Bi-Partisan Congressional Letter Urges Commerce Secretary to Disapprove Gulf Council Offshore Aquaculture Plan

For Immediate Release

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Marianne Cufone or Erin Greenfield (202) 683-2500

Bi-Partisan Congressional Letter Urges Commerce Secretary to Disapprove Gulf Council Offshore Aquaculture Plan

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

WASHINGTON - "Food & Water Watch commends Representative Lois Capps (CA-23),
Representative Gene Taylor (MS-4) and Representative Sam Farr (CA-17)
for leading the effort in Congress to prevent the controversial Gulf of
Mexico Fishery Management Council ocean fish farming plan from moving
forward. A bi-partisan ‘Dear Colleague' letter sent Friday urges U.S.
Department of Commerce Secretary Locke to disapprove the Council's plan
to permit ocean fish farming in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico
and work with the Congress to develop a comprehensive regulatory
program for more sustainable aquaculture. We applaud these members of
Congress for contesting the Gulf Council's offshore aquaculture plan
and urging broad innovative discussion on a more sustainable
aquaculture approach.

"The National Marine Fisheries Service and
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, both under the
U.S. Department of Commerce, have been supporting the Council's
decision since January 28, 2009, when the Council approved the plan.
The 37 members of the U.S. House of Representatives opposed to the
decision have made it clear that the Council does not have authority
under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the
primary law that governs fish in U.S. waters, to create regulations for
ocean fish farming. If approved by the Department of Commerce, the
Council's plan would set a bad precedent for a ‘piecemeal approach' in
regulating aquaculture in the United States.

"Food & Water
Watch agrees that the Gulf Council does not have jurisdiction over
ocean fish farming and shares the concern that a fragmented approach to
aquaculture regulation could result in potentially devastating
environmental consequences. We also believe offshore aquaculture could
threaten human health and the livelihoods of fishermen - serious
problems that are not just limited to one region.

"Secretary
Locke should consider the immense opposition to the Gulf Council's plan
- from not only members of Congress, but also numerous conservation,
fishermen, and consumer groups and many Gulf residents - and stop the
Gulf plan in its tracks. The answer to solving our nation's rising
seafood demand and overstressed wild fish populations does not lie in
offshore fish farming. Rather, we should be researching more innovative
aquaculture technologies, like land-based, re-circulating systems."

Click here to see the letter to Commerce Secretary Locke

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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