Interior of offshore fish farm (Source: NOAA)

Action Alert: Stop Offshore Factory Fish Farming in the Gulf of Mexico


Action Alert
Stop Offshore Factory Fish Farming in the Gulf of Mexico


Interior of Offshore Fish Farming Facility (Source: NOAA) Ship Deploys Offshore Fish Farming Cage (Source: NOAA) Pair of Divers Outside Offshore Aquaculture Facility (Source: NOAA)



The Gulf of Mexico has been battered by hurricanes, covered in oil and then sprayed above and below with chemicals in an effort to mask the terrible effects of the spill. Now, the Gulf faces another serious threat that can harm the rest of our ocean waters, marine wildlife and people too.

Years ago, the people that make management decisions about the Gulf of Mexico approved a plan that would allow development of giant floating fish farms in Gulf waters, despite that tens of thousands of people clearly voiced opposition to it. Soon after that decision, the federal government announced they would create a national policy to guide the building of ocean fish farms in U.S. waters. That policy was finalized last year over many objections. Now, the plan for allowing fish farms in the Gulf is up for renewal so it matches the new federal policy – this means we have one last chance to stop this! Let the federal government know we have had enough damage in the Gulf!

And this is not only about the Gulf of Mexico – it is a back door way to promote ocean fish farming in all our oceans waters. For years, proponents and the federal government have been pushing to pass national laws that would allow development of ocean fish farms all around the country – but Congress listened to the thousands and thousands of people like you who spoke out against this – and last time they did not even get one supporter for the bill that was introduced in Washington, DC. So now, allowing ocean fish farms through the fisheries management process is how proponents hope to make this happen – and the Gulf of Mexico is first in line for where these giant dirty fish farms may be!

Ocean fish farming is dirty business:

  • Fish waste and chemicals can flush straight into the open ocean.
  • Fish can escape from farms and they can alter wild fish behavior, compete with wild fish and spread disease.
  • Farmed fish usually eat food containing small wild fish. These small fish are an important food source for marine wildlife. An increase in factory fish farms can mean less food for marine wildlife.
  • When fishmeal or oil isn’t used in fish feed, genetically modified soy is often substituted. Soy does not belong in the marine environment, and it can have various negative impacts.

Please use the form below to tell the Council we don’t want factory farmed fish in the Gulf of Mexico. At a minimum it needs to revise the Plan to be in line with the basic standards established in the National Aquaculture Policy and include the latest scientific findings. This means a meaningful open discussion with public input.

Finally, it is important to note that viable alternatives exist. Ocean Doctor has been promoting sustainable, next-generation aquaculture practices since its inception, including land-based, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), a clean technology that uses no antibiotics or chemicals, can recirculate up to 99% of its water, and has no effluent. Such farms can be placed virtually anywhere, including city centers close to where fish are consumed. Sadly, the federal government has focused on advancing offshore aquaculture at the expense of this more sustainable alternative.


The Latest

FINAL UPDATE 2/8/2012:

The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council – the body that advises the National Marine Fisheries Service on fish and fishing in the Gulf – voted to push forward regulations that would permit industrial fish farming in the Gulf of Mexico.

Our sincere thanks to all of you who took action. Regardless of the outcome, it was important that your voice was heard.

For a complete update on the Council’s decision, please see: Open-Ocean Aquaculture Would Harm the Gulf of Mexico



Additional Information

Food and Water Watch

Recirculating Farms Coalition

1 reply
  1. karrie marks
    karrie marks says:

    Some people don’t understand that we are over fishing for selfish reasons, for our own greed, not for SURVIVAL. that is one main problem and an argument that I often have with my own family because they cannot understand that and it is not their fault. I never put anyone down who choose to eat and consume meat and dairy. I believe in true survival and that all creatures have a purpose to live their life lovingly. But the way that humans have destroyed our oceans and lands is despicable, especially when you try to explain that information based on hidden truths is what we need to be teaching. Instead they choose to be blinded just because they are complacent in fast food industries consuming what they’re addicted to. They are ignorant because of how they were taught growing up and it is wrong when one is UNWILLING to learn the truths that is going on. WE ARE WASTEFUL. Addicted. Because we are needy. We have been taught to become dissensitized to the fact that animals have just as much intelligence and soul and compassion for life as humans do except what I really think humans LACK that because we are pathetically consumed with convenience and complacency. It’s sad that people aren’t willing to learn there is a difference to not knowing and unwilling to not knowing and willing. There is a difference but when someone has grown all their lives to be conditioned to think a certain way and choose to be stubborn. We have no selfless respect for mother earth.


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