According to an article published in the Seattle Times on November 16, Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker (Democrat, Orcas Island) announced his intentions to file an Atlantic salmon net-pen farming ban during the upcoming legislative session. The legislation reportedly would allow existing state leases for the eight Atlantic net-pen farms now operating in Washington to run out by 2025 and would require state agencies to adopt a tighter regulatory role in the industry in the iterim.
The news comes out on the heels of the highly publicized accidental release of 305,000 farmed Atlantic salmon from a failed net-pen facility at Cyprus Island last August. Even after emergency catch operations were put into place, an estimated 100,000 Atlantics remain unaccounted for. The facility was owned and operated by international corporation Cooke Aquaculture.
The cause of the net-pen failure is still under investigation. The ongoing investigation and potential legislative ban promise to be high-drama events as 2018 approaches, and may also be joined by additional legislative action.
Not long after Senator Ranker’s proposed bill, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a similar county-wide ban, the Times also reported. “…Farmed, invasive Atlantic salmon that spilled into the Salish Sea in August threaten our native fish populations and our way of life,” Constantine said in a news release, adding “Atlantic salmon don’t belong here.”
Constantine submitted his moratorium to the County Council on November 27.