Geographies of Marine Aquaculture Policy and Development in the United States

In the United States, marine aquaculture is increasingly viewed as way to offset stagnating wild fisheries production, help faltering coastal community economies, and address a growing national seafood trade deficit. The national government has outwardly supported the development of the sector through policies, plans, and other statements. However, many social and environmental questions surround prospective expansion, and actual policy development and implementation has been slow. In this research, I conceptualize US marine aquaculture policy as a dynamic assemblage of actors, spaces, practices, and relations. The work addresses three key questions:

  1. How do actors interact within the assemblage negotiate, construct, and develop national policies?

  2. What practices are actors employing to shape aquaculture policymaking, and what views underlie them?

  3. What are the practical, and often local, implications of these processes, and how do actors interact with and within policy development (or not)?

Past and present offshore aquaculture sites in New England, as of 2015. Source: Fairbanks 2016. (Click to enlarge)

Publications on Marine Aquaculture

Fairbanks, L. 2018. Policy mobilities and the sociomateriality of U.S. offshore aquaculture governance. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space Early online. DOI: 10.1177/0263774X18809708 [PDF]

Fairbanks, L. 2016. Moving mussels offshore? Perceptions of offshore aquaculture policy and expansion in New England. Ocean and Coastal Management 130: 1-12.

Fairbanks, LW. 2015. The Geographies of Policy: Assembling National Marine Aquaculture Policy in the United States. Doctoral dissertation, Duke University: Durham, NC. [Full text]