NOAA plans to open federal waters in Pacific to fish farming

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.

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.