We Want To:

Stop Bad Legislation In Congress

In 2018, the AQUAA Act (H.R. 6966/S.3138) was introduced in Congress, which would allow industrial ocean fish farms in federal waterways. Thanks to our efforts, the bill did not advance. Unfortunately, Congress is gearing up for a reintroduction. But we are mobilizing again to stop this bad legislation from ever becoming law.

Stop Unauthorized Permitting

Federal agencies are prioritizing the growth of this harmful industry and are trying to permit these dangerous facilities without congressional approval. We support the Keep Finfish Free Act (H.R. 2467), which would stop the federal government from permitting commercial industrial ocean fish farms unless Congress expressly authorizes it.

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What is Industrial Ocean Fish Farming?

Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic plants and other marine life like oysters, seaweed and finfish. Some methods of aquaculture can be beneficial. However, a destructive form of aquaculture is being promoted by U.S. agencies and could soon take over our oceans. 

Sometimes referred to as open ocean or marine aquaculture, industrial ocean fish farming is the mass cultivation of finfish in the ocean in underwater or floating net pens, pods and cages. These facilities are essentially factory farms in water that significantly harm public health, the environment and the people, industries and economies which rely on the ocean and its resources. 

Other countries like Denmark and Canada have experienced countless harms from industrial ocean fish farming, and are now moving away from the industry. Net pens discharge untreated fish waste and chemicals, like pharmaceuticals, directly into the ocean. These pens are packed with finfish and can become a breeding ground for parasites like sea lice and fatal diseases. In response, industrial farms use pesticides and agricultural drugs, which further pollute the ocean and affect nearby marine life. These facilities routinely have massive escapes of farmed fish, which threaten the health of wild fish. Large-scale fish farms attract predators, seabirds and other wildlife that can get entangled and die in the nets. Around the world, the industry has adopted the factory farming business model, which centralizes corporate control and places profits above environmental protection, humane conditions and animal welfare, and social responsibility. These operations also impose an unsafe work environment and push out small-scale producers.

If we allow mega-corporations to take over our oceans with massive fish farms, fishing communities, responsible seafood producers and many others will suffer. Join our fight to keep our oceans free from industrial fish farms! Don’t cage our ocean!

Coalition Members

Latest News

Coalition Appeals EPA Permit Allowing Industrial Wastewater from Fish Farm in Gulf of Mexico

SARASOTA, FL —  The Don’t Cage Our Ocean Coalition joined together today with local and regional partners to file an appeal against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pollution discharge permit for Velella Epsilon, an industrial finfish aquaculture facility vying for construction permits in federal waters off of Sarasota, Florida. The EPA’s permit will allow the facility to dump untreated wastewater directly into the surrounding ecosystems.

Groups filing the appeal, which include Center for Food Safety, Recirculating Farms Coalition, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Healthy Gulf, Suncoast Waterkeeper, and Tampa Bay Waterkeeper, argue that the permit violates the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).


Senators Advance Controversial Aquaculture Bill, Threatening Coastal Economies and Ecosystems

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senators Roger Wicker (R-MO), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have introduced Senate Bill 4723, which would pave the way for the federal government to permit offshore, industrial finfish farming facilities.

This form of aquaculture uses giant floating net pens and cages that allow pollution to flow freely into open waters, damaging marine ecosystems and thus harming the local fishermen and coastal economies that depend on them.


Federal Government Steps Forward On Approving Harmful Aquaculture Facility Off San Diego, CA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) yesterday announced its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Pacific Ocean AquaFarms facility off the coast of San Diego, CA, bringing this risky project one step closer to reality. This announcement follows the agency’s recent decision to designate federal waters in Southern California and the Gulf of Mexico as Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOAs), a move toward pre-approval of these AOAs for aquaculture development with little review or oversight.


Two federal agencies rush industrial aquaculture development, threatening fishing, communities, and ecosystems

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will move to designate federal waters off Southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico as “Aquaculture Opportunity Areas” (AOA). Areas designated as AOAs have been pre-approved for expansion of industrial aquaculture facilities, as dictated in President Trump’s May 2020 Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth.


Trump is exploiting a crisis to industrialize our oceans

The federal government continues to take full advantage of an unprecedented time for America to push forward controversial and shameful corporate agendas. As we face uncertainty in all aspects of life, from physical and mental health to the economic crisis and ongoing racial injustice occurring across the country, it is nothing less than unethical for the government to maintain any sort of ‘business as usual’ attitude toward legitimizing offshore aquaculture in the U.S.


Trump Exploits COVID-19 Crisis to Advance Corporate Aquaculture Agenda

Today, amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the White House issued a controversial Executive Order to streamline offshore aquaculture permitting and gut other protective regulatory processes. The move threatens our ocean ecosystem, local fishing communities and coastal economies.

The Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth mandates federal agencies to craft a program for rapid authorization of industrial offshore aquaculture facilities, which use giant floating cages to cultivate finfish, allowing toxic pollution to flow into open waters.


WhyHunger Podcast: Don’t Cage Our Ocean

In honor of Earth Day, our latest episode has us speaking with fellow member of the Don’t Cage Our Ocean Coalition, Hallie Templeton on behalf of Friends of the Earth, on protecting our food and waterways from the impact of industrial aquaculture & how you can get involved.


House Bill Would Carve Oceans into Floating Factory Fish Farms

AQUAA Act paves the way for industrialization of marine waters, threatens local fishing businesses and ecosystems

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) has introduced a bill that would authorize the federal government to issue permits for industrial ocean finfish farms. These facilities would use giant floating cages to cultivate fish in ocean waters all around the U.S. coast. Chemicals, diseases and untreated waste from these farms flow into the open ocean and pose environmental hazards and health risks to people and wildlife and threaten the livelihood of local fishermen and coastal communities.

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