A fish farm experiment off Hawaii’s Big Island will have no effect on Hawaiian coral reef systems, the operator of Kampachi Farms said in a report by the Associated Press. Neil Anthony Sims, head of Kampachi Farms, a fish farming outfit whose managers have been farming fish off Hawaii for the last 10 years, said that the type of fish farming that they are doing, which involves growing Hawaiian yellowtail in an unanchored, underwater fish pen off of the Big Island, has minimal enviromental impact.
The fish pen is different from other fish pens because the pen is connected to a boat that moves the entire fishpen offshore, eliminating the potential of fish waste harming nearshore coral reefs, the report said. Sims said that the project, which is still in its experimental stage, won’t harm corals because the fish pen is located in waters that are 12,000 feet deep in an area with strong currents. These currents will disperse the fish waste.
Despite these assurances by Kampachi Farms, there are challenges. Two environmental groups, Honolulu-based KAHEA and Food and Water Watch Inc., of Washington, D.C. have sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to revoke or suspend the permit that was issued to Kampachi Farms, claiming that the enviromental effects of the fish farm were not adequately assessed by the agency. While no comments have been made with regard to the lawsuit, the two sides are expected to meet in federal court October 31.