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Posts Tagged ‘Aquaculture’

From Miwa:

I tend not to get too worked up about what people say in the papers, but this I just had to share… Below is a copy of Jay Fidell’s column in the Honolulu Advertiser (published Sunday).

In it, he articulates his opposition to the newly formed Pono Aquaculture Alliance.*

My personal favorite quote from Mr. Fidell:  “For their own agenda, the activists are ignoring state policy and creating an imbalance that is not fair or pono. The sooner our officials realize this, the sooner the imbalance can be corrected and we can catch up. Short of that, we’re headed for backwater, where we really will need those ancient fishponds.”

Backwater = Fishponds? It’s news to us.

The “state policy” I *think* he is referring to, is the Ocean Resources Management Plan–which sets forth a goal of ten new aquaculture operations in Hawai’i…  after a public planning process to determine ocean areas where aquaculture is appropriate. No such planning process has ever occurred.

Some other things to consider:
– The Hawaii Ocean Technology (HOTI) new ahi feedlot proposed for Hawai’i Island will import 100% of its fish feed and export 90% of its fish to Japan and the U.S. continent. This is contributing to food security… how?
– The report Jay attacks in his piece is accompanied by 180 citations and footnotes, and is the result of over a year of investigative research work.
– Feeding wild fish to farmed fish (since high-value fish like tuna are carnivorous) is actually contributing to the decline of fish stocks like herring, mackerel, and sardine around the world. (It takes about 3 lbs of wild fish to produce 1lb of farmed seafood). How you do aquaculture, and at what scale, matters. A lot.

If you’re moved to write in response to Jay, you can submit your letter to the editor here: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/current/op/submitletter

NOAA is holding its Honolulu “listening session” tomorrow–one of six such meetings on its proposed policy on open ocean aquaculture. Proposals to open waters  currently under U.S. federal jurisdiction (outside 3 miles) to aquaculture operations in the next few years are currently on the table. (2:30 – 4:30PM, Ala Moana Hotel) And likely why Jay is ranting about us this week!

*The Pono Aquaculture Alliance (PAʻA) is a group of cultural practioners, fishers, scientists, environmental advocates, and “aquaculturists” advocating basic principles of “pono aquaculture”–which include no use of hormones or pharma-chemicals, no GMO feed, and ensuring public access to ocean areas–and promoting aquaculture (like fish ponds, aquaponic systems and other forms of aquaculture) that promote ecosystem health, feed communities, and promote food sovereignty/security. Uncle Isaac Harp is leading this effort for KAHEA, and we deeply appreciate his work as well as the work of so many other dedicated individuals and organizations on this issue.

From Jay Fidell:

Aquaculture’s the new target of Isle activists

Some say aquaculture is Hawai’i’s next great sector, growing fish to provide us with food security, jobs and tax revenues for the state. The market is assured because the oceans can’t meet world demand. Others say aquaculture will be the next whipping boy for the activists who are determined to bring it down.

Why would activists target such a promising new industry, especially where Hawai’i has lost self-sufficiency and imports 90 percent of its seafood? Maybe it’s because the activists, like everyone else, are suffering in the recession, and desperate times call for desperate causes.

Activism is an industry dedicated not to building things, but stopping them. As others, activists have to pay for office space, staff, lawyers and PR. To pay their bills, they have to identify with causes. Old causes are old hat — they need fresh controversies to raise fresh money. No cause, no protest, no money.

TARGET OF CONVENIENCE

Aquaculture seems like a good target. Startups have to run the gauntlet and bear lengthy delays in dealing with government. Activists know that this burns capital and decimates cash. They know how hard it is for startups to raise capital in Hawai’i. In desperate times, aquaculture is all the more vulnerable.

The activists don’t know much about aquaculture, so they’ve connected with Food and Water Watch, a nonprofit in Washington and San Francisco. It’s a multi-million dollar organization with 65 employees. It’s big business.

FWW attacks Starbucks and water bottlers because they use water, a public resource, to make a profit. They also oppose aquaculture nationally. Hawai’i is a perfect laboratory for aquaculture and thus for FWW. If aquaculture can be stopped here, it can be stopped across the country, mission accomplished.

PITCHED BATTLE OF WEBSITES

The result is lots of protest — blogs, websites, brochures, bulk mail, fuming letters to the editor, “embargoed” reports, and over-the-top press releases. It’s a full-tilt campaign to scare the public with stories of evil corporations spilling tons of GMOs, pernicious antibiotics and toxic chemicals into the ocean.

Those stories, like Avatar, are untrue.

Then add regular appearances at government meetings and moratorium bills by suggestible legislators. The activists want their new aquaculture cause to resonate with earlier ones against GMOs and Superferry, telescopes and geothermal. For 2010, aquaculture is the cause of the day.

The activists attacking aquaculture are professionals who have been involved in every cause you can think of, from Kingdom Title forward. With help from FWW, their new alliance is Pono Aquaculture, but the players are the same few people and organizations that have been protesting causes in Hawai’i for years.

MISSTATEMENTS GALORE

From a factual point of view, the FWW attack on aquaculture is unbridled. In many ways, its hostility surpasses that of the Superferry opponents. Perhaps that’s because there is less to support it. Instead of a reasoned conversation, we get exaggerations, misstatements, mischaracterizations, and lots of name calling.

After working to slow down and undermine the aquaculture sector on every level, they claim “factory fish farming” is unprofitable and failing. There it is — first you create misfortune for your adversary, and then you criticize him for it.

Beyond that, they tap into our local culture to sell their cause to people who are disaffected, fabricating an array of arguments for the proposition that aquaculture, which has long been designated as a top priority in our state policy, now somehow violates exclusive native Hawaiian fishing rights.

