Food & Water Watch has filed an appeal in its case challenging the legality of Kona Blue Water Farms’ Velella aquaculture project in federal waters off of Hawaii.
This means the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will review the federal district court’s decision to allow the permit.
Food & Water Watch claims aquaculture facilities should not be permitted in federal waters.
Food & Water Watch and KAHEA filed a suit against NMFS in August 2011 for issuing what it considers an illegal fishing permit for Kona Blue Water Farms’ aquaculture project. The suit contends the federal government lacked the authority to grant the permit and failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of the offshore aquaculture operations, as is required under federal law.
NMFS contended it could issue the permit under the federal fishery law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery, Conservation, and Management Act, which defines the term ‘fishing’ to also include ‘harvesting.’
In her ruling last May, U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway approved NMFS’s issuance of a ‘fishing’ permit to the aquaculture facility. The court found the issuance of the permit reasonable because ‘the project involved the growing and gathering a ‘crop’ of almaco jack to sell for human consumption.’
In filing their appeal, Food & Water Watch and KAHEA are now asking the Ninth Circuit to review the validity of the district court’s decision.