NOAA plans to open federal waters in Pacific to fish farming

Markets Associated Press

  • This Sept. 17, 2015, image made from video provided by NOAA Fisheries, shows a fish farm off the shore of Hawaii's Big Island near Kona. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is creating a plan for managing commercial fish farms, known as aquaculture, in federal waters around the Pacific - a program similar to one recently implemented by NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico.  The farms in the Gulf and the Pacific would be the only aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters. (Paul B. Hillman/NOAA Fisheries via AP)

    This Sept. 17, 2015, image made from video provided by NOAA Fisheries, shows a fish farm off the shore of Hawaii's Big Island near Kona. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is creating a plan for managing commercial fish farms, known ... as aquaculture, in federal waters around the Pacific - a program similar to one recently implemented by NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico. The farms in the Gulf and the Pacific would be the only aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters. (Paul B. Hillman/NOAA Fisheries via AP) (The Associated Press)

  • In this Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 photo, Conservation International's Luka Mossman, who restores and researches Native Hawaiian fishponds, walks along a barrier wall on Heeia fishpond in Kaneohe, Hawaii. As traditional commercial fishing is threatening fish populations worldwide, U.S. officials are working on a plan to expand fish farming into federal waters around the Pacific Ocean. Some see the move toward aquaculture as a promising solution to overfishing and feeding a hungry planet. But critics say the industrial scale farms could do more harm than good to overall fish stocks and ocean health.  (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

    In this Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 photo, Conservation International's Luka Mossman, who restores and researches Native Hawaiian fishponds, walks along a barrier wall on Heeia fishpond in Kaneohe, Hawaii. As traditional commercial fishing is threatening ... fish populations worldwide, U.S. officials are working on a plan to expand fish farming into federal waters around the Pacific Ocean. Some see the move toward aquaculture as a promising solution to overfishing and feeding a hungry planet. But critics say the industrial scale farms could do more harm than good to overall fish stocks and ocean health. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones) (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 17, 2015, image made from video provided by NOAA Fisheries, a diver swims amongst a fish farm off the shore of Hawaii's Big Island near Kona. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is creating a plan for managing commercial fish farms, known as aquaculture, in federal waters around the Pacific - a program similar to one recently implemented by NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico. The farms in the Gulf and the Pacific would be the only aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters. (Paul B. Hillman/NOAA Fisheries via AP)

    In this Sept. 17, 2015, image made from video provided by NOAA Fisheries, a diver swims amongst a fish farm off the shore of Hawaii's Big Island near Kona. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is creating a plan for managing commercial ... fish farms, known as aquaculture, in federal waters around the Pacific - a program similar to one recently implemented by NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico. The farms in the Gulf and the Pacific would be the only aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters. (Paul B. Hillman/NOAA Fisheries via AP) (The Associated Press)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is creating a plan for managing commercial fish farms, known as aquaculture, in federal waters around the Pacific — a program similar to one recently implemented by NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico.

Continue Reading Below

The farms in the Gulf and the Pacific would be the only aquaculture operations in U.S. federal waters.

Fish farming has been practiced for centuries in Hawaii and around the world.

The plan is seen by some as a promising solution to feeding a hungry planet. Some environmentalists say modern aquaculture carries pollution risks and the potential for non-native farmed fish to escape and enter the natural ecosystem.