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SB 201: Marine finfish aquaculture (2005)


SB 201 (2005) provides guidance and structure for California’s emerging finfish aquaculture industry so that industry growth is achieved in a sustainable manner.  SB 201:

  • Provides standards for the programmatic environmental impact report (PEIR) required by current law to ensure that marine finfish aquaculture is managed sustainably throughout the state.
  • Provides clear standards for the issuance of leases for marine finfish aquaculture projects, which are both economically beneficial and environmentally sound.
  • Builds upon aquaculture frameworks developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and other states such as Washington and Maine.


Final Status and Text

SB 201 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Signed into Law

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

Need for the Bill:

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce is calling for a fivefold increase in domestic aquaculture production over the next 20 years.  California is a likely location for future projects.
  • Currently, California’s aquaculture industry lacks comprehensive standards for the siting, permitting and managing of marine finfish farms.
  • Inadequately regulated marine aquaculture creates serious threats to the marine environment, to human health and to the commercial fishing industry.

SB 201 provides clear, achievable standards for the aquaculture industry in California’s coastal waters.

Aquaculture currently provides one-third of the total world food fish supply.  In the U.S., aquaculture production has increased 44% since 1991.  With demand rising and limited
supplies of wild seafood, the U.S. has called for a fivefold increase in aquaculture
production by 2025.  California is a likely location in which to site future marine finfish aquaculture projects.

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and numerous scientific studies have determined that inadequately regulated mariculture creates serious threats to the marine environment due to:

  • The spread of disease and parasites
  • The contamination of and competition with wild fish stocks due to escaped fish
  • Water quality and habitat degradation
  • The discharge of fish wastes, uneaten food, pesticides and antibiotics
  • Harmful interactions with birds, marine mammals and wildlife
  • Conflicts with other commercial and recreational activities
  • Ecosystem depletion from the use of fish meal and fish oil. 

Governor Schwarzenegger issued an Ocean Action Strategy to “increase the abundance and diversity of aquatic life” and ensure that marine aquaculture “can be operated safely within California’s waters.”  However, California still lacks a comprehensive regulatory program for finfish aquaculture by which to mitigate adverse impacts.  To stem the tide of fisheries decline and to protect California’s ocean resources, the State must enact fair and reasonable standards to manage marine finfish aquaculture through SB 201.


News & Press Releases about SB 201

02/15/2010 - Aquaculture made safe

05/26/2006 - Governor Signs Simitian Bill to Regulate "Fish Farming" Along the California Coast

05/11/2006 - California Set to Regulate "Fish Farming" Along The Coast; Toughest Standards in the Nation