Press Releases

Below please find published press releases and statements:

Broad coalition applauds new bill banning industrial ocean fish farms

Congressman Don Young’s “Keep Fin Fish Free Act” protects oceans from floating factory farms

WASHINGTON, May 2 2019 — A broad coalition of groups, including the Recirculating Farms Coalition and Friends of the Earth, applaud a new bill, the Keep Fin Fish Free Act (H.R. 2467), introduced by U.S. Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska). It places a moratorium on commercial permitting of marine finfish aquaculture facilities in federally controlled areas of the ocean, unless Congress specifically passes a law to allow it. These facilities routinely cause massive farmed fish spills – like in August 2017 of an estimated 260,000 non-native Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound – which threaten wild fish by spreading pests and disease, and increasing competition for food, habitat, and reproduction. Facilities can also directly discharge a slew of pollutants like untreated fish waste and chemicals; attract and entangle marine mammals and seabirds; and harm wild-capture fisheries and coastal economies.

The much-needed legislation comes at a time in which the Trump Administration is prioritizing expansion of this unnecessary and destructive industry in U.S. waters. Groups issued the following statements:

“This legislation will help protect our oceans and communities from industrial ocean fish farming,” said Hallie Templeton, Senior Oceans Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “NOAA is pushing to permit this disastrous industry at the expense of the environment and coastal communities, and has no authority to do so. We applaud Congressman Young for fighting against floating factory farms and protecting our waterways and wild fish stocks.”

"The United States is simply not prepared to manage offshore net pen finfish aquaculture in the Exclusive Economic Zone,” said Noah Oppenheim, Executive Director of Institute for Fisheries Resources. “Without the relevant legal mandates and adequate environmental and economic scoping, Interior and Commerce are managing offshore fish farms in a legal gray area, enabling significant harm to wild capture fisheries and West Coast fishing communities. Thank you Congressman Young for introducing this sensible bill."

"Factory farms have no place in the ocean or on land,” said Shannon Eldredge, Board President for the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. “NAMA supports the Keep Fin Fish Free Act because raising fish in massive cages in federal waters is completely against the public interest and will not solve our food system crisis. These large-scale operations are toxic and harmful to human health, the environment and our fishing industry.” 

“We cannot allow massive factory fish farms into federal waters, but we know that agribusiness giants are working hard to do just that,” said Wenonah Haunter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. “This bill would protect our federal waters from factory fish farms and make sure that our public ocean resources are not given away to another polluting industry.”

“Factory fish farms threaten our food security and the health of our oceans. The environmental risks are almost too numerous to mention: disease transfer to wild fish, more antibiotics in our waterways, the depletion of important forage fish species, increased nutrient pollution in areas already prone to algae blooms, and more,” said Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director of Healthy Gulf. “Industrial fish farming is also an inefficient practice that produces expensive and poor-quality fish. It replaces fisherman-owned small businesses with capital-intensive corporations. If we instead focus on taking care of our oceans, we can continue to enjoy one of nature’s last renewable and abundant sources of food: wild fish.”

"I’ve been growing soybeans in Iowa for 42 years.  Agribusinesses claim that aquaculture will increase demand for soybeans which will boost prices and, thus, be good for family farmers,” says George Naylor, Former President of the National Family Farm Coalition. “The truth is family farmers are stuck in a system where global supply will always outstrip demand.  Soybeans from around the world are already used to feed hogs, cattle, and chickens in unsustainable factory farms.  It would be a shame to add fish to this unhappy picture."

“Globally, marine water fin fish aquaculture is associated with too many problems. That is why more than ten years ago, Congress rejected multiple bills to permit this industry in U.S. waters,” said Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition. “Responsible fin fish farming has moved out of the ocean, to better protect wildlife, habitat, and coastal communities. It makes no sense that our current administration keeps trying to develop the industry under laws not meant to regulate aquaculture. More sustainable alternatives, like land-based recirculating fish farms, are the smart path forward, if the U.S. wants to supplement wild caught seafood. This bill sends an important message.”

