I may not be an expert scuba diver, but my experiences under the surface — especially off the Central California coast — have definitely highlighted the importance of ocean conservation for me. What I love most about the Central Coast — particularly the Santa Barbara area — is how much of the coastline is still undeveloped. This is why I have been particularly concerned by NOAA’s proposals for offshore finfish farming.

Most obviously, these proposals for industrial offshore aquaculture have concerned me due to their environmental repercussions; when feeding the fish in these confined areas — which are comparable to land CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) — toxic chemicals such as organophosphates leech into the marine environment, harming wildlife on all trophic levels.

But while the environmental impacts are enough to alert me with finfish farming, I am also equally concerned for the fishermen of the Central Coast. These offshore fishing projects take away business from the local fishermen — who more often than not use healthier fishing practices — on top of decreasing their fishing opportunities due to decreases in ocean health. On top of hurting our local fishermen, the proposed fishing project would not even be going toward American consumers, but would rather be shipped overseas to be sold as “luxury” fish. This is not how fishing is supposed to happen, especially in a community such as Santa Barbara.

All in all, these offshore fishing projects are going to harm our community and the Central Coast. Let’s work to keep our oceans clean, healthy, and free of harmful aquaculture projects.


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