“Future Of Fish Farming In Federal Waters At Issue In Court”

“NEW ORLEANS — The potential environmental and economic consequences posed by proposals for fish farming in federal waters dictate that Congress — not a federal agency — must decide how to regulate the industry, an attorney told a federal appeals court Monday.

At issue before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a September 2018 ruling by a federal judge who threw out National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s rules for fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico, saying Congress never gave the agency authority to make them.

An attorney for groups representing commercial and recreational fishing interests, food safety advocates and conservationists urged the three-judge appellate panel to uphold the 2018 ruling. Those groups cite numerous worries about the effect of fish farming on market prices for wild-caught fish and the effects on fishing communities, the environmental consequences of the use of antibiotics to control disease, the unpredictable genetic effects on wild, native fish stocks if farmed fish escape from farm pens and other concerns.”

Kevin McGill reports for the Associated Press January 6, 2020.