NAA Aquatic Animal Welfare
NAA Environmental Stewardship Policy
NAA Quality Assurance
NAA Aquatic Animal
, Chemical and Vaccine Policy
National Aquatic Animal Health
Engineered Aquatic Organisms
The NAA Board of Directors must at times make decisions regarding controversial issues. These decisions could have significant impact on the aquaculture industry’s the NAA represents or on individual aquaculture enterprises. Differences of opinion within the aquaculture community and within the NAA Board of Directors may occur.
Several different decision making processes might be selected. Consensus and majority vote are most commonly used and each has advantages. Consensus, while not necessarily making all parties happy because of compromises that must be made, prevents rejection of minority views thus preventing fractionation of the association. Consensus however requires considerable time and effort. Majority vote allows more forceful, timely decisions but can alienate minority views.
Piscivorous birds can cause significant predation on farm raised fish and shellfish. Several bird species (e.g. blue heron, black crowned night heron, pelican, cormorant and kingfisher) can consume considerable quantities of these animals. Fish not consumed may be physically damaged during attempted predation. Birds may also serve as disease vectors spreading pathogens amongst fish farms or transferring pathogens from the wild to a fish farm.
Control of piscivorous birds can be difficult and expensive. All piscivorous birds are federally protected. Depredation permits can be obtained but these are not usually issued in a timely manner. Bird dissuasion devices (e.g. cannons and/or other scare devices) are of limited success. Exclusion devices such as cages that cover the entire rearing area are expensive, interfere with routine fish rearing activities, and may not readily withstand the rigors of winter weather (i.e. ice and snow). Considerable need exists to develop improved bird management techniques.
Successful aquatic animal husbandry demands these animals are held in healthy environments and fed a healthy diet. Because of their environmental sensitivity to pollutants, aquatic animals are used in biomedical and toxicological studies. These studies help ensure a healthy human environment is maintained or improved.
Aquatic animal farming helps provide an increasing human population with a wholesome, nutritious, consistent quality food and sport fish. To achieve this quality, farm raised aquatic animals are raised under optimal conditions using humane practices. Aquatic animal for slaughter are quickly and humanely euthanized for rapid processing. Aquatic animal reared for stocking in public waters must be transported under good environmental conditions if the fish are to survive. Successful producers routinely follow good production practices. Animal rights or welfare organizations form a diverse group. Some organizations use legitimate legal and political practices to sway public opinion. Some individuals or organizations may not use legal means to achieve their goals. Animal "liberationists" may violate state or federal law, destroy personal or public property, and cause immediate harm to animals or the environment.
Policy : The NAA -
Sustainable aquatic animal and plant production requires good resource management. Water received for production should be of suitable quantity and quality for effective production of aquatic organisms.
Environmental stewardship is the responsibility of each aquatic organism producer. Aquatic animal production does have the potential to contribute plant nutrients, settleable and suspended solids, and therapeutants to effluent streams. The impact of these discharges on the receiving stream is highly variable.
Regulatory decisions must be based on credible science and risk assessment. A thorough understanding of aquaculture farm effluent impact must be evaluated relative to upriver conditions, water quality standards, and beneficial uses.
Considerable research is being directed at aquaculture waste management. These efforts are being conducted by U.S.D.A., universities and the commercial industry. Improvements can be expected in feed formulation, solids collections and disposal, water reuse and multiple use.
2. Encourages regulatory decisions on basis of credible science.
4. Encourages effluent regulation based on site-specific watershed needs.
Wholesome aquatic animal and plant products are the cornerstone of success for the US aquaculture industry. Farm raised organisms are nutritious and of high quality. There is general consumer perception that farm raised aquatic animals are wholesome, high quality products. However, consumer perceptions can be readily influenced by misinformation or a breakdown in product quality. Quality assurance programs can help ensure continued production of wholesome products and enhance consumer perceptions. Quality assurance programs can also discredit misinformation.
The NAA has helped develop a voluntary, producer focused quality assurance program for finfish and for shellfish. These programs emphasize integrated health management. The NAA Quality Assurance Programs integrate well into the US Food and Drug Administration mandatory seafood processors safety program.
Processors, distributors and retailers must work cooperatively to ensure product wholesomeness.
2. Consumer education.
Global trade and the possibility of transporting exotic aquatic animal pathogens highlight the need for an effective national aquatic animal health management program. The European Union (EU) is already instituting restrictive programs that will limit the opportunity for aquatic animal pathogen spread. A "competent authority" must be identified in the US if aquaculture animal producers are to participate in EU trade.
State jurisdiction over fish pathogens and the interstate transport of live aquatic animals and aquatic animal products complicates commerce. Conflicting certification requirements and discordant application between public and private aquaculturists may impede commerce. There is a need for greater uniformity.
The development of a national aquatic animal health management program requires participation of commercial, public, and regulatory interests. Food fish, bait fish, and ornamental fishes should be included in program development. Because pathogen inspection programs are expensive, a focus should be placed on user friendly, cost-effective alternatives. A careful risk-analysis for each aquatic animal pathogen should be considered in designing the management program.
