Rahall Urges Commerce to Dismiss Offshore Aquaculture Plan


April Forristall, SeafoodSource.com assistant editor

Published on
February 9, 2009

In a letter to Otto Wolf, U.S. Department of Commerce acting secretary , House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) last week called on the agency to dismiss the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s plan to establish a permitting system for offshore aquaculture in federal waters.

Two weeks ago, the Council approved the initiative, which is the first of any in waters extending from 3 to 200 miles offshore.

“Congress did not intend for the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to grant authority to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Regional Fishery Management Councils to regulate offshore aquaculture as fishing,” Rahall said in the letter.

Rahall said there needs to be a coherent regime to regulate aquaculture, and the environmental consequences of new technologies need to be evaluated.

In October 2008, Rahall penned a similar letter to NOAA’s acting assistant administrator.

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