Water-Related News

Proposed fish farm remains unfazed by federal court’s NOAA opinion

As a proposed finfish farm awaits word on its demonstration pen in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal appeals court upheld a decision revoking authority from a federal agency to permit and regulate offshore fisheries.

The opinion Monday comes after a 2018 federal district ruling. The Gulf Fishermen's Association claimed aquaculture regulations fall outside the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service authority.

Environmental groups who brought the litigation call the opinion a victory in their efforts to stop offshore fish farming from gaining ground in the U.S. However, Neil Sims, founder and CEO of aquaculture company Ocean Era, said the court's decision won't hinder his progress and means one less permit for an offshore finfish farm.

Sims said the decision could leave a gap in the regulation of the industry. His company's efforts to build Velella Epsilon, a demonstration pen about 45 miles southwest of Sarasota in the Gulf, remain undeterred.