White House awards hint at aquaculture's potential in the United States


Champions of Change recipients say innovation key to industry's growth and acceptance.

Every year for the last eight years the Obama administration has awarded innovators in a range of fields for their transformative contributions to American society. The last installment of these Champions of Change awards, presented in a ceremony held in October, celebrated the work of change-makers in sustainable seafood, from chefs to fishermen to aquaculture advocates.

Aquaculture was represented by several diverse innovators, including Monica Jain, whose social enterprise Fish 2.0 works to develop the field of sustainable seafood; Dr. Kevan Main, head of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s aquaculture research program; Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oysterman Association; and Luka Mossman, who works with traditional Hawaiian fishpond aquaculture.

Aquaculture has huge potential but a long way to go toward acceptance in the United States, where much more focus has been placed on ensuring that wild-catch fisheries are sustainable. Aquaculture is arguably the future of the world’s seafood supply, and in the decades ahead farmed seafood may be a primary source of protein for the world’s booming population.

Already, more than 50 percent of the world’s seafood comes from aquaculture, including almost half of the U.S. supply. Still, a mere 4.5 percent of farmed seafood is produced in the Americas, with 88 perfect of farmed seafood originating from Asia.

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