Hawaii Oceanic will be able to deploy fish cages off the coast of Kohala. (Photo: Hawaii Oceanic Technology)
Tuna farmer obtains permit to deploy cages off Hawaiian coast
Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc has been issued permit HI-0028140 by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) in accordance with the provisions of the Clean Water Act. This will allow the company to deploy fish cages off the coast of Kohala after imposing additional pollution control conditions.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit will be effective 30 April 2012, the DOH said in a letter dated 30 March. It will last for five years.
The NPDES effectively outlines the conditions under which Hawaii Oceanic will abide by the Clean Water Act. The state of Hawaii is requiring that the aquaculture firm give advance notification of each new cage installation, after which the government can choose to attach new conditions or revoke the permit altogether if there are any problems.
Hawaii Oceanic plans to farm thousands of tonnes of yellowfin or bluefin tunas per year.
It took Hawaii Oceanic more than a year of effort to obtain the permit and required a thorough public review and response to comments from the public and several NGO’s.
All 23 responses received during the comment period either opposed the project or raised concerns about it. One critic wrote that the permit was "not a pollution control permit (but) a permit to pollute," Hawaii News Now reports.
“Once again we have been held to the highest possible standard imposed by yet another regulatory requirement and have been granted permission to proceed,” said Bill Spencer, president and CEO of Hawaii Oceanic.
The company spent more than five years and USD 2 million complying with permitting requirements imposed by the State of Hawaii and the US Government. The company prepared a full Environmental Impact Statement and Cultural Assessment to obtain a Conservation District Use Permit, required to get its 247 ac ocean lease, which was granted in October 2010.
“We are now more than five years ahead of any other company contemplating doing an open ocean fish farming business in Hawaii or the US,” Spencer said.
He noted that the US must streamline regulatory requirements for enterprises to reduce seafood imports, improve food security and boost the economy.
By Natalia Real