Proposed NOSB Standards Ensure No Ocean Farmed Organic Fish For American Consumers
“Unattainable and illogical” standards represent a “missed opportunity” said U.S. leading open ocean aquaculture company.
The recommendations approved this week by the National Organic Standards Board for net pen cultured fish to be labeled “Organic” are unattainable and illogical, according to the nation’s leading open ocean aquaculture company.
Neil Anthony Sims, President of Kona Blue Water Farms, asserts that the NOSB’s proposed requirement for recapturing 50% of nutrients in effluent from open net cages is irrelevant for open ocean aquaculture. Kona Blue grows Kona Kampachi in cages sited in deep ocean water with strong currents, which has proven to have no significant impact on water quality or ocean ecosystems.
“All of the available evidence suggests that in open ocean aquaculture there is no measurable nutrient loading in the effluent,” said Sims “If there is no impact, then what are we trying to save or preserve here?”
Sims believes Organic standards could have provided an incentive for farmers to aspire to more healthful, environmentally sound practices. “Instead,” he said, “what we have in the proposed standard has almost no connection to what happens on the farm. These standards were dreamed up by people who are opposed to fish farming, not by people who want to farm fish better.”
Despite this, Sims is encouraged by the significant progress being made elsewhere towards setting standards for sustainability certification for farmed fish. The World Wildlife Fund is about to begin a dialogue process for setting sustainability standards for several species of farmed marine finfish, including Kampachi and Cobia.
“While we are disappointed with the NOSB recommendations, we remain committed to working through a rigorous process with rational environmental groups to set viable, meaningful standards,” said Sims. “Sustainability and public health concerns cannot be addressed in a vacuum. Collaboration is key. Too bad NOSB missed this point, and missed this opportunity.”