Aquaponics Association Advises U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Keep Aquaponic Species Off the "Injurious" List

March 1, 2017

The Aquaponics Association has submitted its opinion to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that the FWS should take no current action on the Center for Invasive Species Prevention’s (CISP) petition of September, 2016. CISP petitioned the FWS to list 43 new aquatic species as “injurious”, including several species vital to the aquaponics industry. These listings would make it difficult or impossible to grow many of the common aquaponic fish.

The Aquaponics Association urges the FWS to conduct a more stringent ecological risk analysis before it takes any actions; and to balance CISP’s goal of preventing invasive species proliferation with the aquaponics industry’s safe and legitimate use of a wide variety of fish.

In December, 2016 the Aquaponics Association sent a letter to FWS Director Mr. Craig Martin stating that certain species on the petition are vitally important to the aquaponics industry and should not be listed as “injurious”. Furthermore, most aquaponic systems are “closed-loop” and do not have a natural means for fish to escape into natural waterways.

The Aquaponics Association continues to follow the FWS’s actions on this petition, and will advocate that the FWS keep species important to the aquaponics industry off the injurious list unless a thorough assessment of ecological risks shows such action is necessary. See below for a copy of the Aquaponics Association's letter to the FWS.

Contact: Brian.filipowich@gmail.com

Aquaponics Association Letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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December 22, 2016

Mr. Craig Martin, Chief
Branch of Aquatic Invasive Species
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

Dear Mr. Martin:
The Aquaponics Association urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take no action on the 43 aquatic species which were petitioned to be listed as injurious by the Center for Invasive Species Prevention in September, 2016.

Aquaponics is a highly efficient method to grow fish and plants in a recirculating, symbiotic system. Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional soil growth, and it does not require pesticides, fertilizers, or antibiotics. It can also grow food in urban or drought-stricken environments.

Aquaponics practitioners employ a variety of aquatic species. Several species popular in both commercial, educational, and personal aquaponic systems are included on this petition, such as varieties of Tilapia, Carp, Catfish, and Perch. If these species were to be listed as injurious, it would be extremely damaging to the aquaponics industry.

The aquaponics industry is growing rapidly, and commercial systems are becoming mainstream. This is good news for our health and our environment because aquaponics is a highly sustainable source of local fresh produce, and an efficient source of protein. The listing of these aquatic species as injurious would be harmful not just for our industry, but for our entire environment.

Aquaponic systems are closed-loop, without any logical way for aquatic species to escape into the wild. Aquaponics has been practiced successfully for decades without any known incidence of aquatic species escaping. Therefore, the Aquaponics Association urges you to take no current action regarding this petition.

 

Thank you,

Brian Filipowich
Director of Public Policy
The Aquaponics Association