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Open Ocean Bill does not Address Salmon Industry Concerns

US - Andrea Kavanagh, Director of the Pure Salmon Campaign, reports that Congressman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has introduced a National Offshore Aquaculture Act. Produced at the request of the Bush administration as part of its Open-Ocean Aquaculture Bill.

In a statement released to industry Mr Kavanagh says that the bill would allow fish farmers to establish farms in ocean waters from three to 200 miles offshore. However, it does not cover the threats posed by fish escaping, disease and health issues and the consequences of marine mammal deaths

"Recent reports from fish farms in Canada, Chile and Norway highlight these dangers and provide further support for raising farmed fish in systems that separate them from the marine environment.

Background

Within the past few weeks, it has been reported that sea lice have overrun several Chilean fish farms and forced some companies to abandon their farms and move to new sites. Also, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries revealed that one million fish escaped from open-net pens in 2006 which cost the companies $7 million. And in Canada last week, Creative Salmon announced that 51 California sea lions were found drowned in nets that surrounded a single farm.

"The administration tried this once before and failed. This time, they've changed the paint job, but the bill's still a lemon, said Mr Kavanagh.

He beleives that the US administration should be working harder to stop overfishing and help rebuild wild fish populations, rather than supporting an increase in intensive aquaculture.

The Pure Salmon Campaign is a global project of the National Environmental Trust. It has partners in the United States, Canada, Europe and Chile all working to improve the way salmon is produced. For more information, go to http://www.puresalmon.org.

the Fish Site Editor

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