National Fisherman


The possibility of Gulf of Mexico aquaculture moved another step closer to reality this month. But the small step forward – mainly adding a few rules for the proposed fish farming – caused fishers and environmentalists to once again speak out against an idea they fear will unfairly compete against local fishers and pollute local waters.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which advises the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service on fish and fishing in the Gulf, recently approved the final draft of its proposed rule to regulating offshore Gulf marine aquaculture. After some more federal review and an expected public comment period this summer, the idea is that sometime next year businesses could begin applying for permits to establish red snapper, grouper and other finfish-farms in Gulf federal waters, which in Louisiana extend from three to 200 miles offshore.

The plan would make the Gulf the first region in the country to develop open-ocean aquaculture in federal waters, potentially reaping another 64 million pounds of seafood. The plan prohibits shrimp farming, and only allows the raising of native Gulf species.

Read the full story at Times Picayune>>

Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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