Court blocks US federal aquaculture plans

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U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo halts plan that would have allowed, “for the first time, industrial aquaculture offshore in U.S. federal waters.”

A federal judge in New Orleans has thrown out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s rules for fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico, saying the agency lacked authority to make them in a set back for US aquaculture according to Associated Press.

Fishing and public interest groups
A coalition of fishing and public interest groups, represented by the non-for-profit, called the Center for Food Safety, won a lawsuit challenging the Department of Commerce’s rules that would have permitted, for the first time, industrial finfish offshore sites in U.S. waters, paving the way as salmon farms.

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Wild harvests can’t keep up with global demand
In June, a bill was introduced called the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act to facilitate the permitting process for aquaculture farms in federal waters, and fund research and development to advance the aquaculture industry.

At the time, The New National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (OAA) director Chris Oliver, said at a Q and A session in Juneau, Alaska that “wild harvests can’t keep up with global demand.”

Aquaculture is not ‘fishing’
The court action was led by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), whose legal director, George Kimbrell, said: “This is a landmark victory for protecting our oceans, for fishing communities and conservationists. Allowing industrial net-pen aquaculture and its known environmental harms in the Gulf of Mexico was a grave threat. Very simply, as the Court properly held, aquaculture is not ‘fishing.’ Such harm cannot be allowed under existing fisheries law never intended for that purpose.”

“NOAA wanted to do this sort of industrial permitting not just in the Gulf of Mexico but in the Pacific and along the Atlantic coast,” he said.