Fishermen urge US Congress to oppose new open pen aquaculture legislation

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“American commercial fishing and marine finfish aquaculture cannot coexist.”

The US fishing industry is urging Congress to oppose attempts to legitimise open net pen finfish aquaculture, according to the Cordoba Times.

In September, SalmonBusiness reported that President Trump’s office had started a legistlative overhaul in federally-controlled waters. In June, the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act was introduced to facilitate the permitting process for aquaculture farms in federal waters. It also aimed to fund R&D in the aquaculture industry.

However in a letter to Congress, nation-wide commercial fishermen have vehemently opposed it. Copies of the letter were delivered to every member of Congress. It was released to news outlets by the environmental campaigners, Friends of the Earth.

Signatories of the letter include the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Southern California Trawlers Association and Wild Salmon Nation.

The industry allege that fish farms would bring prices down on seafood prices, harming wild capture markets.  “The presence of a single marine finfish farm could bar access to hundreds of acres of marine space, which would no longer be available for us to navigate or fish,” the letter said.

Furthermore “the presence of finfish aquaculture in marine ecosystems posed significant challenges to the prosecution of domestic wild capture fisheries.”

“As commercial fishermen, our livelihoods depend on good stewardship and science-based marine conservation to preserve sustainable fisheries for generations to come,” it said before adding that, “American commercial fishing and marine finfish aquaculture cannot coexist.”

Currently there are no salmon farms in US federal waters.