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Washington state legislature passes industrial ocean fish farm ban

Landmark net pen phase-out bill headed to governor’s desk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington state legislature passed a bill today that would 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. Before becoming law, HB 2957 must be signed by Gov. Inslee, who recently announced his full support for the bill.

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.

Hallie Templeton, senior oceans campaigner for Friends of the Earth, issued the following response:

The phasing out of industrial ocean fish farms in Washington is a victory for our oceans and coastal communities. These floating factory farms pose significant environmental and socioeconomic risks and threaten our already struggling wild, native salmon.

We commend the Washington state legislature for its passage of this bill, and urge swift approval by the governor so that Washington can finally join its neighboring states along the Pacific in banning this destructive industry.

Friends of the Earth’s recent report, The Dangers of Industrial Ocean Fish Farming, highlights the myriad risks posed by these floating factory farms. Click here to read it.

Expert Contact: Hallie Templeton, (434) 326-4647, htempleton@foe.org
Communications Contact: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org

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