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

Water-Related News

Residents weigh in on proposed fish farm off Sarasota coast

The project would allow Kampachi Farms to place 20,000 Almaco jack in a pen suspended in the Gulf of Mexico.

Red tide fears led the discussion as hundreds of Florida residents gathered at Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium on Tuesday night [Jan. 28th] to express support or disdain for a fish farm proposed to be assembled and run off the Sarasota coast in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Hawaii-based company, Kampachi Farms, wants to host 20,000 almaco jack in a pen suspended below the Gulf of Mexico. To do so, it would need a permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA held a hearing on the topic, attracting more than 100 people and 60 registered speakers. Most of them opposed the project.

The project would place a pen about 45 miles southwest of Sarasota and produce a maximum annual harvest of 88,000 pounds, according to the permit draft. If approved, it would be the first finfish aquaculture project in the Gulf of Mexico and the first in federal waters in the contiguous United States.

Many residents expressed concerns that project would upset the Gulf ecosystem and pave the way for future farms by setting a precedent.