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The Associated Press reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) "is moving toward allowing the sale of U.S.-raised organic fish and shellfish," and will "propose standards for the farmed organic fish this year."

However, the story also says that consumers should not expect to see such products in stores anytime soon: "The seafood could be available in as few as two years - but only if USDA moves quickly to complete the rules and seafood companies decide to embrace them."

The AP says that "many in the farmed fish industry say they expect that the requirements for fish feed may be so strict as to be financially prohibitive," and that "environmental groups also are concerned that fish in ocean pens would be able to escape and contaminate their surroundings. They also worry about ocean contaminants."

The story goes on: "Even if some companies do take steps to grow organic fish, the process could potentially stretch beyond two years. The National Organic Standards Board, which advises USDA’s National Organic Program, is still reviewing some vaccines, vitamins and other substances considered essential to aquaculture.

"Linda ODierno of the National Aquaculture Association says that despite some of the challenges, the industry is hoping that organics could help consumers feel more confident in U.S. product that is often already more expensive than seafood produced cheaply abroad. 'It could be good for industry and good for consumers,' she said."
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