September 25, 2016, by by Matt Weiser
Off the coast of San Diego, America’s eighth largest city, commercial fishermen harvest about 1,100 metric tons of seafood from the Pacific every year.
That sounds like a lot. But it isn’t much to Don Kent, who says he can do better with just one fish farm.
If Kent gets his way, he would raise 5,000 metric tons of yellowtail jack and white sea bass in a grid of net pens measuring about a square mile, anchored four miles off San Diego in federal waters. The species are prized in Southern California sushi restaurants, which now serve their customers imported fish almost exclusively, most of it from China, Japan, Greece or Chile.
The US imports about 91% of its seafood. Whether consumers know it or not, about half of that is farmed in aquaculture facilities much like the one Kent wants to build. While the federal government has permitted shellfish farming for years, it didn’t allow farming of finfish such as bass and salmon until earlier this year.