Congress is due to reauthorize a law that regulates fishing. The House version of the bill weakens protections against overfishing,1, but a Republican scheme in the Senate is trying ease the way for “industrial aquaculture” in federal waters.
That’s another name for factory farming, and it’s as wrong in our oceans as it is on land.
Congress could open federal waters to industrial fish farms.
Industrial fish farms can wreak havoc on everything around them:
They pollute. Waste, excess food, antibiotics, and other chemicals used in factory fish farms spread to the ocean around them. This promotes algae growth and causes environmental damage.
They spread disease. Outbreaks of diseases and parasites at factory fish farms can be catastrophic. Earlier this year, a “sea lice epidemic” hit a fish farm in Canada, potentially impacting wild salmon in addition to farmed fish.2
The fish escape. Three million fish every year escape from aquaculture, pushing non-native species into the ecosystem.3
Despite lots of hype from agribusiness and fish farming companies, it’s clear that factory fish farms solve zero problems but create many new ones. Allowing open ocean aquaculture in U.S. waters would make our food less safe and damage our oceans.
We can’t let this threat to our food system get off the ground.
The Senate have a busy schedule for the rest of the summer. A wonky policy issue like this is the kind of thing they’d like to check off their list without a fight. They won’t be expecting their constituents to raise a fuss about this issue — and that’s why it’s important that we speak out.