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Oceanspheres Environmental Study Accepted

Environment Post-harvest Politics +2 more

HAWAII, US A Hawaii based open ocean aquaculture company received notice from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) that its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for its Ahi Aquaculture farm off of the Big Island is acceptable under the provisions and guidelines of Hawaii state law.

Hawaii Oceanic Technology's FEIS was submitted to the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) and was published on their web site on 23 July 2009. A shortened link to the full 904 page report is:

Bill Spencer, CEO of the company said, “This is an important milestone in the process of obtaining the permit to lease a very small part of the ocean that the company needs to start producing a very large amount of Bigeye tuna.” The goal of the company is to demonstrate new fish farming technology that allows pelagic species such as tuna to be grown in deep ocean waters where constant currents and large volumes of clean water assure fish health and rapid dilution of effluents.

The company has designed a system that will have no significant impact on the ocean and surrounding environment. To do this, the company is building very large submergible fish farming platforms called “Oceanspheres” that adapt technologies from the defense, oceanographic and the offshore oil drilling industries to raise large amounts of seafood in an environmentally responsible manner,” according to Chief Technology Director, Paul Troy, Ph.D. “We are reducing the carbon footprint associated with producing seafood by using renewable energy technology and state-of the-art telecommunications techniques to maintain our Oceanspheres in very deep water away from the shoreline in geostatic position.”

When fully operational, twelve Oceanspheres will operate in 247 ocean acres producing 6,000 tons of Bigeye tuna per year. “More than 21,000 acres of land would be needed to produce the same amount of beef protein,” Spencer said. “By taking advantage of all three dimensions of the ocean, we can be more efficient while using just a tiny spec of ocean when compared to the area of the vast Pacific much less Hawaii territorial waters,” he said.

Demand for seafood protein is rising at a tremendous rate. Already aquaculture is a $70 billion dollar industry dominated by Asian countries. The United States imports 85 per cent of the seafood we consume, our second largest import next to oil. Half of what we import is foreign aquaculture product. Spencer notes that, “Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that has an ocean lease regulatory framework that allows a company like ours to lease an ocean column for the purpose of fish farming.” “Our goal is to demonstrate that you can move some types of fish farming out into deep water where larger farms can be constructed and environmental impact can be insignificant due to naturally occurring processes.”