January 24, 2006
The Honorable Mike Chrisman, Secretary
California Resources Agency
1416 9th Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Secretary Chrisman:
As members of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), we are writing to urge you to support SB 201 (Simitian) that would provide standards for sustainable marine finfish aquaculture in California waters.
E2 is a national community of business professionals who support sound environmental policy based on its economic merits. Our 700 members work in a variety of sectors including venture capital, financial services, and real estate, have created over 400,000 jobs nation-wide and represent nearly $20 billion in private equity capital. As members of the business community, we believe strong standards should be in place prior to the development of this industry in order to protect both California's natural resources and aquaculture investors.
Aquaculture is currently the fastest growing sector of the world food economy. Forty percent of all fish products worldwide are produced from aquaculture, and the Department of Commerce has called for a five-fold increase over the next 20 years to reduce the nation's $8 billion seafood deficit and compensate for depleted fisheries. California accounts for nearly one-fifth of the aquaculture industry's revenue with 120 farms bringing in over $43 million in aquaculture sales. While the economic revenues from aquaculture are high, so are the potential environmental costs. Poorly managed aquaculture can adversely impact native fish populations and even entire ecosystems through disease, pollution, and the release of invasive species.
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Ocean Commission both recommended standards for the emerging U.S. offshore aquaculture industry. Yet the offshore aquaculture bill introduced by the Bush Administration does not include clear environmental standards, which places the burden on the states.
In other states, such as Alaska, the response has been to ban marine fish farming. SB 201 takes a measured approach. It requires that the state evaluate appropriate areas for siting marine finfish operations and creates a framework to evaluate proposals for their impacts on native marine life and habitats. It does not affect shellfish, freshwater or onshore aquaculture operations nor existing hatchery programs.
We understand that the bill's proponents have spent many hours negotiating the language with your staff to address the Department's concerns. We hope you will support SB 201 and pave the way for fair and reasonable standards to help guide the development of a sustainable marine finfish aquaculture industry in California, enabling the state to capitalize on the economic opportunities while minimizing the environmental impact.
Co-founder, Zentek Technology
Co-founder, Sybase, New Resource Bank, Environmental Entrepreneurs
Director, Kingfisher Foundation
Vice Chair, Chair-Elect, NCPB, Inc.
Co-Founder, Environmental Entrepreneurs
Commodore, Corinthian Yacht Club
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