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Governor signs tough aquaculture bill

By Clay Lambert [ clay@hmbreview.com ]  5/27/06

Coastside commercial fishermen were pleased that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday signed the Sustainable Oceans Act, severely restricting future fish-farming along the California coast.

The act, authored by Palo Alto Democrat Joe Simitian, allows ocean farming operations but requires stringent environmental protections that industry experts are calling the toughest in the nation.

Coastside fisherman Pietro Parravano, president of the Institute of Fishery Resources, said Saturday the new rules should help protect marine ecosystems and water quality. He said the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association had lobbied for passage of the act.

There are currently no finfish aquaculture operations on the California coast. Parravano said that is because the rugged coastline makes such operations too expensive for now. But aquaculture has become big business in other parts of the world, providing cheaper fish for consumers as well as sometimes hard-to-foresee impacts to the local environment.

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