Marco Rubio, Rick Scott Call on NOAA to Select Waters Near Florida for Aquaculture Opportunity Area

Florida’s U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–weighed in this week after the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced its Aquaculture Opportunity Area Atlas for the Gulf of Mexico, which identifies nine options for the designation of the first aquaculture opportunity area in the Gulf of Mexico, including three locations in waters near Florida.

In June 2020, Rubio and Scott urged the Department of Commerce to consider waters near Florida as one of the first aquaculture opportunity areas, following the issuance of President Trump’s May 7, 2020 Executive Order, “Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth,” which directed the Department of Commerce to identify Aquaculture Opportunity Areas in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In addition to one Aquaculture Opportunity Area in the Gulf of Mexico, a separate Aquaculture Opportunity Area will also be selected near the coast of California.

“Florida is a commonsense option for the first Gulf of Mexico aquaculture opportunity area,” Rubio said. “The designation would promote our domestic food supply chain and Americans’ access to seafood. I urge NOAA to select a site near Florida for this important designation so that Florida can continue to be a robust economic power and a major source of fresh and nutritious seafood.”

“This is great news. We must continue working to bolster our domestic food resources which boosts our economy and helps give families consistent access to food commodities, like nutritious, Florida-fresh seafood,” Scott said. “I’m glad the NOAA has included waters near Florida for consideration as aquaculture opportunity areas and hope to see these areas receive final designation.”

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