Senator Roger Wicker. (Photo: Roger Wicker Twitter)
Marine aquaculture development bill generates doubts
Friday, June 29, 2018, 03:10 (GMT + 9)
A Senate's bill intended to promote aquaculture development in federal waters is facing opposition from several groups, who are concerned it could bring marien floating factory farms to the United States.
Those opposing AQUAA Act (Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture), introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (Mississippi), believe that it would allow the federal government to permit industrial ocean fish farming in the US.
Some representatives of the opposition to the AQUAA Act, including a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations, consisting of commercial and recreational fishing groups, indigenous populations and consumer advocacy, food, farming and conservation organizations, are convinced that it will improperly place the new program under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act — a law that has historically preserved the ocean ecosystems and protected wild fish stocks.
In response to the introduced bill, Hallie Templeton, Senior Oceans Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, stated that Congress is devastating the oceans, coastal communities and marine-reliant industries.
In her view, the legitimization of industrial ocean aquaculture in their waters will wreak havoc on ocean ecosystems and marine life.
“Introducing this harmful industry to our waterways will endanger sustainable fishing communities and introduce risks to both wild fish species and consumers,” the environmentalist pointed out.
She claimed that the AQUAA Act affords no meaningful protections to the environment or fishing industries, adding that it allows corporations to commercialize and destroy the ocean ecosystems.
“Congress should support sustainable wild-caught fishing and seafood production methods. With sound policy, we can meet consumer demand without devastating our planet or harming local fishing economies,” Templeton pointed out.
Friends of the Earth joined other stakeholders, industries, and organizations who rely significantly on a healthy ocean ecosystem and sent a letter on June 6 to the Senate complaining that industrial marine finfish farming poses serious risks to the oceans, coastal communities, and public health.
The members of this group claim that farms cram thousands of fish into enormous floating net pens and cages, exposing wild fish stocks to pests and disease and risking massive farmed fish spills that further threaten wild fish.
They insist that these operations use assorted pharmaceuticals and toxic chemicals to treat disease and control infestations, which end up in their waters and can negatively impact nearby marine life.
In their view, this industry also poses serious occupational hazards for workers, and has been classified as one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.
- New bill seeks to regulate aquaculture in federal waters