The NOAA ship Fairweather is pictured on Aug. 17, 2012. Photo courtesy of NOAA

NOAA Fisheries is accepting comment through Dec. 18 on Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOAs) in Alaska state waters, for review for multiple potential commercial aquaculture operations. 

AOAs are defined geographic areas evaluated through both spatial analysis and National Environmental Policy Act review processes to support multiple commercial aquaculture operations. 

NOAA Fisheries, which is partnering with the state of Alaska on the effort, said they would analyze information from the public to help determine spaces that are environmentally, socially and economically appropriate for commercial aquaculture.   

Finfish farming is prohibited by state law in Alaska state waters. NOAA will consider only marine invertebrates such as shellfish and sea cucumbers, and seaweed farming, the agency’s statement said. 

Comments may be submitted electronically via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal for NOAA-NMFS-2023-0113. Click on the “comment” icon, complete required fields, and enter or attach your comments. 

Mail written comments to Jon Kurland, regional administrator: Attn: Records Office, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668. 

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The public is also invited to submit oral comment during a virtual listening session from 9 to 11 a.m. Alaska time on Nov. 14, and from 2 to 4 p.m. Alaska time on Nov. 15. 

The webinar link for Nov. 14 is 2764 779 2075. The password is 3i33pB4H3dk (34337244 from phones and video systems). Access code: 276 477 92075. 

The webinar link for Nov. 15 is 2762 549 8053. The password is PGs3r3eMQP6 (74737336 from phones and video systems). Access code: 276 254 98053. 

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