In 2017, there was a catastrophic epidemic of sea lice that was caused by the escape of 263,000 farmed salmon from the Cook's factory ocean farm off the coast of Washington state. According to the Center for Food Safety,
that catastrophic escape, the state banned factory fish farms that
raise nonnative fish. California and Oregon have similar bans in place
on nonnative factory fish farms in state waters, but our federal government has been trying to build factory fish farms just a few more miles off the coast in California anyway! These factory fish farms would technically exist in federal waters, but they still pose the same environmental risks to the Pacific Ocean that each state has banned!"
CFS's latest publication is reprinted here to explain the details and what we can do.
We need to let the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) know that the factory fish farm areas the agency is proposing are a very bad idea.
And in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA is proposing another area to be suitable for factory fish farms which pose the same risks to the Gulf as well as the endangered species that live in and around it.
Factory fish farms also threaten the local fishing industries that depend on the health of wild fish to survive. They are leading to the demise of our wild fishing communities by placing downward pressure on fishing prices and creating competition for limited marine space.
When asked about the area NOAA has suggested for factory fish farms off the Gulf of Mexico, Captain Casey Streeter described the project to Gulfshore Business as “setting our fisheries up for failure.”
Even though these factory fish farms are technically in federal waters, when fish inevitably escape, it’s the state and local governments that will be stuck cleaning up the consequences. A jury just awarded nearly $600,000 to the Lummi tribe for containing the salmon that escaped from Cooke’s factory fish farm, declaring the company negligent in recovery efforts. But nothing will be able to replace the sacred wild salmon runs if another escape from a factory fish farm wipes wild salmon out!
Shouldn’t our federal government respect the bans on factory fish farms that states have enacted instead of trying to sneak a few in just a few more miles off the coast?
We don’t have a fish shortage in the United States. Quite the opposite. There is no need to risk the health of our oceans, wild fishing industries, and endangered species just so that we can produce more fish, faster.