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USDA/AMS RIN: 0581-AD34 Publication ID: Fall 2016 
Title: National Organic Program--Organic Aquaculture Standards 

This action proposes to establish standards for organic production and certification of farmed aquatic animals and their products in the USDA organic regulations. This action would also add aquatic animals as a scope of certification and accreditation under the National Organic Program (NOP).

Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 205   
Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501 to 6522   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

This action is necessary to  establish standards for organic farmed aquatic animals and their products which would allow U.S. producers to compete in the organic seafood market.This action is also necessary to address multiple recommendations provided to USDA by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  From 2007 through 2009, the NOSB made five recommendations to establish standards for the certification of organic farmed aquatic animals and their products. Finally, the U.S. currently has organic standards equivalence arrangements with Canada and the European Union (EU). Both Canada and the EU established standards for organic aquaculture products.  Because the U.S.does not have organic aquaculture standards, the U.S. is unable to include aquaculture in the scope of these arrangements. Establishing U.S. organic aquaculture may provide a basis for expanding those trade partnerships

Summary of the Legal Basis:

AMS National Organic Program is authorized by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) to establish national standards governing the marketing of organically produced agricultural products (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522). The USDA organic regulations set the requirements for the organic certification of agricultural products (7 CFR part 205).


An alternative to providing organic aquatic animal standards would be to not publish such standards and allow aquatic animal products to continue to be sold as organic based on private standards or other countries' standards.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The cost for existing conventional aquaculture operations to convert and participate in this voluntary marketing program generally would be incurred in the cost of changing management practices, increased feed costs, and obtaining organic certification. There also would be some costs to certifying agents who would need to add aquaculture to their areas of accreditation under the USDA organic regulations. These costs include application fees and expanded audits to ensure certifying agents meet the accreditation requirements needed to provide certification services to aquaculture operations. By providing organic standards for organic aquatic animal products, producers will be able to sell certified organic aquatic animal products for a premium above the price of conventionally produced seafood. Organic consumers will be assured that organic aquatic animal products comply with the USDA organic regulations.


There are no known risks to providing these additional standards for certification of organic products.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/00/2016 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Miles V. McEvoy
Deputy Administrator, USDA National Organic Program
Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW.,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone:202 720-3252