Gene Taylor against fish farms

Citing environmental concerns and regulatory issues, U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor and 36 other U.S. lawmakers have asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to reject a controversial plan to allow fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The lawmakers sent a letter Friday to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in opposition to a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council plan. The council — which includes representatives from Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama — approved the plan in January in Bay St. Louis following months of heated debate and objection from charter boat fishermen and environmental groups, among others.

Former President George W. Bush’s administration spawned the offshore aquaculture initiatives several years ago and the Department of Commerce has to approve the council’s plan, which establishes a permitting process for such operations. In the letter, the bipartisan group of lawmakers asked the Commerce Department to work with them to create a system that deals with their worries.