Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 20, 2015

Contact: Kristen Monsell, (510) 844-7137,

Country's Largest Fish Farm Proposed by Hubbs-SeaWorld Off San Diego Coast

OAKLAND, Calif.— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will consider a proposal from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and Cuna del Mar to construct a massive fish farm 4.5 miles off the coast of San Diego. At full operation the project would produce 5,000 metric tons of fish each year, making it the largest commercial operation in the country.

“While there’s no doubt we need to address overfishing, factory farms in our ocean are not the answer,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “These facilities confine millions of fish and cause massive amounts of pollution that can kill or harm wild fish, birds and marine mammals.” 

Farmed fish often escape, spreading sea lice and other diseases and changing the genetics of wild fish when they interbreed, weakening their natural survival skills. Fish farms don’t even ease the demand for wild fish, since they’re fed large amounts of feed made from wild-caught fish.

The facility would discharge the waste of millions of confined fish directly into the ocean, contributing to toxic algal blooms that are already causing environmental and economic harm in California, including the recent closure of rock and Dungeness crab fisheries. And the increase in vessel traffic that would result from the project threatens a variety of species that call the waters off San Diego home, including endangered blue whales and leatherback sea turtles.

According to today’s notice, the initial species for the facility will be yellowtail jack, with the option of changing fish species later to white sea bass or striped bass. Today’s notice also states that the EPA will prepare an “environmental assessment” under the National Environmental Policy Act to analyze the potential impacts from the project. The comment period closes on Dec. 21, 2015.

“Offshore factory fish farms do not belong in California,” Monsell said. “At the very least, the myriad threats posed by what would be the largest operation in the world point to a clear need for rigorous environmental review.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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