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CONTACT: Erin Jensen, Friends of the Earth (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org

Click here to access press release document.

Other Releases and Statements

January 8, 2019 — Groups Celebrate Support for Urban and Innovative Agriculture in New Farm Bill — National

September 26, 2018 — Court Stops Industrial Fish Farms in the Gulf of Mexico — National

February 16, 2016 — Fishing and Public Interest Groups Sue Feds On New Rules Allowing Industrial Offshore Aquaculture — National

January 13, 2016 — National and Local Groups Oppose Industrial Fish Farming Regulations — National

November 20, 2015 – Recirculating Farms Coalition Denounces FDA Approval of Genetically Modified Salmon for Human Consumption – National

October 6, 2015 – Recirculating Farms Coalition Celebrates National Farm-to-School Month! – Louisiana

September 2, 2015 – USDA Appoints Recirculating Farms Coalition Executive Director to Special Task Force – National

August 29, 2015 – Volunteers Do Community Service With Recirculating Farms Coalition In Commemoration of 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina – Louisiana

May 15, 2015 – Proposed Farm to School Laws Continue Move Forward in Louisiana – Louisiana

May 1, 2015 – Farm to School Law Moves Forward in Louisiana – Louisiana

April 22, 2015 – For Earth Day, Innovative Farming Group Announces Series of Free “Sustainable Farming” Classes — National

April 1, 2015 – Gulf Fisheries Plan for Menhaden Fails to Address Critical Issues – Gulf of Mexico

February 2, 2015 – Recirculating Farms Coalition Awarded Grant to Train and Mentor New and Beginning Farmers; USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden Makes Announcement in New Orleans – National

February 5, 2014 – Statement of Executive Director, Marianne Cufone, on Congress Passage of the 2014 Farm Bill – National

November 6, 2013 – City of New Orleans Celebrates Groundbreaking of Innovative Urban Farm – Growing local NOLA – National

October 29, 2013 – Statement of Executive Director Marianne Cufone, Recirculating Farms Coalition on 9th Circuit Appellate Decision – National

August 13, 2013 – Backyard Gardeners Network, Recirculating Farms Coalition Host Community Day In Lower 9th Ward – Louisiana

February 8, 2013 – Open Ocean Aquaculture Would Harm the Gulf of Mexico: Statement by Marianne Cufone – National

October 22, 2012 – Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Announces Partnership to Build Growing Local NOLA – National

September 24, 2012 – Unique Training Program Will Support New and Beginning Urban Farmers National

August 23, 2012 – Recirculating Farms Coalition, New Orleans Food & Farm Network to Build Innovative Urban Food and Farm Center – National

August 8, 2012 – Recirculating Farms Help Florida Families Eat Healthy During Tough Economy – Florida

July 16, 2012 – Recirculating Farms Coalition Urges Congress to Improve Farm Bill – National

June 1, 2012 – Recirculating Farms Help New Orleans Eat Local – Louisiana

April 20, 2012 – Recirculating Farms Coalition Creates First Interactive Map Of U.S. Commercial Water Farms – Helps Consumers Find Fresh Local Food To Celebrate Earth Day – National

February 9, 2012 – AMPS Builds New Orleans’ 1st “Aeroponic” Recirculating Farm, Demonstrates Sustainable Urban Agriculture – National 

October 3, 2011 – New Orleans “Worst food desert in U.S.” and “Best City in America for Foodies” – Louisiana

September 15, 2011 – U.S. Food and Jobs Crises Spawn New Nationwide Farming Coalition – National 

September 15, 2011 – U.S. Food and Jobs Crises Spawn New Nationwide Farming Coalition – California

September 15, 2011 – U.S. Food and Jobs Crises Spawn New Nationwide Farming Coalition – Louisiana

September 15, 2011 – U.S. Food and Jobs Crises Spawn New Nationwide Farming Coalition – New York

September 15, 2011 – U.S. Food and Jobs Crises Spawn New Nationwide Farming Coalition – Texas

September 15, 2011 – U.S. Food and Jobs Crises Spawn New Nationwide Farming Coalition – Wisconsin