December 20, 2013
Fish Farming Can Be Conducted With Low Environmental Impact: NOAA
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A new report from NOAA's National Ocean Service reveals specific types of fish farming can be accomplished with minimal or no harm to the coastal ocean environment, provided proper planning and safeguards are in place.
Scientists at the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) assessed the environmental effects of finfish aquaculture, including such aspects as interactions with water quality, benthic habitats, and marine life across various farming practices and habitat types.
“We did this study because of concerns that putting marine finfish farms in the coastal ocean could have adverse effects on the environment,” said Dr. James Morris, NCCOS ecologist. “We found that, in cases where farms are appropriately sited and responsibly managed, impacts to the environment are minimal to non-existent.”
“This report provides coastal and farm managers with a global perspective on a range of potential environmental effects and their relative intensity,” said Dr. Michael Rubino, director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture. “It is a tool that can be used when evaluating proposed or operational farming sites and gives them a factual basis to make decisions.”
The report findings show continued development of regional best-management practices and standardized protocols for environmental monitoring are key needs for aquaculture managers. The ability to forecast immediate or long-term environmental concerns will provide confidence to coastal managers and the public as aquaculture development increases in the coastal ocean.
“This report contributes to the growing body of evidence supporting marine aquaculture as a sustainable source of safe, healthy and local seafood that supports jobs in coastal communities,” said Sam Rauch, acting assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries.