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House bill threatens U.S. fisheries and oceans policy

H.R. 6966 would place floating feedlots in U.S. waterways

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) introduced a bill that would allow the Trump Administration to create a permitting scheme for industrial ocean fish farming in the United States. The bill is cosponsored by Representative Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).

H.R. 6966 is a companion to S.3138, which Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced in June. The two bills seek to place the new aquaculture program under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act — a law that has historically preserved our ocean ecosystems and protected wild fish stocks. The bills already face staunch opposition, including a broad coalition of more than 100 commercial and recreational fishing groups, indigenous populations, and consumer advocacy, farming and conservation organizations.

The bill was introduced as a legislative response – due to increased pressure from NOAA and the industry – to a recent federal court ruling that rejected NOAA’s attempts to permit industrial ocean fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hallie Templeton, Senior Oceans Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, issued the following response:

These two bills are a huge step backward for our oceans and coastal communities. H.R. 6966 and S. 3138 will allow corporations to commercialize and destroy U.S. waterways without considering the significant environmental and socio-economic impacts.

Congress must protect the ecosystems and communities that rely on our waterways and oceans, and reject attempts to legitimize these floating factory farms. We urge legislators to stop listening to NOAA and the industry, and instead listen to the growing number of citizens who want the U.S. government to safeguard our oceans and wild fisheries instead of exploiting them.

For more information on the legislation and a fact sheet setting the record straight on industry-led myths, see Friends of the Earth’s recent blog.

Communications Contact: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org

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