MEDIA VULNERABILITY

We can’t run a state if we take our signals from those who are opposed to virtually everything. We need to know science and do critical thinking. We need someone to regularly investigate the facts and inform an unwary public.

Unfortunately, the media does not always do this. That’s not fair to the readers. Activist organizations try to foment public opposition using the media. If the media takes everything they say at face value without further inquiry, you can be sure the public will be misinformed. If the media doesn’t do critical thinking to identify misinformation, who will?

HAWAI’I, THE CONSUMER STATE

By not developing aquaculture, we have no food security and we’re spending almost as much buying foreign fish as buying foreign oil. As an island state, we should have the best ferry system in the world. We should also have the best aquaculture in the world. We don’t. There’s no good reason for that.

For their own agenda, the activists are ignoring state policy and creating an imbalance that is not fair or pono. The sooner our officials realize this, the sooner the imbalance can be corrected and we can catch up. Short of that, we’re headed for backwater, where we really will need those ancient fishponds.

In Hawai’i, it’s been politically incorrect to argue with activists. If the majority cares about our future, they’ll have to speak out. Democracy is more than anti-policy imposed by a militant few. A passive majority is the ultimate complicity.

Will aquaculture be the next Superferry? You decide.

Jay Fidell is a business lawyer practicing in Honolulu. He has followed tech and tech policy closely and is a founder of ThinkTech Hawaii.

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From Shelley:

Aloha mai kakou,

Pa’a in Hawaiian means many things, such as to be firm or fastened–like an ‘opihi to a rock, to be vigorous, steadfast, engaged. Last week we held a press conference unveiling the Pono Aquaculture Alliance (PAA) which is made up of groups and individuals who are calling for a critical look at open ocean factory fish farms  in Hawaii–a business that is slated to expand more than 900% in the next 5 years.

Why are we concerned? Ocean aquaculture comes in many types, from traditional loko i’a (fishponds) to industrial-scale factory fish feed lots. In Hawai’i, we need to make some important choices today about the kind of future we want for aquaculture in these islands. We at KAHEA believe that aquaculture must be pursued in a way that does not harm our oceans and lands, does not allow genetically modified fish or feed, does not dump pharmaceuticals in our waters, does not block public access, and does not privitize public trust submerged lands. If cannot? Well, pohō.

There was good press coverage, check out the story that ran in the Honolulu Advertiser.  http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20104090332 We want to thank Uncle Kale Gumapac of Kanaka Council, Rob and Christina from FWW, Aunty Kat from Ka Lei Maile Alii Civic Club, Henry Curtis of Life of the Land and Dr. Neil Frazer from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at UH Manoa who all contributed to this event. And a special mahalo to Uncle Isaac Harp for his work on this event, his manaʻo, and his solidarity. 🙂

What I believe:  Today, Hawaiʻi is being used as a test lab that proponents call “pioneering” but I would call “reckless”.  Supporters of industrial fish farms are selling their industrial model as “modern day Hawaiian fishponds”–a claim that is not only misleading, but demonstrates a lack of understanding of traditional resource management.  One of the benefits that  proponents cite is that their model will help lessen over-fishing.  This isn’t true if you’re raising carnivorous fish (like the kahala–“kona kampachi”–grown at Kona Blue, or like the ‘ahi operation venture capitalists at Hawaii Ocean Technologies–HOTI–are trying to start up) that require wild fish being caught elsewhere and imported–creating a hole in the wild food chain.

Later in the evening, after the press conference, we held a community meeting at UH Manoa Hawaiian Studies building.  We want to thank all the concerned citizens who showed up to learn and contribute their mana’o on this topic.  You guys can check out PAA’s unity statement and get more information about OOA at ponoaqua.org.

We must remember that the stakes are different, dare I say higher, for community members.  Worst case scenario for big business is they lose money, and have to pack up and go home.  Worst case scenario for the community is the end of free access to our oceans, which means losing the ability to feed ourselves and our children and their children.

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From Alana:

Entitled Aquaculture in Hawaii: Economic Advantage or Source of Sustainability, the Hawaii Venture Capitalist Association’s recent meeting addressed the benefits of many types of aquaculture in Hawaii. I think the presentation did a good job of explaining how aquaculture could be in Hawaii, in its most ideal form.

One of the first things mentioned was that aquaculture could help restore wild fish populations that are headed towards extinction. They failed to address, however, how that would happen. It is accepted in the scientific community that fish raised in fish farms are much less fit to live in the wild. Another weak point in the presentation was explaining how the current and future open ocean aquaculture ventures would increase self-sufficiency in Hawaii by reducing imports. Up to 90% of the future ventures’ fish would be exported, while the 10% allotted for Hawaii would go to restaurants like Alan Wong’s and Mariposa, restaurants that most people here can’t afford to go to on a regular basis.

There were also two slides that were completely skipped, clearly regarding genetics. I understand that this may have been due to time constraints, but the public deserves to know not only about possible economic gains from aquaculture, but also the genetic and environmental consequences of it.

A good way to sum up the outlook of the meeting is with the quote

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly”

this quote was used during the presentation, but who is to say what is worth doing and what isn’t? Is anything worth doing badly anymore? A  commenter on one of m previous posts claimed that “fish poop” produced from aquaculture can curb the effects of climate change by absorbing the CO2 from the atmosphere, and adding it to the ocean. However, as my previous “ocean acidification” post details, an increase nutrient-rich fish effluent leads to the acidification of the ocean, thereby further risking the health of many ecosystems.

Once again, I urge everyone to learn more about what is going on in terms of aquaculture in Hawaii.

Here are some links to more info on open ocean aquaculture. It is our responsibility to find out as much as we can while we can.

Food and Water Watch: Fish Farms

Kona Blue Fish Farm

Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc

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