Out on the edge
How one woman plans to extend the boundaries of US aquaculture
The United States has not taken advantage of its aquaculture potential, said NOAA’s Michael Rubino at the recent Offshore Mariculture Conference in Barcelona, but one woman is attempting to change that.
Donna Lanzetta hopes her Manna Fish Farms after she has secured the necessary permits, a long drawn out process in the States.
Lanzetta was also in Barcelona, where she compared notes with other offshore pioneers.
Manna Fish Farms will produce striped bass in submersible pods 14 nautical miles off the coast of Long Island, and Lanzetta was encouraged by the decision in January to allow farming in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
‘It was certainly long overdue, it took 10 years to get that decision, but it is indicative of the future. I think everyone understands that the need to farm in the ocean is real, it’s clear and it’s imperative that we get out there.That’s the place to do it in a sustainable fashion.’
She said while the Gulf ruling has no direct bearing on her location, it is ‘certainly a great guideline for us’.
‘At least we have something to go on with water guidelines and so on, and we can follow some of the protocol that’s in place with the Gulf plan.’
She said there are approximately 37 different agencies she needs to ‘touch base with’ to obtain permits, with the Army Corps of Engineers the lead agency (for reasons even she doesn’t understand!).
‘Right now, it’s a crime under federal law to possess striped bass in federal to clarify it and get a letter of exemption or change the law,’ said Lanzetta, an attorney by profession, which she admits has come in handy.
‘We hope we’ll have our permits by next spring.We are launching our water monitoring equipment now and we need to get a full year’s worth of data before we put our equipment into the water.To be 100 per cent certain that this is a viable site we will monitor for the next year, everything about the site.’
Above: Aquapod. Inset: Opposite page: Donna on an