Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Daniel Suman

Second Committee Member

Maria Estevanez

Third Committee Member

Daniel DiResta


An exponentially growing world population has put human innovation and ingenuity to the test. Over the past few decades, our ability to develop technology for the purpose of adjusting to an increasing demand for natural resources has shown our capacity for growth and adaptation. However, how much growth can be sustained to solve problems related to food security? Aquaculture has become a viable option to combat food scarcity issues. Aquaculture that takes place offshore is a relatively new field of study that warrants further investigation. As research continues to evaluate environmental effects from offshore aquaculture, it must be tied with social considerations that come with food production and security. It is also important to note that aquaculture developments should be scrutinized on a case-by-case basis because projects vary considerably in terms of inputs, business plans, management, and can range from intensive to extensive systems. This study addresses some of the major legal frameworks offshore aquaculture practitioners must comply with if such developments were to occur within marine protected waters, specifically those of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. The main goal of the sanctuary is to promote the conservation of the humpback whales. Uncertainty regarding effects on certain marine mammals has yet to be fully investigated. Thus, further studies are needed to assess the compatibility of offshore aquaculture with biological conservation. This policy analysis is also accompanied with a spatial analysis to better understand relevant statutes and agency jurisdictions.


Aquaculture; Offshore; Hawaii; Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary