Fish Farm Proposed in Federal Waters off California
Aquaculture specialists at the Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute in San Diego hope to build a fish farm off Mission Beach, Calif.
The project would be the first of its kind in U.S. federal waters.
If the institute can get through the permit process, the USD 17 million operation could start by early 2011.
The California Coastal Commission along with agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency would have to approve the project.
The operation would cover about 1.4 million square feet of ocean surface in water 300 feet deep off Mission Beach.
At first the institute would deploy eight circular nets, each large enough to hold about 125,000 fish. The nets would be anchored to the sea floor and stocked with striped bass, which would grow for about two years and then harvested and sold to seafood wholesalers.
Over five years, Hubbs would install 24 pens and produce 3,000 metric tons of fish annually. Institute officials say at full capacity they could raise about 3 million fish per year worth USD 21 million
Hubbs has also experimented with aquaculture nets on a small scale in the waters off Baja California, which was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.