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Louisiana Farm Bureau Agri-News Radio Network reports:

The formation of the Coalition for U.S. Seafood Production was announced as the World Aquaculture Society meeting was taking place in Seattle this week.

This soybean-industry led group is - to be known as CUSP - is an outgrowth of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance.

Alliance Executive Director Steven Hart says it's crucial to establish relationships and build connections among soy, aquaculture and seafood value chain stakeholders to help aquaculture catch on. He says CUSP will encourage the executive branch and Congress to help expand U.S. aquaculture - which they say is needed to meet the growing demand for fish in the U.S. and other countries in the coming years.

The goals of the coalition are supported by a recent World Bank, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and International Food Policy Research Institute report. The report predicted that 62-percent of fish for human food will come from aquaculture by 2030 because fish catchers in the wild are expected to level off amid rising demand for low-cost protein from a growing middle class.

The FAO also found that the U.S. has some of the world's best potential locations for offshore fish farming.

The coalition's goals include finalizing a fishery management plan for marine aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevenson Marine Fisheries Management Act - which guides the activities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration related to aquaculture - and declaration of aquaculture as a specialty crop in the next farm bill.

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