Alaska's fishermen oppose federal backing for fish farms

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
14 March 2007, at 12:00am

ALASKA - Commercial fishermen in Alaska are opposing the Bush administration's proposal to support offshore fish farming, one of the root causes for the weakening of the state's salmon fishery.

Bob Thorstenson is president of United Fishermen of Alaska. He says that subsidized fish farms are going to compete with Alaska's product and that the group opposes fish farms --quote-- "anytime, anywhere, any place." The plan introduced this week by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez would let companies operate fish farms three miles to 200 miles offshore, but without some of the rules on size, season and harvest methods that apply to other commercial fishermen. The administration wants Congress to pass legislation that would let the Commerce Department issue 20-year permits to companies that raise fish in deep ocean waters.

Gutierrez said earlier this week that the plan would help the one billion dollar U.S. aquaculture industry roughly double over the next few decades. Overseas fish farming brought down the price of salmon in the 1990s. It has taken several years and thousands of dollars in marketing to coax the market back.

Source: KTVA 11