OSI supports offshore aquaculture bill
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.