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Water-Related News

Center for Food Safety: Nationwide aquaculture permit may violate Endangered Species Act

The Center for Food Safety, working with other environmental groups, gave notice of plans to sue federal officials for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act. The focus is on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' blanket permit issued in January 2021 allowing for offshore aquaculture projects – including a demonstration project off of south Sarasota County.

“This one is a brand new nationwide permit,” said Jennifer Loda, a staff attorney with the Centers for Food Safety. “There’s never been allowances for this large-scale finfish aquaculture in federal waters.”

The notice of intent to sue, filed June 22, is required 60 days prior to suing the federal agency, noted Marianne Cufone, an environmental attorney who is also executive director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, one of seven entities that, along with the Quinault Indian Nation, have joined with the Center for Food Safety.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean all of those groups will join the litigation, it’s just preserving the right to do that,” said Cufone, who is also affiliated with another potential plaintiff, the Don’t Cage Our Oceans Coalition.