Markey to Commerce: Don’t Push Fish Farms at the Expense of Fishermen

Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-6065

Senior Lawmaker Airs Concerns about Offshore Aquaculture

WASHINGTON (February 6, 2013) – Today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today asked acting Secretary of Commerce Dr. Rebecca Blank to consider the potential impact of offshore aquaculture on wild fisheries before accepting a plan to permit such operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is expected to vote to approve an Offshore Aquaculture Fishery Management Plan at its meeting tomorrow. The letter sent to Commerce echoes concerns expressed by fishermen in Massachusetts and elsewhere that a hasty introduction of large scale aquaculture could threaten the recovery of wild fish stocks

“Comparing aquaculture to fisheries is like comparing apples to oranges,” said Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and Dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation. “While Massachusetts fishermen are struggling, fishery managers should help solve existing problems before taking on additional responsibilities with no additional funding.”

The full letter from Rep. Markey to acting Secretary Blank can be found HERE.

In the letter Markey also cited environmental concerns and argued that the Magnuson-Stevens Act does not authorize the permitting and regulation offshore aquaculture – the raising of fish in enclosed nets or pens more than three miles from the coast. Legislation to create a legal framework for offshore aquaculture stalled in Congress last year.

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