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Stop fish farms discharge!!!

Posted on behalf of <Goblinfern@aol.com>

From:   William Roberts, Director of Strategic Communications
        Becky Goldburg, Senior Scientist
        Environmental Defense Fund
Re:     STOP fish farms discharge!!!
Date:   Wednesday, July 22, 1998  
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send an email to congress@edf.org with remove in the subject line 
Dear EDF Activist:
We urgently need you to contact EPA and tell the agency to develop 
national standards for the discharge of polluting wastes from fish 
farms.  Feces and other wastes from agricultural feedlots are one 
of the largest sources of water pollution in the United States. We 
now have an opportunity to convince EPA to establish "effluent 
limitation guidelines" for one major type of feedlot - fish farms - 
most of which do not now treat their wastes.   We need your help 
because EPA is under pressure from the fish farming industry not 
to develop these guidelines.
Fish farming - the cultivation of finfish and shellfish - is now 
the fastest growing sector of US agriculture.  US production of 
farmed fish increased by more than 50% in value over the past decade 
and is now approaching $1 billion per year.  Fish cultivated include 
catfish, trout, salmon, and shrimp.  These fish may be grown in ponds, 
tanks, or cages placed directly in bays and estuaries.  Producers 
range from individual owner-operators to large corporations.
You have probably heard about water pollution from the massive 
amounts of wastes produced by modern hog and chicken farms.  
Similarly, fish farms can produce large quantities of polluting 
wastes - including feces, other excretory products, uneaten feed, 
and farm chemicals. There is, however, a difference: Wastes from 
terrestrial feedlots usually reach natural water bodies only 
indirectly, for example in runoff when storms cause waste lagoons 
on hog farms to overflow.  In contrast, fish farm wastes are often 
released directly into lakes, rivers, bays and estuaries. 
High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in fish feces and other 
fish farm wastes contribute to nutrient pollution - now recognized 
as the most prevalent type of water pollution in the United States. 
Problems caused by nutrient pollution include contamination of 
drinking water and shellfish, algal blooms, and fish kills. 
Wastewater discharges from fish farms may also contain other 
pollutants such as antibiotics and pesticides.  Fish farms 
frequently suffer disease outbreaks and farm wastes can potentially 
spread viruses and other diseases to wild fish populations. 
To date, EPA has established no national standards for waste 
discharges by fish farms, and state regulations - when they exists 
-- are wildy inconsistent. The good news is that this situation 
may change. In response to information provided by EDF, EPA has 
proposed fish farming as an industrial category for the 
development of effluent limitation guidelines under the Clean 
Water Act.  Unfortunately, it appears that some industry 
representatives and their allies will oppose the development 
of guidelines, and it is critical that EPA receive letters in 
support of the development of effluent guidelines for fish farms.
Please act fast!  EPA's deadline for receiving letters is 
Monday July 27, 1998, so your quick response to this alert 
is crucial.
The instructions for this alert are much simpler that usual. 
EPA is not accepting faxes nor email for comments on this important 
issue just snail-mail letters. So please, edit the letter below and 
send it back to us (with the subject line you received) to: 
We'll mail it for you! 
If you want to mail it on your own we encourage you to do so. 
Sample letter:
Water Docket Clerk (4101)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
401 M Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20460.
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to urge that the EPA stop allowing fish farms to discharge 
large quantities of untreated fish feces and other fish farm wastes into 
our nation's waterways.  EPA should make a priority the development 
under the Clean Water Act of effluent limitation guidelines for fish
High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in fish wastes contribute to 
nutrient pollution, which is now recognized as the most common
impairment of surface waters in the United States.  Fish farm effluent
can also contain antibiotics, pesticides, and disease-causing organisms 
potentially harmful to humans and wildlife.  Moreover, fish farming 
is a rapidly growing industry in the United States; without appropriate 
regulation, water pollution from fish farms will only increase.
EPA is now revising the agency's effluent limitation guidelines for 
terrestrial feedlots, including hog, poultry and cattle operations, 
in order to reduce serious degradation of our waterways by animal 
wastes.  In would be inconsistent for the agency to simultaneously 
ignore waste discharges by aquatic feedlots - especially since, 
unlike farms that produce terrestrial animals, fish farms often 
release wastes directly into natural bodies of water. 
     [your name]
     [your address]