Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act, S. 1861 or the “AQUAA Act” was introduced in the Senate on June 8th, 2023 by Senator Wicker (R-MS) with cosponsor Senator Schatz (D-HI). Its purported objective is: “to establish a regulatory system for sustainable offshore aquaculture in the United States exclusive economic zone, and for other purposes.”
In reality, it opens the floodgates to industrial fish farming and is an assault to our oceans, marine life, coastal communities and our planet.
Offshore Finfish Farming – OFF – is the mass cultivation of finfish in marine waters, in underwater or floating net pens, pods and cages. This industry has adopted the factory farming business model, which centralizes big corporation control and places profits above environmental protection, worker rights, animal welfare, and social responsibility. Offshore Finfish Farming requires huge capital investments, which is not how we build our local food systems.
AQUAA brings industrial ocean fish farms just off our coasts, all around the US, which can directly discharge untreated fish waste and other toxins right into our waters, endanger marine life, spread lethal pests and disease, compromise wild fish populations with catastrophic farmed fish spills, and jeopardize wild-caught fishing industries.
Aquaculture can play an important role as part of a sustainable food system. We should focus on supporting responsible seafood production, including encouraging more domestic seafood to be kept and sold in the U.S, promoting working waterfronts, supporting values based aquaculture, such as bivalves and seaweed, and facilitating properly scaled and sited recirculating aquaculture on land, which recycle waste and water.