Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Environmental Management






Aquaculture recently became the main source of global seafood production and many countries, including the United States, see potential in marine aquaculture to sustainably fill growing demand. The U.S. supports the majority of its seafood consumption through imports, and therefore identifying bottlenecks to domestic aquaculture growth is a priority at the federal and state level. Yet, one critical aspect that appears not yet addressed is the quality and accessibility of marine aquaculture data. In this study we conducted the first multi-state synthesis and comparison of the most comprehensive suite of species, volume, and value information on U.S. marine aquaculture over time, across the 23 marine coastal states. Using publicly available data sources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), state-level solicited data that we aggregated, and data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we found strong evidence that marine aquaculture has played an increasingly important role in marine coastal states, but also uncovered numerous data gaps and discrepancies between and within these sources. In particular, we found a dearth of volumetric data and millions in missing value (USD$). We found U.S. marine aquaculture is likely much more diverse, abundant and valuable than is currently reported, but the main sources of error in any given state remain unclear. We recommend U.S. state governments adopt a standardized, digital and annual data collection program, such as the NOAA Fisheries Information Networks. Better strategic aquaculture planning, management, and research depend on accurate data, and existing digital data infrastructures provide strong opportunities for improvement.

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

U.S. Department of Agriculture


America, Aquatic farming, Mariculture, Ocean, Sustainable development goals

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Moss Landing Marine Laboratories