Federal Government Announces National Aquaculture Policy; Paves Way for Destructive Factory Fish Farming Industry in U.S. Waters | Food & Water Watch
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I am passionate about protecting our planet mother earth, clean food and water for all people! I support Food & Water Watch because they help me to stay informed on the issues that are important to me.
Tricia Sheldon
June 9th, 2011

Federal Government Announces National Aquaculture Policy

Policy Paves Way for Destructive Factory Fish Farming Industry in U.S. Waters

Washington, DC – “Just hours after World Oceans Day ended and during National Oceans Month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA — the federal agency tasked with protecting our oceans) and the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that they are moving forward with a national policy that would pave the way for dirty, crowded factory fish farming to flourish in U.S. waters.”

“Industrial ocean fish farming is a filthy way to produce fish, and contrary to NOAA’s claims, it is not a sustainable means to supplement the U.S. seafood supply, protect ocean resources, or promote a healthy economy in the United States.”

“To add insult to injury, NOAA announced today that it would begin implementing its plan to allow the set up of the first factory fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf has already been battered by the oil industry – the last thing we need is enormous ocean fish farms that can and do spread disease, allow for millions of fish to escape, kill off wild populations, jeopardize the tourism industry, and further destroy the livelihood of local fishermen.”

“NOAA previously said that it would not move forward on its very controversial factory fish farming plan for the Gulf until this aquaculture policy was finalized. Regrettably, the policy, which was finalized today, failed to rein in the Gulf fish farming plan, which, according to a Food & Water Watch analysis, could allow more than 8 .6 million farmed fish to escape unreported annually.”

“Furthermore, the policy touts factory fish farming as a means to increase the domestic seafood supply, while conveniently failing to mention that 70 percent of the seafood caught or farmed in the U.S. is already exported. Given this trend, the U.S would likely export the majority of factory farmed fish while keeping the pollution.”

“Establishing a $5 billion fish farming industry in the United States, which NOAA has previously indicated is its aim, could generate an amount of fish waste equal to the untreated sewage of about 17.1 million people — over twice the population of New York City. And waste isn’t the only thing leaking from fish farms: the open water salmon farms in the North Atlantic result in 2 million fish escapes each year, weakening wild fish stocks and spreading disease.”

“According to NOAA’s policy, ‘Environmental challenges posed by aquaculture…may include nutrient and chemical wastes, water use demands, aquatic animal diseases and invasive species, potential competitive and genetic effects on wild species, effects on endangered or protected species, effects on protected and sensitive marine areas, effects on habitat for other species, and the use of forage fish for aquaculture feeds.’”

“NOAA’s policy also states that, ‘Economic and social challenges may include market competition affecting the viability of domestic aquaculture and/or the prices U.S. fishermen receive for their wild seafood products; competition with other uses of the marine environment; degraded habitats and ecosystem services; and impacts to diverse cultural traditions and values.’”

“In response, we’re kicking off a campaign today to keep factory fish farming from industrializing our oceans – a major component of NOAA’s new policy. We’re calling on Congress to support Representative Don Young’s (R-Alaska) bill (H.R. 574) to stop NOAA from recklessly and unilaterally forging ahead with factory fish farming.”

Contact: Lauren Wright, 202 683-4929, lwright(at)fwwatch(dot)org

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.