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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: A future in offshore aquaculture seen for N.C.  (อ่าน 2052 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: ตุลาคม 25, 2006, 10:32:33 PM »

Patricia Smith

There are already offshore aquaculture pilot projects in other states. And a federal official said this week that North Carolina could benefit from following those states’ lead.

But the government must first develop safeguards to answer environmental concerns about such operations, said Timothy Keeney, deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I’m absolutely convinced there are tremendous opportunities, both in regards to sustainable resources and economics,” said Keeney, who was in Carteret County for an event Wednesday to celebrate habitat restoration. “I think that certainly in the next five to ten years you’re going to see a commercial level of production in offshore aquaculture.”


North Carolina, along with Alaska and parts of the Gulf Coast, stand to benefit, he said.


North Carolina has not yet taken a position on offshore aquaculture, said William Ross, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


Charles Jones, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, said that about 10 years ago a New York company proposed an aquaculture operation off North Carolina.
 

“They were going to raise finfish,” Jones said. He did not recall which species.
 

Since then, he said, the issue has been relatively silent.
 

Currently more than 70 percent of all seafood consumed in America comes from other countries, and at least 40 percent of those imports are farmed seafood, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.


Seeing domestic aquaculture as an effective solution to reducing dependence on foreign seafood, the Bush administration in 2005 submitted a bill to Congress accelerate ocean aquaculture development by granting the Secretary of Commerce authority to issue permits for aquaculture operations in federal waters.
 

“By having our own domestic source, it allows us to have better control of the quality and safety of what we’re eating,” Keeney said.


However, Keeney admits that the push for industrial-sized fish farms has raised some viable concerns from many environmental groups.
 

In a 2005 press release, Environmental Defense opposed the offshore aquaculture bill and called for safeguards to protect the ocean ecosystems.
 

The group specifically pointed to the potential for waste from concentrated fish populations to flow into surrounding waters and the need to prevent farmed fish or any diseases or parasites they carry from escaping and mixing with wild fish.

 

Additionally, raising farmed fish would require feeding them, which could deplete another fish resource. And fish feedlots, on the scale envisioned, would release roughly as much nitrogen per year as the entire North Carolina swine industry, according to Environmental Defense.


Keeney said a durable pen made of Kevlar — costing about $1 million apiece — has been developed to reduce the risk of escapement. Additionally, a soy-based feed has been developed.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity for dry-land farmers,” Keeney said.

And the bill is beginning to get support from agriculture groups, he said
http://www.growfish.com.au/content.asp?ContentId=7711
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