Public perception is often a large barrier for coastal aquaculture in the United States. Citizens are uncertain of the visual impacts and the potential conflicts with other ocean uses. The first step to address these uncertainties is to illustrate the impact on the seascape.
In response, NCCOSand NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management partnered to develop the newly available marine spatial planning tool, CanVis Aquaculture. CanVis Aquaculture is a seascape simulation tool with an image library of aquaculture gear, vessels, buoys, and other infrastructure to create a spatially validated simulation of the changes resulting from aquaculture development. As aquaculture supplies more than half of the nation’s seafood, aquaculture development in the marine environment should be sited and operated in a manner that is compatible with multiple user groups and stakeholders, economic and energy development priorities, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. This tool, meant for coastal managers and developers to determine how aquaculture activities will affect seascapes and inform coastal planning and industry development, is presently being used in aquaculture siting efforts in Hawaii, California, and Washington.