Norway is the world’s largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon. In Norway, The Aquaculture Act (the Act) regulates the management, control, and development of both land-based and marine aquaculture. The Act is administered by The Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs and covers aquaculture of any aquatic organism throughout its entire production cycle (hatchery to broodstock). Within the Ministry, the Directorate of Fisheries is responsible for coordination, administration, surveillance, and enforcement of the aquaculture sector. The Act establishes a licensing system for aquaculture which is carried out by the Ministry. Under the Act, the Ministry can limit the number of available licenses, determine the geographic distribution of licenses, select applicants, and administer fees. Adopted under the Act, the Regulation relative to authorizations for the breeding of salmon, trout and rainbow trout (Salmon Allocation Decree) provides for the allocation of licenses for farming these particular species. The Act creates a maximum stocking density (relative to the carrying capacity) for each site, establishes minimum distances between sites, and requires a 60-day fallowing between each production cycle.
In Chile, the world’s second largest producer of Atlantic salmon, aquaculture is regulated by the General Law of Fisheries and Aquaculture. There are numerous government agencies involved to some degree in aquaculture regulation in Chile. Among these include:
- Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Subpesca) – which regulates aquaculture activities and establishes the technical conditions for its development;
Undersecretariat for the Armed Force – which grants licenses and establishes appropriate areas for aquaculture production;
- Environmental Assessment Service – which participates in the environmental evaluation of projects;
- General Directorate of Maritime Territory (DIRECTEMAR) – which works to monitor activities developed in waterways; and,
- National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) – which monitors compliance with the norms of aquaculture, sanitary management, and provides services to enable their correct implementation.
Sernapesca manages prevention and surveillance programs for high-risk diseases as well as manages site grouping. They also provide an annual fish health report, provide data on disease and sea lice (as well as listing centers of high sea lice concentrations), and provide data on mortality by species and region, categorized by disease type. Sernapesca also produces an annual report on chemical use which contains resources on antibiotic use by species, the types and quantities of antibiotics used, use by region, and as of 2015, total use by each company operating in Chile. The key environmental regulation in Chile is Reglamento Ambiental para la Acuicultura (RAMA). Under RAMA, Sernapesca preforms benthic, seabed habitat assessments for INFA (Informes Sanitarios y Ambientales Acuicultura) prior to harvesting. These site-level assessments, along with mortality numbers and other performance parameters, are used to predict stocking numbers and contribute to setting multi-site biomass and stocking limits for salmon farms operating in Chile.
Numerous local, state, and federal agencies are involved to some degree in the permitting process and regulation of Atlantic salmon aquaculture in the United States. While there is no national oversight agency for aquaculture in the US, there are extensive regulations in place regarding predator controls, therapeutant use, and disease management. Permitting varies by location with numerous federal agencies providing some degree of oversight. These include:
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – which is responsible for coordinating national aquaculture policy and providing industry with research, information, and extension services;
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – which regulates waste discharge from aquaculture facilities;
- The Fisheries and Wildlife Service (FWS) – which regulates the introduction and transport of fish; and,
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is responsible for approving and monitoring the use of drugs and medicated feeds used in the aquaculture industry.
Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Coast Guard, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the US Army Corps of Engineers are involved in the permitting and management of Atlantic salmon aquaculture. Amongst regulations, US salmon farms must adhere to include the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
NOAA Fisheries, the US FWS, and the New England Fishery Management Council manage wild populations of Atlantic salmon under the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Salmon. There is no wild commercial Atlantic salmon fishery in the US and the FMP prohibits possession of any Atlantic salmon in federal waters –regardless if directly or indirectly caught. All wild-caught Atlantic salmon must be immediately returned to the water in a manner that best ensures their survival. In 2000, NOAA and the US FWS listed the Gulf of Maine salmon population as Endangered, under the Endangered Species Act. In 2009 this designation was extended to salmon in the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Androscoggin rivers and tributaries. These protections extend outside of these locations to wherever the fish are found.