Industrial Ocean Fish Farming

Millions of Americans eat seafood in an attempt to consume healthier, more environmentally conscious meals. But what they don’t realize is that over half of the seafood we consume is farmed – the bulk of which is produced by industrial ocean fish farms that are fraught with environmental and social problems.

Industrial ocean fish farming – also known as open ocean or offshore marine aquaculture – is the mass breeding, rearing, and harvesting of seafood in net pens, pods, and cages. These are essentially underwater factory farms in our ocean, with devastating environmental and socio-economic impacts.

Friends of the Earth seeks to:

  • Shift the focus away from mainstream, industrial seafood production, and toward truly sustainable farming and wild fishing practices
  • Develop federal and state policies for sustainable aquaculture practices that exclude industrial ocean fish farming
  • Launch a market transformation for truly sustainable seafood


Latest News See All
Cooke Aquaculture Secures Permit to Stock Risky Washington Fish Farm

Despite ongoing litigation and timing questions regarding the lease for the facility, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has granted fish farming giant Cooke Aquaculture a permit to stock its Hope Island facility in-water net pens with steelhead.

Lawsuit Launched Over Army Corps’ Failure to Protect Endangered Wildlife From Nationwide Permit Program

These Nationwide Permits allow streamlined permitting for a range of dirty industries, from oil and gas pipelines to offshore aquaculture, all without fulfilling mandated environmental reviews and consultations.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Issues Nationwide Permit for Industrial Finfish Facilities in Federal Waters, Risking Ecosystems and Livelihoods

Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a nationwide permit facilitating the rapid development and construction of large-scale commercial finfish aquaculture facilities in federal waters, among other major industries. 

Impact Stories See All
Banning Industrial Ocean Fish Farming in Washington state
Banning Industrial Ocean Fish Farming in Washington state

In early March 2018, Washington’s state legislature passed House Bill 2957—a bill that bans all future industrial net pen operations by 2022. This bill should send a message to the aquaculture industry that its time is up.

Latest Blog Posts See All
Trump is exploiting a crisis to industrialize our oceans
Trump is exploiting a crisis to industrialize our oceans

The federal government continues to take full advantage of an unprecedented time for America to push forward controversial and shameful corporate agendas.

International examples offer US a blueprint for aquaculture regulation in 2020
International examples offer US a blueprint for aquaculture regulation in 2020

For many years, powerful corporations, assisted by the very U.S. agencies tasked with protecting and managing our ocean resources, have collectively been pushing for development of industrialized fish farms off the coasts of our shoreline communities.

Your tax dollars at work: The Trump administration just created a map showing mega-corporations where they should industrialize the ocean next
Your tax dollars at work: The Trump administration just created a map showing mega-corporations where they should industrialize the ocean next

Our oceans are home to important and endangered marine species, and shouldn’t be treated as mere uncharted areas for mega-corporations to industrialize.

Resources See All
  • Keep Finfish Free Act Fact Sheet
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  • Letter to President-Elect Biden on Industrial Fish Farming Executive Order
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  • US Army Corps of Engineers Sign-On Letter Regarding COVID-19
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