Salmon Farming Ban | Quinault Division of Natural Resources

State Bans Atlantic Salmon Farming After 2025

The net-pen salmon farming of Atlantic salmon would be phased out in Washington waters by 2025, when existing leases run out, under legislation passed with bipartisan backing Thursday in the state Senate.

The legislation comes as reaction to a net collapse last August at a salmon farm off Cypress Island, where between 243,000 and 263,000 non-native Atlantic salmon were accidentally released.  The fish have turned up as far away as the Harrison River in British Columbia.

Powerful Bipartisan Vote of Salmon Farming 

Atlantic Salmon Farming Ban | Quinault Division of Natural ResourcesAfter what sponsor Sen. Kevin Ranker, R-Orcas, described as a “powerful bipartisan vote” of 35-12, the legislation moves to the state House of Representatives. Two of its prime House sponsors are Republican coastal legislators.

Gov. Jay Inslee threw his backing to the Atlantic salmon farming phase-out online and at a news conference. 

“Last year’s incident in Puget Sound shows we cannot eliminate the threat of releasing non-native Atlantic salmon into our marine waters,” said the governor. “It happened before and will happen again.”

Salmon farming was welcomed and promoted three decades ago by another Democratic governor, Booth Gardner.

The Senate vote comes days after a scathing state investigative report and a $332,000 fine levied against salmon farming operator Cooke Aquaculture Pacific by the Washington Department of Ecology.

Atlantic Salmon Farming Company Failed to Clean Nets 

The investigation faulted Cooke for failing to clean nets that had become covered with mussels and other marine life. Cooke has responded by conceding it failed to clean nets before a July 2017 mooring failure but had cleaned nets prior to the Aug. 19 accident. 

Cooke has hired top-notch publicists and lobbyists, and brought employees of its salmon farms to argue for their jobs in Olympia. The company has depicted salmon farming pens as a productive source of rural employment.

Salmon Farming has Drawn Opposition from 21 Tribal Leaders

But salmon farming has drawn opposition from 21 Native American tribal leaders, who argued to the Legislature that Atlantic salmon pose a danger to wild salmon in the Salish Sea. State Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has taken after the salmon farming operations.

Last month, Franz announced she was terminating Cooke’s license to operate at Ediz Hook, near Port Angeles. Cooke Aquaculture has challenged the decision in court.

The Department of Natural Resources acted over the weekend to terminate operations at Cypress Island.

Original Seattle PI article HERE

Reposted by the Quinault Division of Natural Resources

State Bans Salmon Farming | Quinault Division of Natural Resources

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