Blogs | Food & Water Watch - Part 108
Victory! Cleveland passes resolution against antibiotic misuse on factory farms. more wins »
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December 7th, 2009

Feeling Dirty After Corporate Bluewash

Last week in San Francisco, I attended the Action for a Sustainable America Corporate Water Footprinting Conference, a confab where representatives of some of the biggest private water companies and users including Nestle, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Veolia, got together to pat each other on the back and talk about all the wonderful things they are doing to protect and promote clean water (note the sarcasm here).

Last year, we and our allies protested the conference as just another form of damage control for water-abusing corporate interests under the slogan “water footprint, corporate blue wash.” We tried to attend the event but were not allowed in, and we declined to pay the exorbitant price of admission. The conference also excluded the media, which nonetheless reported on the conference and our protest of it. Read the full article…

December 4th, 2009

In Search of the Truth About Ocean Fish Farming: A response to Yale Environment 360‚ article, "In Search of New Waters, Fish Farming Moves Offshore"

On December 3, Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, published a disappointingly inaccurate and shortsighted piece on the development of offshore aquaculture.

The article, a stunner from the usually credible Ivy League university, was riddled with bias and incorrect statements such as, “Only a small number of truly offshore operations exist, a mix of experimental, academic, and business ventures that include farms in Hawaii, a University of New Hampshire test site, and a soon-to-start pilot project off the San Diego coast” The farms in Hawaii are not “offshore,” but rather “near-shore,” in state waters (from zero to three miles from shore in most areas). The article itself elsewhere accurately explains offshore waters as between three and 200 miles off the coast (in most areas of the U.S.). The referenced farm off San Diego is the Hubbs-SeaWorld Offshore Aquaculture Demonstration project, and this project is not at all “soon-to-start.” In fact, the facility recently withdrew its application from the permitting process. Read the full article…

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Offshore Fish Farms Moving into Scotland

Marine Harvest, the world‚ largest salmon producer, has announced plans to bring offshore aquaculture to Scotland for the first time. Scotland got its first commercial salmon farm (near shore) in 1969, and today the industry stretches from the Highlands to the Western Isles, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. Because many of the areas have high levels of unemployment, government agencies have been persuaded that the growth of the fish framing industry will bring some economic benefit to the areas. As of 2003, about 160,000 metric tons of salmon and trout were farmed in the ocean annually. Read the full article…

December 3rd, 2009

53 Groups Join Food & Water Watch in Asking Rep. Capps Not to Promote Ocean Fish Farming

Food & Water Watch, along with 53 other consumer, fishing and environmental groups and businesses, today submitted a letter to Representative Lois Capps (D-CA 23rd) requesting that she reconsider her plan to introduce legislation that would allow ocean fish farming in U.S. federal waters. Read the full article…

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November 20th, 2009

Kona Blue: Planning Tropical Adventure to Get Away from It All?

Kona Blue Water Farms, producer of farmed yellowtail known as “Kona kampachi,” has announced that it is opening a second offshore fish farming operation‚ this time, in Mexico‚ Sea of Cortez. The company, which operates its current facility in where humpback whales have been observed, has faced opposition from native Hawaiians ( Download the PDF file.) for environmental reasons and failing to respect Hawaiian traditions and customs by, among other things, infringing on traditional fishing grounds and killing a shark, a sacred animal in Hawaiian culture. Kona‚ operations have also faced ongoing opposition from Food & Water Watch, for a variety of environmental and social concerns. Could it be that the company is setting up shop in Mexico to escape the constant voices of U.S. opposition? Read the full article…

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November 19th, 2009

Victory in Wells!

Encouraged by the work of our ally, Save our H20 Maine, Food & Water Watch, and other dedicated activists, the people of Wells, Maine took to the polls in this month‚ elections and voted 2-1 to reject a new town ordinance that would have permitted groundwater withdrawals–a practice that has never before been allowed there. Written by the Wells Planning Board, the ordinance would have both permitted and regulated large-scale water extraction operations. Fun fact about the proposed ordinance: Representatives of the water-hogging behemoth Nestle North America (Nestle) which mines water for its Poland Spring brand in the state oh-so-obligingly lent their hand to the ordinance‚ crafting. Read the full article…

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November 18th, 2009

Hubbs-SeaWorld Industrial Fish Farm Off the Table For Now

Great news! Those worried about the implications of putting an industrial ocean fish farm off San Diego‚ coast can breathe easy for now. Don Kent of Hubbs-SeaWorld has submitted a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking to defer the current permitting process.

Pen in an open ocean fish farm.

Pen in an open ocean fish farm.

Last fall, Hubbs-SeaWorld sent in applications to several federal and state agencies seeking permits to place the U.S.‚ first commercial fish farm five miles off the coast of San Diego. The group proposed to grow 1,000 metric tons of striped sea bass at the outset, with the goal to produce 3,000 metric tons of fish annually by the fifth year of production. Read the full article…

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November 17th, 2009

Day 5 in Rome

Hello from Rome. Today was a very active day ,both with civil society where we finished the statement from civil society and had a press conference at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The civil society completely rejected bio fuels, arguing that they take food from the mouths of the hungry, they are part of the land grab process, and they only help large scale companies and multinationals. In the press conference, Flavio Valente from Food First International made very firm gestures rejecting the bio fuel agenda. Read the full article…

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November 16th, 2009

Day 4 in Rome

The official FAO meeting began on the 16th of November with the Pope followed by Libya’s Gaddafi, an interesting pairing! The Kings and Presidents (but not Obama) had the roads of Rome closed off for them, getting near the FAO was a big challenge so I waited until things calmed down later in the day, to be honest, the rooms for NGOs had problems of communication all their own, the translations didn’t come through the earphones provided, and other rooms for NGOs had no sound, so things were a little disorganized, perhaps today will be better. Heading off this morning first to the FAO and then to the Civil Society Forum. The FAO statement has already been issued, even without finishing the meeting yet! It is pretty bland, not much on climate change, speculation, inclusion of small farmers in the decision-making, biotechnology cloaked under the words of “new technology” at least they could be honest and say what they mean. Read the full article…

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Pangasius Pandemonium

Last week, the state of Alabama instituted a stop sale order on imported catfish and pangasius, a catfish-like fish (pangasius is frequently mislabeled as catfish) after discovering that high numbers of the samples that had been inspected were contaminated with illegal antibiotics called flouroquinolones. In the case of pangasius, this is just the latest in a long list of problems, including a May 2009 incident in which the president of Virginia Star Seafood Corporation was convicted of selling more than 10 million pounds of frozen pangasius labeled as other types of fish and avoiding $12 million in antidumping duties. (“Dumping” a product refers to the practice of importing it at a cost lower than its production cost in order to outcompete domestic producers before raising the price again. When importers are caught dumping products, theyre required to pay antidumping duties.) Pangasius, which looks and tastes similar to catfish produced here in the U.S., is produced in farms in Asia, primarily in Vietnam. U.S. catfish producers have worked to prevent pangasius from being imported and undercutting their sales. Read the full article…

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