Food & Water Watch: IntraFish Misses the Big Picture

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Marianne Cufone: 202-683-2511
Rich Bindell, 202-683-2457

Food & Water Watch: IntraFish Misses the Big Picture

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

WASHINGTON - "IntraFish absurdly accuses Food & Water Watch of lying in a press
release regarding Monterey Bay Aquarium's (MBAQ's) removal of "Kona
Kampachi" from its seafood card (February 1, "NGOs gone wild"). Author
Ben DiPietro irresponsibly reported that Food & Water Watch
claimed, "The reason the fish was removed from the popular list... was
because of environmental concerns about the farming methods and a lack
of respect for Native Hawaiian customs." IntraFish fails to see the big
picture - and misrepresented the message.

"The January 28 release
compliments MBAQ for their decision to remove the controversial ocean
farmed fish from their Seafood Watch card and highlights complaints
raised in 2009 regarding Kona Blue's operation. Food & Water Watch
"congratulates Monterey Bay Aquarium for removing Kona Blue Water
Farms' U.S. farmed yellowtail or ‘Kona Kampachi' from the aquarium's
Seafood Watch Card."

"According to the IntraFish article, MBAQ
states that it removed the fish because it has been off the market for
several months. However, MBAQ staff informed Food & Water Watch in
October 2009 that data was being collected from Kona Blue, which would
be used to review its then-current "yellow" or "good" ranking. Kona
Blue's plans to halt production were announced 11 months ago, in an article in the West Hawaii Today.

"It's
unfortunate that MBAQ has not taken credit for removing a product from
a list of its recommended seafood choices that has been repeatedly
criticized for lack of sustainability and cultural sensitivity in its
siting and production methods. Consumers who value eating sustainable
seafood should certainly applaud the decision.

"Food &
Water Watch has been very concerned by various aspects of Kona Blue's
operation for some time, and a recent FOIA request confirmed a number
of issues including documented proof from the Office of Coastal
Conservation Lands that Kona Blue has used an antibiotic that the FDA
has not generally approved for marine aquaculture to treat
streptococcus. "The State of Hawai'i also documented cases of
interference with bottle-nosed dolphins, which are attracted to cages
because of the congregated fish. The Hawai'i Department of Aquatic
Resources (DAR) noted that the animals have begun to exhibit "unnatural
behaviors."

"In light of these environmental problems and the
recent transfer of Kona Blue's Hawaii operation to a new owner, MBAQ
would have sufficient reason for removing Kona Kampachi from a list of
more sustainable seafood alternatives.

"Perhaps, MBAQ is being
diplomatic in emphasizing that the fish is off the market. Such a
well-known leader on all things seafood could take this opportunity to
publicly discuss more of the issues associated with Kona Blue Water
Farms to help inform consumers, but regardless of the reason MBAQ
states for the removal of Kona Kampachi from the Seafood Watch card,
Food & Water Watch supports it. Consumers will no longer be steered
to "Kona Kampachi" as a good seafood choice, and this is certainly a
decision to be celebrated.

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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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