The National Organic Program is reviewing whether food crops grown in soilless hydroponic and aquaponic systems should be considered for certification and labeling as USDA Organic. If you would like to submit a public comment, the written deadline is October 26th, oral comments via webinar can be made November 3rd, and in-person comments can be made at the meeting Nov 18th. Read the full Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force report.
Hurricane Matthew has inundated and submerged dozens of industrial animal production sites in Eastern North Carolina. Swine lagoons burst following Hurricane Floyd that hit the region in 1999, which led to influx of phosphorus, nitrogen, algal blooms in coastal estuaries and large fish kills. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to months to track the impact Hurricane Mathew will have on downstream industries including recreational and commercial fisheries and aquaculture. Read more at the Washington Post. Read More >
A shocking discovery of forced labor was discovered among the Hawaiian fishing fleet. The results of an AP investigation calls into question the ethics of the fishing industry. Wholesalers and retailers on the West Coast are scrambling to identify whether their products were caught with forced labor. Read more at the AP.
The third annual Our Ocean conference, hosted by the U.S. State Department, is scheduled for September 15 – 16 in Washington D.C. Foci for the conference will be marine protected areas, ocean pollution, climate change, and sustainable fisheries including traceability. Read more at the Our Ocean conference website. Read More >
The Deepwater Horizon/ BP oil rig has been leaking for seven weeks and counting, and is already responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history. The spill, among other things, highlights our intimate connection to aquatic ecosystems.
NOAA fishing area closure map
Last week, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expanded the Gulf of Mexico fishery closure area to nearly 76,000 square miles, (which is a surface area more than 1.5 times larger than the state of Mississippi) and which enshrouds much of the coastline (see below). High-number animal fatalities, such as dolphins (29 dead) and sea turtles (228 dead) are indicators of the impacts the spill has had and will have on marine life. Food system effects are already rippling through both coastal and inland seafood markets as some brace for potential increases in seafood prices.
Media reports understandably focus on the lives and futures of Gulf Coast fishermen, as well as the issue of tightening regulations on offshore drilling. But, aside from the disturbing images seen in the media, many are wondering how will those of us who do not live near the Gulf be affected? Read More >