Ocean fish farm proposed off U.S. east coast

Portsmouth, New Hampshire –

A New Hampshire group hopes to become the first company to introduce offshore farming into the waters off New England by farming salmon and trout in open-ocean pens miles from land, but critics say We fear that this plan may harm the environment.

The majority of U.S. aquaculture is the practice of raising and harvesting fish in controlled environments, either in coastal waters or in tanks and ponds on land. , New Hampshire-based Blue Water Fisheries hopes to deploy 40 dive fish pens on a total of about one square mile of water at two sites about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) from Newburyport, Massachusetts. I’m here.

The farm will farm millions of pounds of Atlantic salmon and steelhead trout, two popular species of seafood, documents said. The proposal will require a series of approvals and will be the first outside of the East Coast.

Hawaii was the first US state to allow commercial open-sea aquaculture operations. Proponents of fish farms tout them as a new method of sustainable fish farming, but environmental groups have expressed concerns about the project’s potential for pollution and releasing invasive species.California and Other offshore aquaculture projects have been proposed in Florida waters.

The New England company hasn’t said much about its plans. Scott Flood, who is listed as a representative for Blue Water Fisheries in the document, declined to comment on the project. Other representatives of the company did not call for comment.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working with Bluewater Fisheries and other federal agencies on the regulatory and approval process, said agency spokesperson Alison Ferreira. The company requires approval from NOAA and the US Environmental Protection Agency, among other approvals.

A key step in the approval process for Blue Water Fisheries is the preparation of an environmental impact statement, according to Ferreria. There is no timeline for that process yet, she said.

The aquaculture project will include pens submerged about 15 meters (49 feet) below the surface in about 80 meters (262 feet) of water, federal documents say. The project will produce “up to £25.6 million per year in a combination of steelhead trout and Atlantic salmon,” documents said.

The project also includes suggestions for aquaculture of lumpfish, a fish species that can be used to control parasites.

Atlantic salmon are already being farmed in cages in New England, with fish giant Cook Aquaculture farming fish off the coast of Maine. However, these operations are located in coastal areas.

Projects involving offshore farming of Atlantic salmon are likely to attract the attention of conservation groups. Because salmon are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. This is because it can be exposed to It also warns about the spread of parasites and the spread of disease.

Conservation groups also say fish farms are bad for the environment, due to contamination from antibiotics and pesticides commonly used in fish farms.

Fish farming also has its proponents, who argue that popular seafood farming can help reduce the pressure on wild fish to catch them.

The New Hampshire group’s project raises a potential alarm about the potential escape of fish, said John Burroughs, executive director of U.S. operations for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, a conservation group. Using net pens away from coastal operations “significantly increases the likelihood of storm damage and escape by predators, which can go undetected for several days,” Burroughs said.

The national group against ocean farming, Don’t Cage Our Oceans, is also monitoring the project, said Andrianna Natsoulas, the coalition’s campaign director.

Burroughs said, “This is very problematic, especially at the scale of this proposed operation, which is fully constructed.

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