Summary: H.R.9370 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (10/02/1978)

(House agreed to Senate amendments with amendments)

National Aquaculture Act - Establishes a National Aquaculture Council to be composed of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior or the designees of such Secretaries. Permits the Council to establish, and appoint the members of, an advisory committee to assist the Council in its functions.

Directs the Council to establish and maintain an aquaculture information center, conduct appropriate surveys, arrange for the mutual exchange of aquaculture information with foreign nations and conduct a continuing study to determine whether existing capture fisheries could be adversely impacted by competition from products produced by commercial aquaculture enterprises significantly aided under this Act. Requires the Council to submit to Congress, on a biennial basis, a report on the status of aquaculture in the United States.

Directs the Council, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, other Federal agencies, appropriate States, and appropriate Regional Fishery Management Councils, to make a comprehensive assessment of aquaculture in the United States and to establish a National Aquaculture Development Plan.

Sets forth the functions and powers of the Council which include the following: to provide advisory, educational, and technical assistance with respect to aquaculture; consult and cooperate with interested persons regarding the development of aquaculture technology; encourage implementation of aquaculture technology; conduct scale tests of any aquaculture system for the purpose of assessing the biological and economic feasibility; produce and sell at cost, seed stock for commercial aquatic species; develop methods to enhance aquatic species stocks by aquaculture; carry out studies and research with respect to aquatic species; and conduct other tests or analyses as necessary.

Allows the Secretaries on the Council to accept any gift, donation, or devise or bequest of real or personal property for use in performing their functions under this Act.

Establishes the Interagency Aquaculture Coordinating Committee which shall insure a continuing exchange of aquaculture information, and review the relevant programs and projects to determine whether such programs and projects are functioning in compliance with policy.

Authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior to carry out any function under this Act through grants to or contracts with any other Federal department or agency, regional commissions, any State agency, or any person.

Provides financial assistance in the form of grants for aquaculture demonstration projects. Stipulates that such assistance may not exceed 50 percent of the estimated cost of each such project.

Authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce to guarantee, or make a commitment to guarantee, the payment of interest on, and the principal amount of, any obligation issued by an obligor for any of the following purposes: (1) the financing of construction, reconstruction, or reconditioning of any aquaculture facility; (2) the acquisition of stocks of aquatic species; (3) the financing of initial operating expenses of any aquaculture facility; (4) the financing of marketing operations exclusively for aquaculture products; and (5) the refinancing of any existing obligation. Stipulates that the aggregate unpaid principal amount of all such guaranteed obligations shall not exceed $300,000,000. Authorizes the Secretary to collect a fee for guaranteed obligations not to exceed one-half of one percent per annum of the outstanding principal balance of the obligation. Sets forth the allowable interest rate, maturity date, and default procedures relating to such loans.

Authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce to establish a program to provide essential property or liability insurance to owners of aquaculture facilities, at reasonable rates, upon a determination that such insurance is not available at reasonable premium rates in any State and such insurance has not been provided by State action. Authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce to make disaster loans to any person if such person's aquaculture facility or stock is damaged or destroyed as a result of a natural disaster, or if such person's stock is damaged or destroyed by disease, pollution or contamination.

Establishes in the Treasury a Federal Aquaculture Assistance Fund, which shall be available to the Secretary as a revolving fund for purposes of carrying out, and administering guarantees of obligations, and providing insurance and disaster loans.

Authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 1980, 1981, and 1982, to carry out the provisions of this Act.