National aquatic animal health management programs should encompass all aquaculture interests and take into consideration the developmental stage of respective programs as well as the fact that transfer of pathogens across species is possible. Since all aquatic interests are to be considered for inclusion in this management program, representatives from such groups should be invited to participate in the development process, and in program implementation.
It is the policy of the NAA:
The NAA is frequently involved in legislative, governmental (regulatory), and national policy discussions. Specific legislation may be developed as a consequence of NAA policy requirements. Additionally, NAA is involved in conjunctive programs with other aquaculture groups or interests. Some negotiations require NAA financial commitment.
Several different negotiation approaches may be used. Winner-take-all approaches can compromise future relationships (short and long term).
The Lacey Act was passed to prohibit the international and interstate trafficking of illegally obtained wildlife and fish or parts thereof. A violation of the Lacey Act may constitute a federal felony offense and under federal sentencing guidelines the penalties for even minor infractions can be quite severe.
Interstate transportation of wildlife, fish, or parts thereof that violates a state law in the receiving state or the state shipped from, is a Lacey Act violation. Thus, what may be a misdemeanor state violation in both of the two states involved, is immediately elevated to a federal felony offense, simply because state boundaries were crossed.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the agency that enforces the Lacey Act and their Enforcement Division has historically applied this act to the international and interstate movement of private aquacultural products. In part this is because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not recognize the private ownership of aquacultural products.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director’s Order Number 27 placed a low priority on using the Lacey Act against aquacultural producers except in instances where disease transmission or non-indigenous fish species are involved. Unfortunately, various Regional Directors are interpreting this order differently complicating interstate transport. This order does not address private ownership of aquacultural products.
The NAA, since its inception, has maintained that aquaculture is agriculture and therefore believes that the US Department of Agriculture should be the lead agency for aquaculture in all matters.
Continued growth, new innovations and competitiveness in aquaculture depend upon focused research programs. Public funds expended on aquaculture research should strive to keep American farmers profitable and competitive in the culture of safe and nutritious food, bait, recreational fish, ornamentals, and other aquatic crops.
Publicly supported researchers and their institutions are facing many challenges in maintaining adequate funding support. They are increasingly looking to supplement grant funding through innovative methods and partnerships including private contracts, joint ventures, licensing of intellectual properties, foreign sources and personal consulting. This approach may help make research institutions more self-sufficient, however, it conflicts with the basic mission and ideals of the land grant institutions to carry out research and provide practical information to American farmers. The function of these institutions must be to continue to find solutions to problems and create, but not control, technology thereby helping maintain the competitiveness of our farmers.
One strength of American aquatic farmers is due to our strong publicly supported research programs. Farmers need to have a stronger role in determining their aquaculture research needs, demonstrating technology or carrying out on-farm research, and being the prime recipients of the results and benefits of publicly supported research. Congress should relieve university researchers from liability issues when collaborating with a farmer or group of farmers so long as there is a level playing field as well as develop mechanisms for farmers to share ideas with universities which may lead to advancements in aquaculture technology.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) may be defined for
The NAA defines
GMO’s as organisms that have been genetically modified by integration of
foreign DNA into their genomes using various gene transfer technologies
including microinjection, electroporation, transposon integration, or viral
Any natural sexual
reproduction of organisms causes genetic modification of organisms but these are
not ordinarily regarded as a GMO.
mating and/or natural recombination does not create a GMO.
Selective breeding, hybridization and polyploidy are natural processes
and would not be considered a GMO.
the purposes of NAA, a GMO will be defined as those organisms that have had
their normal genetic makeup altered by molecular
of selective gene isolation, characterization, and modification.
Genetically engineered or modified (GMO) aquatic organisms could significantly increase production efficiencies and reduce the environmental impacts of aquaculture with proper containment procedures. Faster growing animals could ultimately increase harvestable fish supplies for human consumption and reduce the use of water, a limited natural resource. This increased production could occur while decreasing the amount of feed fed per fish for each pound of gain. Thus, feed conversion efficiencies could potentially be improved. This would reduce dependence on natural fish meal supplies which might reduce exploitation of wild fish stocks. Other attributes of the fish such as immune system function could also be improved. The consumer might also directly benefit from such modifications by enhancing the nutritional and health benefits of aquatic organisms, increasing carcass yield and other desirable market traits, all with lower costs to the consumer.
Commercialization of genetically engineered aquatic
organisms is also highly controversial.
interests groups propose that genetically engineered aquatic organisms are a
threat to the environment, a threat to various endangered species and a threat
to human health following consumption.
there is little scientific data to conclude genetically engineered organisms are
harmful to the environment or to human health.
Conversely, there is little scientific data to prove genetically
engineered aquatic organisms are safe for the environment or human health.
There is little scientific data with which to conduct environmental risk
analysis making an informed decision difficult.