A coalition of fishermen, business people and environmentalists is suing federal officials over the recent decision to allow industrial fish farming in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Feb. 12, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration opened the Gulf Aquaculture permit application for the first open-ocean commercial fish farms in Gulf federal waters after years of regulatory debate.

The Center for Food Safety and other groups filed a suit challenging the legality and consequences of NOAA regulations allowing fish farming in the Gulf.

“Offshore industrial aquaculture will cause irreparable harm to the Gulf ecosystems and coastal communities,” George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety and counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a news release after the Feb. 12 lawsuit was filed. “We need to better manage and protect our native fisheries, not adopt destructive industrial food practices that put them at risk. This lawsuit, brought by a range of concerned stakeholders, aims to halt these shortsighted plans.”

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