New Oregon Sea Grant publication explores offshore aquaculture

Offshore Aquaculture book cover

Offshore aquaculture — the cultivation of fish and shellfish in the open ocean — has been practiced successfully for years in coastal waters around the world. However, offshore aquaculture is sparse in the United States and nonexistent in the Pacific Northwest, and the resulting seafood trade deficit is costing us billions of dollars per year.

So says a new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, Offshore Aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest, edited by Oregon State University fisheries professor Chris Langdon.

“The United States is far from sufficient in meeting its demands for seafood,” Langdon says. “Forty-five percent of our wild fish stocks are overfished, and we import about 80 percent of our seafood from other countries, at an annual cost of $13 billion. Clearly there is a need to develop additional sources of seafood.”

Offshore aquaculture may eventually prove to be one of those sources.

With support from NOAA and other federal and state agencies, Langdon says, offshore aquaculture projects have been established in a few regions of the United States. However, no such projects have been established in the Pacific Northwest.

Thus, last fall Langdon invited representatives of state and federal agencies, the media, research institutions, and coastal and fishing communities to Newport, Oregon, to evaluate the potential of offshore aquaculture in this region. Offshore Aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest presents the results of that forum, including recommendations for next steps in the discussion.

Copies of the 24-page publication may be downloaded at no charge from, or purchased for $3.50 each plus shipping from Sea Grant Communications, 541-737-4849.

In addition, individual papers and presentations from Langdon’s offshore aquaculture forum are available as PDF documents and streaming video at

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