Aquaculture Association takes AIM
Beginning with preparations for the 2011 Annual Meeting, the Michigan Aquaculture Association Board of Directors has focused its attention on aquaculture development in Michigan. The initial steps were taken by coordinating efforts at development of a strategic planning document for aquaculture, and then by encouraging the state governmental departments that have jurisdiction over aquaculture to meet with industry representatives to begin a process of intentional aquaculture encouragement.
This focus has resulted in a series of meetings, now called “Aquaculture in Michigan” or “AIM”. AIM began in August of 2011 with an opportunity for the industry to identify and discuss the difficulties and roadblocks to aquaculture development in Michigan with the regulatory partners. Subsequent meetings have continued with participation from Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Aquaculture Association.
At this point, the efforts of AIM have created a new Draft Memorandum of Understanding between MDARD and MDNR that now also includes MDEQ. When the MOU is fully developed it will define the roles and responsibilities of these three agencies in the development and regulation of the aquaculture industry.
Because the AIM Workgroup recognized a need for a “Roadmap” for aquaculture operations that wish to expand or for new developing farms to understand the underlying regulatory framework that will allow them to plan appropriately, MDARD was able to attract a $100,000 grant from the Herrick Foundation to research the issues and develop a guidebook that will contain the “Roadmap for Development”. MDARD has awarded the project to Originz, LLC and it is anticipated that this guidebook will be available to the public in July 2012.
The Michigan Aquaculture Association has committed itself to a process of sustainable aquaculture development that will assist the industry to grow and create prosperity for fish farmers in Michigan and to help the state of Michigan in achieving its economic recovery by encouraging responsible use of Michigan’s vast fresh water resources for aquaculture.
The following link explains the AIM process and document in depth and provides information on Originz, LLC.