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US fishermen say offshore aquaculture will mean more 'cheap, low quality' seafood

Representatives write to Congress opposing the expansion of aquaculture in US waters.

Groups representing American fishermen wrote to the US Congress opposing the expansion of aquaculture facilities in federal waters.

Do we really want offshore aquaculture in the US?

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In a letter sent to Congress Dec. 4 last year, representatives expressed grave reservations regarding the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act, a bill that seeks to give the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) regulatory powers over the aquaculture industry in the United States exclusive economic zone.

The AQUAA bill, which was introduced in Congress last year, seeks to establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service to streamline aquaculture facilities permits, as well as help fund research and extension services for several existing aquaculture priorities.

“The presence of finfish aquaculture in marine ecosystems poses significant challenges to the prosecution of domestic wild capture fisheries,” the letter said.

“Marine finfish aquaculture pollutes the natural ecosystem, degrades and threatens wild fish stocks, and challenges the economic viability of commercial fishing. American commercial fishing and marine finfish aquaculture cannot coexist.”

The letter also expressed concerns about reduced prices due to the “flooding” of the market with “cheap, low quality farmed seafood.”

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