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Improvements in the science and technology of marine aquaculture, the growth in multiple use conflicts in nearshore coastal waters, and the overfished condition of many commercially exploited fish stocks suggest it may be time to consider using open ocean waters for raising marine species for food and other uses. As on previous occasions when similar signs pointed toward aquaculture, policy makers recognize that the legal framework for government involvement is not well-equipped to respond to many of the issues that surround sea farming in the offshore environment. The purpose of this Article is to describe some of the important attributes of an effective legal framework for open ocean aquaculture and to discuss the ability of federal agencies to provide these attributes under current law. Part HI outlines the legal and regulatory barriers to the development of aquaculture in the United States, and the elements of an improved government framework for aquaculture are described in Part III. Next, Part IV discusses the roles of state and federal agencies in the aquaculture permit process. Part V reviews the key provisions of proposed federal legislation for management of aquaculture in the federal 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and finally, in Part VI, a proposal is offered for an alternative system of state-based management with federal oversight and coordination.



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