Representative Don Young submitted a bill in February that, if passed, will prohibit factory fish farming in U.S. ocean waters.
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. 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?