RELEASE: New Trump Executive Order Sells Off the Ocean and Fails Coastal Communities, CAP Analysis Says

Washington, D.C. — Instead of helping fishermen and coastal communities survive the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration is using the crisis as an excuse to weaken fisheries management and begin industrial fish farming, according to a new column from the Center for American Progress.

A new executive order signed on May 7 won’t help the communities devastated by COVID-19, the column says. The order invites the rollback of key fisheries management measures and sets up a structure for permitting of offshore aquaculture in federal waters with short timelines and few environmental safeguards.

“The poor practices laid out in this ill-conceived executive order will not help stricken communities, but they will cost everyone much more in the long run,” said Miriam Goldstein, managing director for Energy and Environment and director of Ocean Policy at CAP. “This is just another example of the Trump administration’s anti-ocean agenda.”

The column argues that while aquaculture could be developed in a responsible way, the executive order seems intent on ensuring it is done with as little accountability as possible—with unrealistic permitting timelines and insufficient environmental safeguards for aquaculture stock sourcing, stock composition, and feed traceability.

Instead of selling off the ocean’s future for little to no benefit, the federal government should take the following actions:

  • Provide more direct relief to the fishing industry.
  • Invest in ocean and coastal habitat restoration.
  • Improve science-based management to ensure that fishermen, observers, and the ocean ecosystem are all kept safe.

Read the column: “New Trump Executive Order Sells Off the Ocean and Fails Coastal Communities” by Miriam Goldstein and Alexandra Carter.

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.