, we can alleviate food insecurity, create new economic opportunities, and reduce our food system’s impact on the environment,” Pallone said. “The SEAS Act will help us meet the growing demand for American seafood and provides critical Congressional support for USDA’s aquaculture programs. My bill makes critical investments in our aquaculture and seafood industries now, so that our food system is resilient in the future.”

Cammack, who helps lead the Aquaculture Caucus, stressed how the bill impacts Florida which produces $100 million annually in seafood and aquaculture sales.

“When it comes to food security, we know our national security depends on our ability to produce our own food supply. The Sunshine State is a leader in aquaculture production and it’s imperative that we continue this momentum to ensure Americans have safe, sustainable, and affordable seafood across the state and nation. I’m pleased to join Rep. Pallone in ensuring critical congressional support for USDA’s aquaculture programs,” said Cammack on Tuesday.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee last week. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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