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Reply #4: Update: Report of meeting in St. Pete last night on large-scale fish farming in the Gulf [View All]

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-11-07 08:58 AM
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4. Update: Report of meeting in St. Pete last night on large-scale fish farming in the Gulf
Unlikely allies oppose gulf fish farming

By STEPHEN NOHLGREN
December 11, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - From pollution, to hurricanes to animal cruelty, federal regulators got an earful Monday night from people worried about offshore fish farming in the Gulf of Mexico.

.....

A public hearing Monday night, however, created a rare scene in fish-policy circles: About 70 commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, environmentalists and just plain citizens - who are often adversaries - cheered each other on for a mutual cause.

They almost all hate the idea.

"This seems counterproductive to what we are trying to do with coastal pollution from the land. Now you are talking about putting it out in the ocean," said Cathy Harrelson of the Suncoast Sierra Club. "It's kind of like an IV. It goes straight in."

.....

Though fish waste, excess feed and veterinary medicines have degraded water in some near-shore farms, like the salmon industry, regulators have said that aquaculture cages off Florida probably would be submerged 20 to 50 miles offshore. Currents would disperse any pollutants.
Though the proposed rules would forbid nonnative species, speakers wondered what would happen if thousands of fish bred from the same parents got out of their cages. "We live in the hurricane capital of the world," said Sal Versaggi, a Tampa shrimp processor. "What's going to happen to those pens in a hurricane? There is going to be escapement. What will happen with our wild stocks?"

Modern mariculture cages, about the size of four-bedroom houses, might hold 7,000 to 10,000 fish.

.....

"This is not a mom-and-pop operation," said University of South Florida biologist John Ogden. "This is a major industrial operation and should be treated as such."
Though the proposed rules would eventually set standards for genetic diversity, health conditions and environmental monitoring, scientists don't know enough about the gulf's bottom, currents and creatures to keep proper tabs, Ogden said.

.....

"This is going on in China. This is going on Mexico. If we don't put in regulations, it's going to be happening somewhere else," ( Melissa Thompson of the Institute for Biomedical Philosophy) said.



(What is THAT supposed to mean?? Just because China and Mexico do it, we must also? For crying out loud, give us a break.)



The management council may vote on the regulations at its next meeting in January, which will be held in St. Petersburg.
"There should be causes for concern. It's a new and untried area," said council member Bob Gill, a commercial fisherman from Crystal River who chaired the hearing.
"What the council is trying to do is define what is okay and what is not okay before someone comes in and wants to try it."



This is a foot in the door to behemoth corporations to steamroll in for profit, at the expense of our waters, our coastline and our local fishing industry. And that doesn't include the unintended consequences as yet unforeseen.

This must be opposed.

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