Near- and Offshore Finfish Aquaculture Poses Risks to the Environment and Public Health – John Hopkins University

New report just in from the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at John Hopkins University. Follow the links below for the full transcript of the report.


Expanding the nearshore finfish industry or establishing an offshore industry in the United States carries significant risks to aquatic ecosystems and public health, according to a report published today by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

Near- and offshore finfish aquaculture (NOFA) is a method of fish production that occurs in net pens or cages with free exchange of water with the surrounding environment. Although there are currently very few US NOFA operations, some stakeholders have expressed interest in developing the industry in US state and federal waters.

The report assesses whether an expanded industry in the US would be environmentally sound and safe based on current production practices. The research team found the major issues surrounding NOFA to be: large numbers of recent farmed fish escapes, infectious disease outbreaks on farms, development of drug resistant parasites and bacteria, persistence of veterinary drugs in the environment, fish waste causing local and regional ecosystem impacts, and dangers that could cause elevated rates of injury and death among workers. The research team notes that some of these issues can be minimized or addressed with improved regulation and monitoring. Other issues, such as fish escapes and release of fish waste, are inevitable outcomes of fish farming in open water systems as currently practiced.

“The recent net pen breach of more than 160,000 farmed Atlantic salmon near Puget Sound is an illustrative example of how things can go wrong with these kinds of operations,” said Jillian Fry, PhD, director of the Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project at CLF and faculty member in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. “Globally, many millions of fish have escaped net pen farms. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem to fish farming in coastal or ocean waters.”

Proponents of increasing NOFA operations in the US commonly highlight improvements in specific production practices, but it is often unclear how widely improvements have been adopted. Researchers say the tendency to rely upon the application of existing laws, instead of creating a new regulatory system specifically for aquaculture, has led to regulatory gaps. As a result, many risks described in the report are not adequately monitored or addressed under current US law.

The authors further state that to reduce the potential for conflicts of interest, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees these finfish operations with other federal agencies, should separate their roles of policy and regulatory development from that of industry promotion. They are concerned that the current situation could lead to decisions that favor industry growth and profitability at the expense of protections for ecosystems and public health.

“Putting NOFA operations in the Gulf of Mexico and other regions is expected to be increasingly risky due to severe weather events associated with climate change. The regulations we currently have in place are simply not designed to effectively handle these risks,” said Fry. “Based on the studies included in our report, NOAA should not approve new operations or implement new permitting in additional regions of the US until the recommendations we’ve outlined are fully implemented.”

Ecosystem and Public Health Risks from Near- and Offshore Finfish Aquaculture and Policy Changes Needed to Address Current Risks” was written by Jillian P. Fry, David C. Love, and Gabriel Innes.

Chinese Electric Carmaker Aims To Become A Global Brand

Good news from China.

http://www.npr.org/2017/11/06/562270850/chinese-electric-car-maker-aims-to-be-a-global-brand?ft=nprml&f=

Climate change preview? Pacific Ocean ‘blob’ appears to take toll on Alaska cod

Really bad news out of the Gulf of Alaska.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/climate-change-preview-pacific-ocean-blob-appears-to-take-toll-on-alaska-cod/

EVENT: The Future of Oceans Lecture Series 2017-2018 – NOV 12

Sharing the Sound – Salmon, Steelhead and Settlement
Jill Rolland, Sc.D.
Director of the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center
Fort Worden Chapel
For decades, scientists and concerned citizens have called for improving salmon spawning and rearing habitats in an attempt to reverse the trend of dwindling runs of salmon and steelhead in Puget Sound. To date, restoration has been critical in improving salmon smolt and juvenile steelhead survival. Unfortunately, these improvements have not been enough to produce the recovery that might have been expected. Increasingly, scientists are learning that other anthropogenic changes to the Puget Sound ecosystem, ranging from sky glow to ubiquitous pathogens, are likely having a greater impact on salmon and steelhead recovery than previously realized.

This is the second installment of The Future of Ocean lecture series. You can read more about the complete lecture series here.

This event is offered with generous support by the Darrow Family.
Admission: $5
Students, teachers FREE
Octopus and Donor Circle Members FREE
Visit website for information on Donor Circles

Assisted Listening Devices available

From Miami to Shanghai: 3C of warming will leave world cities below sea level

It is certain now that the Olympic Peninsula is in harm’s way in the next 80 years. Port Townsend and Port Angeles, along with farmlands in the Sequim Valley are at risk. But the global scale of the disaster based on our never-ending fossil fuel use is starting to become quite clear.

From Miami to Shanghai: 3C of warming will leave world cities below sea level
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/nov/03/miami-shanghai-3c-warming-cities-underwater?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Plans being developed to save both orcas and Chinook salmon | Puget Sound Institute

News that is just breaking about a possible plan by the governor to orcas and chinook. Lacking some key issues that would create stronger plan, will have to wait to see what those advocating for those issues will say when it’s published. We certainly hope that protecting forage fish spawning ground, and reducing armored shoreline is part of this plan.

http://www.pugetsoundinstitute.org/2017/11/plans-being-developed-to-save-both-orcas-and-chinook-salmon/

Record surge in atmospheric CO2 seen in 2016 – BBC

The question that comes from all of this is “at what point do we make the planet uninhabitable for humans? “ And as many scientists have thought, the unintended consequences of not doing enough for CO2 is that we are finding that methane is suddenly exploding in the atmosphere.  One likely source could be the exposure of tundra as the permafrost melts.

Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Last year’s increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years.

Researchers say a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather phenomenon drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41778089

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