Local Organization Against Fish Farming

By: Jene’ Young – WKRG.com News
     Commercial fishermen are not happy about a vote to allow fish farming — or aquaculture — in the Gulf. Aquaculture is like agriculture — but instead of animals on farm land — it deals with animals under water.
If the idea gets final approval — the Gulf of Mexico would be the first area in the United States where fish farming is legal.
     B.G. Thompson, a consultant with the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama describes what a fish farm would look like. “This would be conceivably huge nets in the Gulf offshore. And the fish would be grown in those nets to a maturity. Fed, and then pulled out to be sold on the market.”
     Ladon Swann with Auburn University’s Shellfish Lab says there is a big need for aquaculture.
“Fish farming or aquaculture is probably one of the most effecient ways in producing animal protein. As long as Americans continue to eat animal protein, whether it be chicken, beef, pork, or fish, fish farming is one of the more effective ways to do that.”
     Some say there are too many risks involved and that more research needs to be done.
The Organized Seafood Association says commercial fishing is not the only concern. Environmental impacts and cost efficiency are also big questions that haven’t been answered.
     Thompson adds there are unknown risks involved in offshore fish farms. “When you have high density of any animals be it farm animals, marine animals, the experience is that you create diseases. These diseases could be passed on to the native, wild fish. You’re polluting the waters.”
     Everyone involved agrees there is a real problem with demand growing, and the supply, in this case fish, not there to meet it.
     I spoke with Harlon Pearce with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. He voted to allow offshore fish farming. Harlon says he thinks it’s time for the Gulf Coast to compete in the global economy and doesn’t think these fish farms will harm the environment.
He says it will take several months for the Department of Commerce to vote on this plan.

203 Swingle Hall | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-4786 |
Website Feedback | Privacy | Copyright ©