Nature and Environment

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Revised Bill Opens Gulf to More Pollution

7/29/2010 4:17:41 PM

Tags: industrial fish farming, Gulf of Mexico, CLEAR Act, environmental legislation

As the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico passes the 100-day mark, Congress is set to vote on the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2009, a bill designed to promote clean energy and increase safety standards for offshore drilling and other aquatic industries, as well as instituting a Gulf restoration program. However, the non-profit sustainable food organization Food & Water Watch reports that Democratic leaders have relented to political pressure and have removed provisions of the bill which would ban the practice of offshore aquaculture, or industrial fish farming, in the Gulf.

Industrial fish farming is a mass-production method which involves keeping fish in floating cages or pens in open waters, where they eat, excrete and grow in crowded conditions, which like land-based industrial farming, would create the need for chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics which are harmful to consumers as well as the environment. Offshore aquaculture is more prevalent overseas, where it's controversial because of the ecological and socioeconomic damage it has caused. Currently there are no industrial fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico, but some companies are lobbying for permission to enter there.

The expansion of offshore aquaculture has become a little-known yet serious environmental threat over the past decade, and the CLEAR Act was intended to ban or regulate practices which may damage the environment while also promoting more accountable industry. If this revised bill passes, industrial fish farming stands to profit from an area that has already seen enough environmental damage in the past few months.

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7/31/2010 10:04:25 PM
We obsolutely don't need or want any industrial fish farm in the Gulf of Mexico. The Oil industry has been wrecking our environment for 50 years and this oil spill won't change a thing. Anyone who has ever been to our coast can see for themselves how the oil and gas industry does business and the lame excuse that a few benefit from a job is not worth it. It's high time we look at decreasing the population instead of further exploitation of the limited resourses we have. The rich are the only ones who would benefit from the farming and as you can clearly see, the politicians only respresent private enterprise while the people of La get the shaft. I am so tired of our corrupted political system. We have been led down this path of unsustainability for a hundred years now. We seriously need to re-think the value(our) environment holds for all of us, not just the greedy rich. No one has the right to have these farms in public waters and no industry has the right to destroy our environment for profit. It is out right theft, of the common, to continue to destroy what used to sustain a resonable happy, healthy,lesser population of people.

t brandt
7/29/2010 8:56:22 PM
It seems once again MEN's editorial staff has published a one-sided, emotional arguement that chooses a postion before examining both sides of the issue. This treatment of the problem presents both sides: We need new sources of food to supply an increasing world population. Demand for fish has already depleted many natural fisheries. We do need to attend to problems created by technology, but we shouldn't regulate (or vote) from a position of ignorance.

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