Last week, the Washington State Senate passed SB 6086, a bill to phase out Atlantic Salmon Net Pens within Washington state waters, by a wide margin with strong bi-partisan support. The bill now heads over to the House of Representatives, where it appears that some are more interested in political theatre, rather than bringing the bill up for a vote. Now is the time to pick up the phone and call your State Reps!

The Cooke Aquaculture net pen facility located within the Port Angeles Harbor. Photo credit: Gus Gates, flight provided by LightHawk

It only takes a few minutes, find your legislators contact info here.

Sample LanguageMy name is [[YOUR NAME]] and I am a resident of [[ZIP CODE]] in Washington State. I am calling to ask that you take action to phase out Atlantic salmon net pen fish farms in our state. I understand that the current bill being proposed for a vote in the House is calling for more studies of Atlantic salmon net pens. The science clearly demonstrates that these operations are a threat to the health of our waters and our native salmon fisheries, which generate billions for our state economy and provide over 25,000 jobs. Please take action to pass a bill like SB6086 that would phase out Atlantic salmon net pens, excluding them from Washington waterways to protect our state’s resources and economy. Thank you.

More background on the impacts of Atlantic Salmon net pens can be found via the Our Sound, Our Salmon page.

Can you imagine if Atlantic Salmon colonized the recently restored Elwha River? Photo credit: Gus Gates, Flight provided by LightHawk

State Agencies Release Report on Cypress Island Spill

An investigative report – authored by the departments of Natural Resources (DNR), Ecology, and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) – found that 110 tons of mussels and plants had accumulated on the nets before the incident due to Cooke Aquaculture’s failure to properly clean them. Download the full report.

“The collapse was not the result of natural causes,” said Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands. “Cooke’s disregard caused this disaster and recklessly put our state’s aquatic ecosystem at risk.”

“The results of our investigative report clearly show a significant violation of Washington’s water quality laws,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon. “Cooke Aquaculture could have prevented this failure.”

Read more in the recent Seattle Times article. State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, co-sponsor of the phaseout bill, said Cooke has disrespected and violated the public trust. “It is absolutely shocking that a corporation working in Washington would be this negligent and be so very untruthful about it,” Ranker said. “This is not the kind of business we want operating in the state of Washington.”

WA Surfrider Staff love their wild, Pacific Salmon

Kurt Beardsley, Wild Fish Conservancy Executive Director recently wrote a great Op-ed piece in the Seattle Times highlighting some of the day in, day out concerns with these pollutant sources. “Calculations by Wild Fish Conservancy staff ecologists, done in concert with the University of Michigan’s Department of Civil Engineering, show that on a daily basis, Puget Sound net pens discharge untreated phosphorus waste at a rate comparable to the amount of treated waste from the cities of Bellingham, Port Angeles and Everett combined.

The science is in, and the science is clear. Atlantic salmon net pens are not in the public’s best interest.”