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Posted by on November 12, 2004 at 22:09:56:

According to an article in the 15-31 October Cal Trade Report, a consortium of unnamed U.S. firms is planning to build a large tuna farm off the coast of California with the backing of the Bush Administration. "The consortium is considering building the farm about 15 miles off the coast of California as a 1.5 square-mile ‘nursery’ for young tuna brought in from other locations," said the article. "The announcement of the planned project comes as international regulations on tuna farming are being introduced because of growing concerns about depleting tuna stocks and the environmental deterioration of the species’ natural habitats." The announcement of the tuna farm off California comes on the heels of a report in the 30 September issue of the science journal Nature documenting the problematic history of tuna farms from Mexico to Australia. The farms, which take fish from the wild, are essentially ocean feed lots that have also raised concerns about pollution and the fisheries needed to provide the tuna food.

The consortium did not state where offshore California the tuna farm would be located, although it is believed some of the old oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel are likely candidate sites. The tuna held in the ocean cage "feedlots" would be primarily for export to Japan. Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries told the Cal Trade Report, "the tuna farmed in the U.S. could pose a ‘problem’ for Japan's import controls on the fish, which were imposed ‘for its conservation and environmental protection.’" Can the demand for "cage free, free ocean tuna" be far behind?

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