Bush admin proposes massive U.S. aquaculture expansion

Just in time to celebrate World Oceans Day (happy WOD, by the way!), the Bush administration has unveiled a plan to open up 3.4 million square miles of U.S. coastal waters to aquaculture. Demand by hungry humans for seafood is expected to reach about 121 million tons in the next five years, even as wild ocean stocks decline; by 2030, most of that seafood will come from fish farms, the U.N. forecasts. The Bushies, smelling a market opportunity, hope to expand U.S. aquaculture from a $1 billion to a $5 billion industry and create about half a million jobs in the next two decades. The proposed legislation will now go to Congress. But some marine scientists and conservationists think it’s fishy: The plan is notably lacking in specific safeguards against known aquaculture problems like pollution and escaped domestic fish breeding with wild fish. And it includes national marine sanctuaries — “like putting industrial hog farms in national parks,” says biologist Rebecca Goldberg.