Washington State Senator Considering Ban on Atlantic Salmon Farming
Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) plans on proposing legislation in the upcoming session to ban Atlantic salmon net-pen farming, reports the Seattle Times. The legislation is in response to an August 2017 incident where 100,000 fish escaped into Puget Sound from a net-pen farm. The Washington Department of Ecology defines Net-Pen finfish aquaculture as the practice of raising fish in an underwater net that serves as a pen.
The salmon escaped due to a failed net-pen structure owned by Cooke Aquaculture, a multi-billion dollar, privately held corporation based in Canada. The Washington Department of Natural Resources manages the land on which the net-pen farm is located and has a tenant contract with Cooke Aquaculture. Sen. Ranker’s bill would allow the leases for eight existing Atlantic net-pen farms in Washington to expire in 2025 but would not allow any new permits to be issued or existing ones to be renewed.
Also in response to the August incident, the Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) filed a citizen suit against Cooke under the Clean Water Act. WFC explained in a press release, “These discharges represent blatantly negligent violations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under which Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon net pens currently operate.”