WASHINGTON - JUNE 29 - The following statement can be attributed to David Festa, director of the Oceans Program at Environmental Defense. Prior to joining Environmental Defense, Festa was director of policy and strategic planning at Department of Commerce working on U.S. fisheries issues among others.
“This decision by the FDA indicates the importance of getting it right when it comes to fish farming. Fish farming – or aquaculture – can ease the strain on our oceans caused by the increasing global demand for seafood. But when environmental and food safety controls are lacking, we are all at risk.
Close to 80% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, with China the largest provider of all. And this demand will only continue to grow as the health benefits of seafood are more widely recognized.
There are three steps in getting fish farming right: information, innovation and vigilance. First, consumers need to know where their seafood comes from. The USDA has a chance right now to improve requirements for Country of Origin food labeling and recently re-opened the existing rule for comment. Government and industry have great opportunities to step up. Second, innovation and technology can minimize the need for antibiotics and additives in the first place and ensure that the environmental impacts of fish farming are negligible. Finally, inspectors should improve testing protocols to keep consumers safer and provide a strong incentive for good aquaculture.
We don't need to turn our rivers, bays and seas into vast aquatic feed lots. With good aquaculture and better management of our wild fish, we can have our fish and save the environment too.”
To speak with David Festa, please contact Katharine Burnham at (202) 415-5742.
Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.