Home > news > New Tool Available for Aquaculture Siting in Gulf of Mexico
Divers around the open-ocean aquaculture cage at the Cape Eleuthera Institiute in The Bahamas. These cages are not currently used in the Gulf, but represent one type of farming technology that could work in the region. Credit: with permission from Kelly Martin

New Tool Available for Aquaculture Siting in Gulf of Mexico

Published on: 02/14/2018
Region(s) of Study: Waterbodies / Gulf of Mexico
Primary Contact(s): james.morris@noaa.gov

NCCOS is excited to release the newly created Gulf AquaMapper, a web-based tool for exploration, permitting and siting of offshore aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf AquaMapper is a geodatabase featuring aquaculture-relevant GIS data for biological, navigational, military, social, economic, physical and chemical parameters. The Gulf AquaMapper can be used as a one-stop screening solution for industry and coastal managers focused on identifying suitable areas for aquaculture development. With over 50 data types, the Gulf AquaMapper is the first spatial planning tool designed specifically for aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico. In particular, the tool aims to streamline the permitting process established by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in 2016, by reducing logistical and economic inefficiencies for coastal managers and aquaculture investors. Multiple data layers can be viewed simultaneously for a more comprehensive assessment of competing uses, and maps can be printed and shared to inform a more detailed site assessment to verify environmental conditions and establish site-specific designs.

A screenshot of the Gulf AquaMapper tool’s online interface, which provides data to help with permitting and siting of potential offshore aquaculture ventures. Credit: NOAA.

This product was developed in partnership with marinecadastre.gov, and similar products are in development for other regions across the United States.

The Gulf AquaMapper is one of many coastal planning tools designed to assist managers, planners, and industry with sustainable aquaculture development, all of which can be found on NCCOS’s Coastal Aquaculture Planning Portal.

For more information, contact James.Morris@noaa.gov.

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