By SeafoodSource staff
Published on 06 October, 2009
Washington, D.C., group Food and Water Watch, in conjunction with several other organizations, recently filed suit against the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Marine Fisheries Service over a plan to allow offshore fish farming in the Gulf of Mexico.
F&WW said the suit is because the plan and the process by which it was developed and enacted violated existing federal laws. The group said the agencies did not take required actions in allowing the plan to be finalized and do not have the authority to permit open-ocean aquaculture.
"These massive operations primarily benefit private corporations and can harm consumers, coastal communities and the environment," said Wenonah Hauter, F&WW executive director. "Rather than taking a stand, the agencies chose to stay silent, allowing the illegal plan to simply become effective."
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the federal agencies have the authority to regulate fish farming and fishing — but setting up a permit system for ocean aquaculture facilities is outside their respective jurisdictions, according to F&WW.