The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Marianne Cufone or Erin Greenfield (202) 683-2500

Consumer Group Commends Legislation to Stop MMS "Rigs to Fish Farms" Plan in Its Tracks

Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch Executive Director


"Food & Water Watch applauds and strongly supports Representative
Young (R-AK) for introducing legislation that would prevent the U.S.
Minerals Management Service (MMS) and other Department of Interior
agencies from approving currently pending rules to open federal ocean
waters to industrial fish farming. This new bill re-affirms Food &
Water Watch's long time position - that MMS does not have the expertise
nor the authority to permit a new big industry like ocean fish farming.

"Our organization has always opposed the MMS plan to allow
ocean aquaculture - a plan that recently was also widely criticized by
many members of Congress. H.R. 7109 follows on the heels of a
bi-partisan letter sent to MMS by Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chair
of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee,
Congresswoman Madeline Z. Bordallo (D-Guam), Chair of the Natural
Resources Committee's Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans Subcommittee, and
12 other members, that stated MMS does not have the legal authority, or
the necessary expertise, to permit fish farms to operate in federal
waters using energy companies' oil rigs or other energy facilities.

have been several proposed federal bills to promote ocean fish farming
in recent years, and to date, Congress has refused to approve them due
to, lack of sufficient safeguards to protect the marine environment and
economies of coastal communities, among other reasons. This MMS
proposal is a back door way to allow a potentially very problematic
industry to develop. Now, Congress members are questioning why MMS is
trying to do an end-run around their legislative authority and decided
to take action to stop it.

"We commend House members for
showing strong leadership on this issue, and encourage MMS to pay heed
to the growing backlash against their 'energy facilities to fish farms'
rule. MMS should immediately end any plans to finalize the portion of
their rule that would allow industrial fish farming in federal waters."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

(202) 683-2500