Online Program

Offshore Fish Farming in the US: Who will regulate occupational safety?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Jillian Fry, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
David Love, PhD, MSPH, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Environmental Health Sciences Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Arunima Shukla, MPP, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Ryan Lee, MHS, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
background and objectives: Half of the world’s edible seafood comes from aquaculture, and the United States (US) government is working to develop an offshore finfish aquaculture industry in federal waters. To date, US aquaculture has largely been regulated at the state level, and creating an offshore aquaculture industry will require the development of a new regulatory structure. Offshore aquaculture combines elements of commercial fishing and agriculture, and can be hazardous for workers. The purpose of this analysis was to identify federal laws relevant to offshore aquaculture and public health, and to inform public health professionals and other stakeholders in the policy debate regarding how offshore finfish aquaculture should be regulated in the US.

methods: We conducted a policy analysis to identify potential regulatory gaps associated with a new offshore finfish aquaculture industry.

results: We identified 20 federal laws related to offshore finfish aquaculture, including 11 that are relevant to preventing, controlling, or monitoring potential public health risks. Importantly, we found that OSHA has no jurisdiction or regulatory experience in the waters where this production would be located.

conclusions: Given the novelty of the industry in the US, myriad relevant laws, and jurisdictional issues in an offshore setting, federal agencies need to work collaboratively and transparently to ensure that a comprehensive and functional regulatory structure is established. Public health professionals, especially occupational safety experts, should be included in the policy process.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
List the occupational health risks associated with offshore finfish aquaculture. Describe the current regulatory gaps in the US and how these gaps could threaten the health and safety of aquaculture workers.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research related to public health and food animal production for over five years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.