Current Status of MFF Gulf offshore permits –
Manna Fish Farms actively continues pursuit of our Gulf Federal permits, and with our full applications submitted and deemed complete we are currently waiting for the NEPA process to begin. At present, Manna is on course to operate one of the first federally permitted commercial-scale offshore fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico, with a preferred site approximately twenty-six (26) miles southeast of Pensacola, Florida.
NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/Marine Spatial has completed an Alternative Site Analysis for our Gulf site, looking closely at Manna’s proposed locations in the area. The thorough report will be uploaded to our website shortly. Utilizing the latest tools and computer data sets and overlays, a close and careful analysis of the Manna Fish Farms’ Gulf proposed offshore site has been completed. We are working to site our farm in the least impactful location, with negligible conflicts. We are currently in the process of coordinating public outreach meetings to share and explain the report.
Manna’s Gulf offshore plans entail four (4) phases of development – with a total of twelve (12) submersible net pens to be installed by the end of Phase IV, during a five (5) year build out, with full deployments estimated by 2029. Phase I will study two (2) submersible net pens as proof of concept, followed by two (2) – four (4) net pens added incrementally in the following years, until full build out is reached. 100% Transparency of our environmental monitoring is committed.
Our proposed site is approximately twenty-six (26) miles southeast of Pensacola, Florida. The three hundred and ninety (390) acre site is in approximately 160 feet of water and within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone. Manna is currently involved in stakeholder engagement and outreach, along with operational planning, including development of our land – based facilities. Upon receipt of our offshore permits, we will start with two (2) submersible net pens. We will add net pens two (2) – four (4) per year/annual phases, maintaining 100%
transparency throughout. Our transparency will share and ensure that we have no negative impact upon the water quality, native wild fish stocks, and the benthic environment.
The initial baseline environmental study (BES) for the Gulf of Mexico offshore site was completed in May of 2019 and revealed a significant stretch of hardbottom running through the proposed area of interest. The EPA requires that any operations or installations be a minimum of 1000m away from any hardbottom, so an additional survey of an adjacent site to the north was proposed and executed in December 2020 with the report received in January 2021. This new survey did not reveal any hardbottom running through the area of interest. The new area contains desirable geologic, hydrographic, and oceanographic parameters, and has been selected as the preferred site for our Gulf of Mexico offshore project moving forward. Using in- situ oceanographic data obtained during both surveys, numerical modeling was performed to evaluate the suitability of the intended StormSafe® submersible net pen and its accompanying mooring system for the intended site. The results of this intensive study became available in February 2021, and subsequently informed technical and engineering decisions for the project. Precise farm location and footprint have been determined from this study, and were used to finalize project details and satisfy the interagency Request for Information (RFI). Our RFI response was submitted mid-October 2021, and MFF received feedback, as well as a Request for Additional Information (RFAI) at the end of January 2022. After addressing interagency questions / comments, MFF finalized and submitted permit applications in early April 2022. The EPA, being the project lead, deemed the application complete in early May 2022. MFF is currently planning for completed NEPA analysis between Spring 2023 and Winter 2024, and once complete, public hearings will be held, followed by baseline benthic analysis and baseline water study. This would enable us to commence our offshore operations on or about Spring of 2024, provided permits issue by Winter 2024. In that case, we will expect our first Florida harvest in Spring to Summer of 2025. In the event that we are delayed in receiving our permits, we will then shift our plan to anticipated first harvest in Winter of 2026.
Manna Fish Farms Gulf Aquaculture Project Timeline – MASGLP (olemiss.edu)