Projects stall after feds allow fish farming in open ocean

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Obama administration tried to give a boost to the U.S. seafood industry by allowing marine aquaculture to expand into federal waters — yet not a single offshore farm is in operation since the first permit was issued nearly two years ago.

The pioneers of offshore aquaculture say their plans have stalled or been abandoned because of the long, extensive and expensive permitting process. One permit holder has spent $1 million and not seeded any mussels off Southern California.

Some 90 percent of seafood consumed by Americans is imported. Fish and shellfish farms are limited in crowded state waters and there is no regulatory framework for aquaculture in federal waters.

Officials acknowledge the process needs streamlining.