KONA, Hawaii: A few weeks ago, we shared this video showing a successful Kona Kampachi aquaculture harvest courtesy the Velella-project.
Now, word has come down that the National Marine Fisheries Service has revoked the permit it had previously issued Kampachi Farms – known before as Kona Blue Water Farms – to test a floating fish cage in the waters off the Big Island’s leeward coast. UPDATE: A representative of Kampachi Farms clarified that the permit was revoked by the National Marine Fisheries Service because the project it permitted had been successfully completed. The representative says that it in no way means that NMF has pulled support from the project.
In August 2011, government watchdogs “Food & Water Watch” and KAHEA filed a suit against the National Marine Fisheries Service – which falls under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The suit says the service issued an illegal fishing gear permit to Kona Blue Water Farm for their Valella Project. Food and Water reps say the lawsuit is based on the fact that the federal government lacked the authority to grant the permit and failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of Kona Blue’s offshore aquaculture operations as required under federal law.
In a statement issued on Friday, Food & Water Watch Fish Program Director Mitch Jones said:
“The termination of the illegally issued and transferred Velella-project permit is simply an attempt by the National Marine Fisheries Service to avoid having a federal court review the agency’s deficient analysis so that it can repeat the process without scrutiny. These type of actions are generally disfavored by the federal courts and we will see what the U.S. District Court of Hawaii rules shortly.”
Kampachi Farms Co-CEO Neil Sims’ aquaculture project has been targetted by Food and Water Watch often in recent years. The back and forth seen here is from 2009.
Meanwhile, Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc. was recently granted an important permit for a planned fish farm off Kohala, as well.
The Department of Health reports that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit was issued to the company on March 30, 2012.