CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will host a two-day forum in September that will explore the potential challenges and opportunities of developing offshore aquaculture programs in the Pacific Northwest.
Sponsored by numerous federal and state agencies, as well as private foundations, the forum, “Offshore Aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest,” is limited to 125 participants. Information about the program is available online at http://oregonstate.edu/conferences/aquaculture2008/. Open registration begins on July 15.
Chris Langdon, an OSU professor who directs the Molluscan Broodstock Program at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, is coordinating the forum. He says the event is designed to be informational and will explore the potential downsides as well as the rewards of offshore aquaculture in the Northwest region.
“Global population is estimated to increase by another 50 percent in the next 30-40 years and commercial fish stocks around the world are at or above sustainable harvest levels,” Langdon said. “We need to be exploring other avenues of seafood production.
“Any expansion of offshore aquaculture in the United States would require a strong regulatory framework with environmental safeguards to protect natural resources and ensure consumer safety,” he added.
The Pacific Northwest has comparatively clean ocean waters that could allow for production of high-value, cold-water fish and shellfish species.
Speakers at the forum include legislators, community leaders, aquaculture industry representatives, fishing industry representatives, economists and scientists. Among the topics: potential business models for aquaculture, fish and shellfish species suitable for the Pacific Northwest, environmental issues, biological and management issues, and siting and engineering challenges.