Aquaculture Law and Legal Definition

Aquaculture is the science, art, and business of cultivating marine or freshwater food fish or shellfish, such as oysters, clams, salmon, and trout, under controlled conditions.

At the Federal level, Aquaculture is defined in the National Aquatic Act 1980 as the “propagation and rearing of aquatic species in controlled or selected environments, including but not limited to, ocean ranching (except private ocean ranching of Pacific salmon for profit in those States where such ranching is prohibited by law)”.

Example of a state statute defining Aquaculture

California Fish & Game Code § 17 defines aquaculture as follows:"Aquaculture" means that form of agriculture devoted to the propagation, cultivation, maintenance, and harvesting of aquatic plants and animals in marine, brackish, and fresh water. "Aquaculture" does not include species of ornamental marine or freshwater plants and animals not utilized for human consumption or bait purposes that are maintained in closed systems for personal, pet industry, or hobby purposes, however, these species continue to be regulated under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 2116) of Division 3.

Aquaculture in the U.S is regulated at the federal and state level. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency, are the leading federal agencies that regulate aquaculture within the United States of America.