SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


ADF&G Official Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing on Offshore Aquaculture


June 09, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC - David Bedford, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, testified yesterday at a hearing on offshore aquaculture held by the Senate Commerce Committee's National Ocean Policy Subcommittee. Bedford was invited to participate in yesterday's hearing by Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). He offered the subcommittee several recommendations for coordinating the federal regulation of offshore aquaculture with existing state regulatory programs.

Bedford emphasized that local and state input will be critical in any federal attempt to oversee aquaculture activities. He highlighted many of the practices and polices in Alaska that have led to successful conservation and management of the state's fisheries resources. "We believe that the legislation authorizing offshore aquaculture should first allow states to determine what kind of aquaculture activities would take place in the federal waters off of their coastline," he said. "Local control is, from our perspective and in our experience, key to long-term conservation of resources and public acceptance of any development that takes place."

Bedford also urged the subcommittee to incorporate the regional councils in any federal legislation. "We believe that the regional fishery management councils should be given jurisdiction over aquaculture operations," he said.

Stevens echoed that the right of states to opt out of aquaculture activities is crucial. "I believe the state should have the right to determine what happens in terms of the areas off of their shores," he said. "I'm really worried about the state not having the right to veto a federal plan if that type of operation would pose a threat to the survival of that state's wild species."

In June 2005, at the request of the Bush Administration, Stevens and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) introduced S. 1195, the National Offshore Aquaculture Act. This legislation directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a permitting process that designates which areas of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone are open to offshore aquaculture development. Stevens simultaneously introduced amendment SA 769, which allows governors of coastal states to opt out of aquaculture development in the federal waters off of their shores.


On the Web:

An archived webcast of this hearing is available at


Publish A Letter on SitNews         Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska