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U.S. may turn to open ocean fish farms

Dec. 9, 2007 at 4:50 PM

NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. officials want to promote the use of open ocean fish farms as an alternative to the imported seafood industry.

With U.S. citizens and businesses becoming increasingly reliant on imported seafood, federal fisheries regulators are now turning their attention to promoting the use of underwater cages to breed seafood for the United States, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune said Saturday.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said developing ocean fish farms would allow the United States to reduce its dependence on imported seafood and would allow U.S. officials to control standards.

"We are already consuming a tremendous amount of farm-raised fish," Gutierrez said this year. "We might as well do it ourselves under our terms, under our conditions, under our standards and take the market."

The newspaper said the process would begin with laboratory-born fish transferred to underwater cages in the open ocean, where they can grow until they are ready to be harvested.

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