An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Protest ahead of EPA hearing on proposed offshore fish farm

Environmental groups have already raised objections to the proposal, and plan to demonstrate in Sarasota before Kampachi Farm permit hearing

SARASOTA — Environmental groups objecting to a Hawaii-based company’s plans to open the first offshore fish farm in the Gulf of Mexico about 45 miles west of Sarasota plan to demonstrate against the proposal before a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permit hearing on Tuesday [Jan. 28th].

“Lots of people don’t know that this is happening in their backyard; it’s flying under their radar,” said Hallie Templeton, senior oceans campaigner at Friends of the Earth, one of several organizers of the Tuesday demonstration outside at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, where the hearing will be held.

Kampachi Farms plans to anchor a chain-link mesh pen offshore of Southwest Florida to raise 20,000 almaco jack fish for human consumption. The fish farm is a pilot project and would not only be the first for the Gulf but also the first in federal waters in the continental United States. If it works, more are expected to follow, both here and elsewhere.

The Kampachi proposal is drawing opposition from environmental groups because they don’t want offshore fish farms to start popping up around the country that could potentially pose a threat to clean water and the fishing industry.