Test Fish Farm Planned for the Gulf of Mexico

Jan. 2, 2020

There is a test Fish Farm planned for the Gulf of Mexico.  The EPA will hold a public hearing on Jan. 28th at 5:30 pm at Mote Marine on the approval of this test fish farm. The purpose of this public hearing is to receive your comments. If you are planning to attend the EPA hearing at Mote (see details below) to learn more about this project or to speak, you will need to register.

The EPA encourages you to pre-register at least 72 hours in advance. You may also register to speak when you pre-register or when you arrive at the hearing.  Pre-registration website:

https://projects.erg.com/conferences/npdes/register-publichearing.html

The public comment period will be open through February 4, 2020.  The pre-registration website has information on how to submit comments.

The Kampachi Farms LLC is planning to locate a fish farm off the southwest coast of Sarasota, located in federal waters, approximately 40 miles offshore.  Twenty thousand Almaco Jack (related to natural Amberjack) will be suspended in chain-link cages. Waste, antibiotics, drugs, and feed will be disbursed into the Gulf waters.  

SKA believes that this issue should be of concern to Siesta Key and Sarasota residents, as the beaches, fish, water quality, and other wildlife could be adversely impacted as well as our Key’s tourist economy. Local fishermen and environmentalists and are opposed to this farm. It will be the first in federal waters and could open the way for many more.    

Fish farming was in effect off the coast of Washington and has now been banned there. In Norway, new licenses have also been banned because of severe problems, including algae blooms. There are a variety of articles online reported by the Tampa Bay Times, US News & World Reports, etc. describing the results of fish farming, which do not bode well for our Florida coastline, including an increase in nitrogen levels that can impact red tide.  

The EPA-Region 4 will be holding a public hearing regarding the proposed issuance of an NPDES permit (FL0A000010) for the Kampachi Farms LLC-Velella Epsilon marine aquaculture facility.  The details for the public hearing are:

Date: January 28, 2020, Time: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM, Location: Mote Marine Laboratory -Wave Center 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL  34236

PDF Draft Fact Sheet NPDES #: FL0A00001 http://siestakeyassociation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Draft_factsheet-kampachi_farms_fl0a00001.pdf

Link Tampa Bay Times: https://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/2019/09/26/epa-considering-first-fish-farm-in-gulf-of-mexico/

Link Norway Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/salmon-farming-norway-algae-killed-fishing-seafood-council-a8925581.html