Farming the sea

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
27 April 2006, at 1:00am

US - California is poised to surpass the federal government with an important environmental regulation. In this case, the issue is aquaculture, the farming of the sea with pen fish, frequently salmon. More fish farming is in the world's future. The key will be breeding those populations without harming the wild, fragile world on the other side of the pens. It isn't easy. And it won't be easier if governments take wildly different approaches to regulation. The Pacific is actually three oceans. California gets to regulate what happens up to three miles from shore. The federal government gets to regulate what happens from this three-mile boundary out to 200 miles. Beyond that, the ocean is considered international waters. The concept that the Pacific is three oceans is not lost on the aquaculture industry. If regulations in one the three "oceans" are more lax, for business reasons the industry may drift in that direction. For government and ecosystem management purposes, it's important to regulate this industry in a sensible, sustainable way. Aquaculture can supplement what nature provides. The downside is that aquaculture can harm nature. Fish, diseased from living in cramped pens, can escape and infect wild populations. If fish raised in the farms are genetically altered to grow faster or resist diseases, what happens if they mingle in the wild? Source: Mercury News