Congress Fails to Keep Dirty Factory Fish Farms Out of the Gulf

This week, Congress is voting on the critically important and extremely timely “Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009,” (CLEAR Act). The stated purpose of the act was to promote clean energy while heightening safety standards surrounding offshore drilling and other problematic industries in the Gulf. Unfortunately, several important provisions, which would have furthered these stated goals, were dropped from the bill. The bill, which supposedly includes a Gulf of Mexico restoration program, would have banned the destructive and highly contentious practice of offshore aquaculture (also known as factory fish farming) in Gulf waters and would have promoted solar and wind energy on land. Unfortunately, Democratic leaders caved to political pressure and removed these significant provisions.

Why is Congress continuing to give industry unfettered access to the Gulf? Factory fish farms, for example, do not yet exist in offshore Gulf waters, although some are lobbying to put them there.

It is only those in the factory fish farming industry who would profit by setting up shop in the Gulf. The controversial practice, which is more widespread overseas, has caused documented environmental and socio-economic damage where it exists.

Fish Farming Facts

Fish farming consists of the mass-production of fish using floating cages or net pens in open waters. Picture thousands of fish eating, excreting and growing in crowded, dirty operations that necessitate the use of chemicals, antibiotics and pesticides that can harm both consumers and the environment.

If Congress really wants to restore the Gulf, the CLEAR Act must be proactive in banning and preventing known environmentally unsound practices while promoting cleaner energy and responsible industry.

Why We Need Regulation

Some members of Congress are dismissing the bill’s regulatory and energy provisions as excessive while demanding the bill address only the Gulf oil industry. If the Gulf spill has taught us anything, however, it’s that we must be proactive in regulating potentially destructive industries. One of the most serious, yet little-known threats to our oceans over the last decade has been the expansion of offshore aquaculture, so why is Congress allowing its creation in the already struggling Gulf?

For more information on factory fish farms, click here.

Image Credit: Photo via NOAA.

About The Author

3 thoughts on “Congress Fails to Keep Dirty Factory Fish Farms Out of the Gulf”

    1. To “Dallas:;

      Yes,it appears you have that lack of knowledge and nonsense disease. You also have fear of people knowing you are evidently some sort of honesty-challenged history, and lack of genuine awareness of the advanced, fine details of intensive culture of aquatic organisms in non-polluting environs. I challenge you to advise the public of your real name and true background in advanced non-polluting aquaculture.

  1. Brian Lee Evans

    From Blue Shrimp;
    I noted that the aquaculture fish farm factories have barely started in the U.S.. I am long-time quiet consultant and pioneer in aquaculture, as inventor of the term and concept of "integrated aquaculture" (after George Chan's pioneering first work on fresh water multi-culture of pigs, agriculture, and pond culture) I a also author of "Integrated Aquaculture: An Economic Development Solution for Semi-remote Small Island Nations" written in 1985. I objected to the concept of open pen fish farming without use of waste re-use without fouling the environment. I gave some information to one of the open pen fish farming people in South America to do just that, with details. It is my opinion that including factory fish farming bans along with oil is the wrong venue for banning the factory fish projects. Separately, what needs to be done is to create a simple regulation limiting, or eliminating, waste leaving the area and the control, of the aquaculture open ocean fish farms. All of the waste can be used and turned into separate bio mass and products. That allows recovery of the costs of feed and reduces the costs of antibiotics, and problems with many other biocontaminants. The job of government is to poll the experts in the field and create a sensible demonstration project which re-uses everything except the sound of the splashing. I would be interested in assisting the government, and the industry, in the quietly assisting in creating the concept, formation, planning and/or oversight of such a project in this particular type of aquaculture.
    Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this matter,
    Brian Lee Evans–

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