Oceana believes that a moratorium should be placed on offshore aquaculture development unless and until environmental and socio-economic impacts are adequately evaluated and addressed and standards that protect the marine environment are enacted in legislation and regulation. We have the following specific recommendations:
The use of non-native species in aquaculture should be banned. The introduction of non-indigenous organisms into an area can result in an invasive species that causes economic or environmental upheaval or harm to human health.
The use of genetically modified species in aquaculture should be banned. As of 2000, scientists had already genetically engineered at least 35 species of fish. The largest concern with transgenic aquaculture is the potential for artificial genes to be spread to wild populations, where the potential impacts are mostly unknown but potentially large and irreversible.
Disease and parasites:
Aquaculture of finfish and other highly mobile species should only be conducted within closed systems with regular monitoring for disease and parasites.
The use of chemicals in aquaculture operations should be banned unless and until it is demonstrated that their use will not harm human health or the health of the marine ecosystem.
Fish for fish feeds:
Aquaculture operations should minimize the use of fishmeal and fish oil. Wild fish are fed as fishmeal to carnivorous fish and many omnivorous fish, making aquaculture, especially marine finfish aquaculture, heavily dependent on wild fisheries, many of which are already overfished.
Aquaculture facilities should be placed and constructed in ways that avoid habitat impacts and disturbance to wildlife.