Industrial Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico

CSE and its partner Redefining Progress submitted comments in opposition of a major expansion of unsustainable aquaculture operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal government and states are now considering opening up the entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to aquaculture, or fish farming. The Gulf of Mexico and California are among the first regions targeted. Last fall, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS). While there are many types of low-impact aquaculture operations, the operations contemplated by the DPEIS include high trophic level carnivorous species that consume many times their weight in feed taken from wild fish stocks, pose additional risks to wild stocks through genetic contamination and disease, generate significant water pollution, and adversely affect a wide range of ecosystem services provided by healthy marine habitats.