Hawaii firm gets permit for open-ocean farm


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
April 5, 2012

Hawaii Oceanic Technology on Wednesday announced that it has received a state permit allowing it to move forward with its plan to raise bigeye and yellowfin tuna in open-ocean cages.

The Hawaii Department of Health issued the company a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, effective 30 April. It took the company more than a year to obtain the permit, which required a public review, a response to public comments and several non-governmental organizations.

The company is also in the process of obtaining an Army Corps of Engineers permit, which is the last permit required before the company can execute its plan.

The company has spent more than five years and USD 2 million complying with state and federal permit requirements. The company was granted a Conservation District Use permit in October 2010 to obtain its 247-acre ocean lease. Additional federal permits include a Federal Consistency Review permit, the EPA/NPDES permit and an Army Corp Section 10 permit, which has been in the works since September 2010.

“The permitting process has been gruelling and expensive, but the company is proud to have been held to such high standards,” said Bill Spencer, president and CEO. “We are now more than five years ahead of any other company contemplating doing an open-ocean fish farming business in Hawaii or the U.S. If the U.S. is serious about food security and reversing the USD 14 billion trade deficit it maintains from the importation of the 85 percent of seafood we consume, the regulatory requirements must be streamlined and the burden on entrepreneurs should be reduced significantly.”

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