F&WW opposes aquaculture bill

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
December 29, 2009

On Monday, Food & Water Watch released a statement opposing a bill introduced on 26 December that would allow offshore aquaculture in U.S. waters to become available to the public.

The NGO calls the bill, introduced by Rep. Lois Capps, “unnecessary and not a step toward protecting our oceans and fishermen’s jobs from harms associated with ocean fish farming.”

While the bill may be intended as a safeguard against a piecemeal approach to developing and regulating ocean aquaculture, the ultimate effect is to streamline the process for the industry to better establish itself in the United States, writes Wenonah Hauter, F&WW executive director.

She adds that environmental problems associated with open ocean aquaculture, including fish escapement, pollution and diseases, will not be fully managed by the bill.

"Economically, fish farms can undercut the prices that local fishermen receive for their catch, further threatening an already vulnerable job market. This industry is not a solution to the question of how to meet the growing demand for seafood,” said Hauter. “Rather than continue with legislation to regulate (and thus allow) ocean fish farming, Representative Capps should instead support legislation that would prevent the growth of this industry. To supplement U.S. seafood production and increase green jobs, a much more sustainable approach is necessary. Representative Capps should support the exploration of aquaculture techniques that have fewer negative environmental and economic impacts, such as land-based, recirculating systems.”

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