PETA, Seaspiracy producer call on Biden to reverse offshore aquaculture executive order

Published on
May 4, 2021

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and “Seaspiracy” producer Kip Andersen are calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to reverse a Trump administration executive order permitting the growth of offshore aquaculture operations and practices.

PETA and Andersen said in a letter to Biden that Executive Order 13921 on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth allows for the “the proliferation of damaging and deadly offshore fish-factory farms,” which "cause substantial suffering to the farmed fish."

“The last thing our oceans need is more fish-factory farms leaking pestilence, parasites, and pollutants into the water,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a press release announcing the letter’s deployment. “PETA is asking the president to protect our oceans and everyone who lives in or near them by pulling the plug on this reckless order.”

Within the letter itself, Newkirk and Andersen said they delivered the letter on behalf of the nonprofit’s more than 6.5 million members, “and millions of viewers disturbed by the revelations in the documentary Seaspiracy.”

“In issuing and implementing Executive Order 13921, the Trump administration made it clear that it was intended to reduce the burdens on commercial fishing operations, and it indisputably shifts the cost of planning for such operations to taxpayers and reduces regulatory review of proposed projects despite the extensive harm to fish and the marine environment. Your administration has already taken many actions to stay, suspend, or reverse Trump administration decisions that jeopardize wildlife and the environment,” the letter states. “We commend you on those efforts and urge you also to revoke Executive Order 13921 to end this damaging policy in order to protect countless fish, other marine animals including birds, the sensitive marine environment, and potentially even human health from significant harm.”

Since it premiered on Netflix in March, the 90-minute Seaspiracy has earned steady viewership – and criticism from seafood industry stakeholders and scientists. The Marine Stewardship Council, Oceana, the National Fisheries Institute, and others have panned the film as misleading, with NFI likening it to a “slickly produced propaganda [piece].”

Plant-based seafood analog producers, on the other hand, have seen the film fuel their businesses’ growth.

“We have noticed that…Seaspiracy has made a big impression on people and has contributed to a growing awareness of the importance of plant-based alternatives to fish,” Giessen, the Netherlands-based Schouten Europe B.V. Product Manager Annemiek Vervoort told SeafoodSource. “This will further increase the demand for fish substitutes.”

Photo courtesy of BiksuTong/Shutterstock

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