Organized by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a Blue Ribbon Panel of scientists from state, federal, and academia met last week to assess environmental concerns with development of a net-pen aquaculture industry in the Great Lakes. Comprising over 20% of the world's surface freshwater, the Great Lakes is an immense resource; however, decades of pollution, coastal development, overfishing, and the introduction of non-native species have caused severe impacts to the Lakes. Recent interest in utilizing the Great Lakes for net-pen aquaculture requires careful assessment of how aquaculture impacts could exacerbate or mitigate these existing stressors. Over the next six months, the panel will review the potential for environmental interactions from net-pen aquaculture including effluent and water quality concerns, benthic impacts, escapes, disease, and siting challenges.
For more information on how NCCOS/CAPES is supporting national sustainable aquaculture practices, contact James.Morris@noaa.gov.