If you read the local news regularly, you’ve probably seen all of the recent attention regarding Atlantic Salmon net pens following the escape of hundreds of thousands of fish from the Cypress Island facility back in August. Below is a short synopsis of the most recent information, locally and statewide in efforts to protect our waters from this threat. 

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

Clallam County: The proposed relocation of the Port Angeles facility to Green Point that our Olympic Peninsula Chapter chimed in on back in July seems to be off the table, at least for now…but the issue of whether to allow industrial scale net pen aquaculture off the shores of Clallam County is coming up for discussion with the County as they attempt to finalize their Shoreline Master Plan update, more info and action opportunities below:

  • The Clallam County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing on the Draft Shoreline Master Program — Planning Commission Recommendation (September 2017) on December 12, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. The meeting will be held in Room 160, Clallam County Courthouse, 223 East 4th Street, Port Angeles. It is important to show up and speak against non native net pen operations. All persons wishing to comment are welcome to either submit written comments before the hearing is commenced or present written and/or oral comments in person during the public hearing. Written comments should be sent to the Clallam County Board of Commissioners, 223 East 4th Street, Suite 4, Port Angeles, WA 98362-3015, or emailed using this link: SMP Comments
  • Another Tuesday opportunity to voice your opposition to net pen operations is a joint Town Hall meeting with Senator Kevin Van De Wege, and  Representatives Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman.  The meeting is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Peninsula College Little Theater, 1502 East Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

Statewide: The are many legislators who have expressed interest recently in phasing out permits of Atlantic Salmon net pen aquaculture in Washington, including a draft bill from State Senator Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) that was recently featured in the Seattle Times article. With public awareness and opposition at an all time him against allowing these non-native pollutant sources in our waters, now is an important time to reach out to your State Senator and Representatives and ask them to support legislation that phases out the harmful practice of raising non-native finfish in our waters.

Some of the Washington State Agencies recently claimed in a legislative hearing that the escaped fish from Cypress Island have just starved to death and turned into crab bait, but as this recent article highlights, they’re finding them as far as 40 miles up the Skagit River!

Surfrider Foundation Washington Chapters recently signed on in support of the “Our Sound, Our Salmon” coalition led by the Wild Fish Conservancy to bring our voice as recreational ocean users, and the concerns we have about the impacts to water quality and recreational areas to the conversation. If you haven’t done so already, a really easy way to show your support is to sign the petition today asking Governor Jay Inslee to put an end to this polluting practice in Washington.