“More Questions Than Answers” in Federal Water Fish Farms

Murkowski Concerned About Proposal, May Push Back on Poor Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Obama Administration recently announced plans to create policy that allows fish farms in federal waters, in an attempt to cut the nation’s dependence on imported fish.  Today, Senator Murkowski responded with serious reservations:

“While I recognize the motivation to increase aquaculture production in the United States, NOAA’s new Marine Aquaculture policy raises far more questions than answers. My first question would be whether NOAA even has the jurisdiction to do this. Beyond that, can they provide the oversight this policy requires, involve the public and do a thorough environmental review.

“I am strongly supportive of the expansion of shellfish farming in Alaska, but farming of salmon, halibut and other finfish is prohibited in our state waters for a number of reasons.  Any attempt to develop this industry in neighboring federal waters will be opposed.  While NOAA seems to have a rough idea of some potential environmental drawbacks, there are also the financial ones that should be considered – namely what expanded fisheries would do to the Alaskan economy, which provides the majority of seafood to the United States.

“Congress will play a key role in consulting and proceeding with any implementation of this policy. I look forward to working with NOAA officials, hearing their answers to my questions and pushing back if they don’t advance a sensible policy.”