A fish farm with a footprint about the size of Central Park could be coming to Pacific waters just off the coast from San Diego. A project put forward by a partnership between Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and a private investment firm, the 1.3-square-mile Rose Canyon Fisheries aquaculture facility is planned for a location about four miles offshore from San Diego and projected to produce about 11 million pounds of yellowtail and sea bass per year. According to NPR, the proponents say the farm will help fix a “seafood imbalance,” while a local environmental group has some serious concerns about the project.
Don Kent, president and CEO of Hubbs-Seaworld told NPR that due to the facts that 91 percent of seafood in the U.S. is imported, and exporting countries like China are holding onto more, there is a “seafood imbalance” that needs to be corrected.
“The price of seafood is going up higher and higher for people like us who have to import it, Kent says. “So the big advantage we have over those other suppli(ers) is the fact that we can grow it locally.”
The project is currently in the permitting process, with no farming yet on the horizon. And Matt O’Malley of the local environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper hopes it stays that way.
“We’re talking about putting a floating factory farm right off the coast of San Diego,” O’Malley told the NPR reporter, who noted from a boat four miles off the coast that houses on the shore were clearly visible. “I mean, you know that some of these people are going to be out here looking at this,” O’Malley notes.
Aesthetics aside, O’Mally says other problems with the project abound, including: problems for marine mammals getting caught in the farm’s nets and ropes; and caged fish becoming inbred and spreading disease to the wild populations.
NPR notes that other critics say the fish farm is probably unnecessary because the U.S. already produced a lot of fish that doesn’t get eaten. Yet Ket maintains that it’s needed.
“There’s 7 billion people on Earth new and there’s going to be 9 billion people in your lifetime, very soon. How are we going to feed those extra 2 billion people?”