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Ocean Stewards Institute responds to FWW report "Why Offshore Fish Farming Will Not Break U.S. Dependence on Imported Seafood"

Food and Water Watch report argument builds case for the development of a sustainable, environmentally sound offshore aquaculture industry in the USA

April 10, 2008

Ocean Stewards Institute responds to FWW report "Why Offshore Fish Farming Will Not Break U.S. Dependence on Imported Seafood"

To Editor, Aquafeed.com:

Editor:

The Food and Water Watch report on "Why Offshore Fish Farming Will Not Break U.S. Dependence on Imported Seafood" (see Ocean fish farms will not eliminate seafood trade deficit, claims new Food and Water Watch report) makes an even stronger case for the development of a sustainable, environmentally sound offshore aquaculture industry in the USA as it argues against it. If FWW is concerned about cheap seafood imports of questionable quality and safety flooding our market, wouldn't they want to support a more environmentally sound way to increase domestic supplies of healthful seafood?

All the available evidence shows that open ocean aquaculture, if sited correctly and properly managed, has no measurable impact on water quality and no significant effects on the benthic community beyond the immediate area of the net pens. FWW's credibility comes into question when they claim that open ocean aquaculture "could threaten the marine environment, human health, wild fish populations, and local fishermen and coastal communities" without consideration of the successful operations currently bringing quality fish to the domestic market, who have conscientiously overcome these concerns and made these phantom threats irrelevant.  Setting a high bar for environmental standards is one of the primary objectives of this emerging industry.

The fact is, wild fish stocks are under increasing pressure world-wide, and many are on the verge of total collapse (just ask a Californian salmon troller!). This is a very real threat to local fishermen and coastal communities. Open ocean aquaculture is key to supplying growing global demand for healthful, sustainable seafood, and represents an economic opportunity for America’s fishermen and women.

Sincerely, with aloha,

Neil Anthony Sims
Board Member, Ocean Stewards Institute
President, Kona Blue Water Farms

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