Open-ocean fish farm proposed off San Diego coast could be first in federal waters

A fish farm is seen in an undated file photo. (Getty Images)

A fish farm is seen in an undated file photo. (Getty Images)

A prestigious San Diego research institute and a Long Beach social-benefit investment group are teaming to create what could be the first fish farm in federal waters.

The proposed Pacific Ocean AquaFarm would be about four miles offshore of San Diego and would generate 5,000 metric tons of sushi-grade yellowfish each year — enough for 11 million servings of the popular seafood.

A partnership between Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and Pacific6 Enterprise, the project also would create a diversity of economic opportunities and provide a local source for a fish that is now mostly imported.

The institute submitted a federal permit application for the project Sept. 9. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will lead the environmental review of their proposal, which will take about 18 to 24 months. Construction would take about a year, and the first set of fish stocked there would be ready for market 18 to 22 months after that, Kent said.

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