OSI supports offshore aquaculture bill


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
January 4, 2010

The Ocean Stewards Institute (OSI) on Tuesday voiced its support for legislation that would establish national standards governing open-ocean aquaculture in U.S. waters. Called the National Sustainable Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2009, the bill was introduced on 16 December by U.S. Rep Lois Capps (D-Calif.).

The OSI, a trade organization advocating for open-ocean aquaculture, said the bill balances the environmental and economic aspects of fish farming and called it “an important first step” toward creating a regulatory framework for open-ocean aquaculture, which the United States currently lacks.

“It is a moral imperative for the United States to take the lead on sustainable aquaculture development,” said Neil Sims, president of both OSI and Kona Blue Water Farms in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. “This legislation provides opportunity for U.S. companies to produce sustainable and abundant seafood, using U.S. environmental standards and food-safety standards.

“This is a very workable bill at such an early stage,” added Sims, “and we look forward to working with [Congress] to refining it into much-needed, functioning legislation that establishes a sensible offshore aquaculture policy.”

The Pew Environment Group and Ocean Conservancy also applaud the Capps’ bill, while Food & Water Watch opposes it.

The bill came more than three months after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration unveiled its intent to establish a regulatory framework for open-ocean aquaculture, designed to simplify and accelerate the permitting process and protect the environment.

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