Commercial fish farm coming off San Diego coast
Along with private investment company Cuna del Mara, a research institute run by SeaWorld called Hubbs-SeaWorld Research has formed Rose Canyon Fisheries and is seeking permits to create the very first commercial fish farm in U.S. federally-owned waters off our coast. The farm is legally considered an “offshore” site because it would be positioned more than three miles off the coastline, and therefore outside of California’s jurisdiction, but within the twelve-mile line controlled by the federal government.
Despite having legal control and access to a almost 3 billions acres of ocean, well more than any other nation in the world, the U.S. imports 91% of the seafood consumed here. One reason is that there are no offshore fishing farms in any of that vast expanse of ocean. A solution to this situation is being proposed by Hubbs-SeaWorld. They plan to construct a floating fish farm 4.5 miles out from Mission Beach.
The seafood factory would be enormous, more than 300,000 square feet of fish, making it not just the first in America, but the largest offshore fish-growing facility in the world. There will be 500,000 fish produced in the first year. Amazingly, this number could rise as high as 10 million fish each year, enough to significantly lower the percentage of fish imported into the United States. The Rose Canyon Fisheries complex will employ high-tech, newly designed types of cages for the raising of striped bass, white seabass and yellowtail jack.
This is not the first attempt at offshore fish farming in the country. What is termed an aquapod of kampachi was established off the coast of Hawaii in 2012, but it was not successful. In addition, a farm of shellfish off Long Beach is currently in the permitting phase. The Rose Canyon permits are expected to take as long as a year and a half to be granted. Once that happens, a year of building the facility, followed by two years of ramping up production will occur before the first harvest of the farm, optimistically predicted for 2020.