Washington State Governor approves industrial ocean fish farm ban
Landmark net pen phase-out bill signed into law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation today that will phase out industrial ocean fish farms in state waters. House Bill 2957 bans new leases to non-native net pen operations and prohibits the renewal of existing leases.
Last August, an Atlantic salmon net pen ruptured near Cypress Island, releasing more than 263,000 non-native fish into Puget Sound. The move to halt industrial ocean fish farming in the state comes amid news that Cooke Aquaculture – which owns and operates all of the Atlantic salmon net pen facilities in Washington – significantly misrepresented vital facts about the spill, from the cause to the actual number of escaped fish. In the aftermath of the spill, state officials have proactively terminated leases for two of Cooke’s facilities for significant violations of its lease terms and state environmental laws.
Hallie Templeton, senior oceans campaigner for Friends of the Earth, issued the following response:
Industrial ocean fish farming has no place in Washington’s waterways. These floating factory farms commercialize our oceans and inflict significant environmental, social, and economic damage.
We applaud Governor Inslee and the state of Washington for protecting our oceans and coastal communities from industrial ocean fish farms.