Congress is poised to promote “open ocean aquaculture” by either reauthorizing an important fishing law with newly weakened protections against overfishing1, or furthering a Republican scheme in the Senate that eases the way for "industrial aquaculture" in federal waters. It’s another name for factory farming in the sea rather than on land. Factory farms are just as harmful in the ocean as they are in your community.
Industrial fish farms can wreak havoc on everything around them:
- They pollute. Waste, excess food, antibiotics, and other chemicals used in factory fish farms spread to the ocean around them. This promotes algae growth and causes environmental damage.
- They spread disease. Outbreaks of diseases and parasites at factory fish farms can be catastrophic. Earlier this year, a "sea lice epidemic" hit a fish farm in Canada, potentially impacting wild salmon in addition to farmed fish.2
- The fish escape. Three million fish every year escape from aquaculture, pushing non-native species into the ecosystem.3
They think we aren’t paying attention as the summer winds down, and that this issue is too boring for people to care about.
But if allowed to continue, the plot in the Senate would make our food less safe and increase pollution in our oceans. It would disrupt the ecosystem in ways that could forever alter the balance of one of our most precious resources. It’s a lose-lose for the environment and our families, just to line the pockets of industrial fishing corporations (and the Big Ag corporations like Cargill who’d love to sell them massive amounts of soybeans as fish feed). This plan has to be stopped by committed people who care about our oceans more than money.
What You Can Do To Help
There are two things you can do to sway this battle — one of them is using our guide to purchase fish and seafood that isn’t industrial farmed. The other thing you can do right now is sign on to our letter to the Senate. It’s important that those of us with the integrity and ethics to be good stewards of our planet’s resources fight against those who would do harm to our oceans in the name of profit. Sign here to be a part of our fight to stop open ocean aquaculture.
2. Sea Lice Epidemic Overwhelms Fish Farms on Clayoquot Sound, The Tyee, May 17, 2018.
3. Fact Sheet: Open Ocean Aquaculture is Factory Farming in the Sea, Food & Water Watch, February 28, 2018.