Olympic Peninsula

Phasing Out Atlantic Salmon Net Pens in Washington

Victory | March 22 2018

Clean Water


Date of the decision: March 22nd, 2018

Chapter(s): Washington State

Brief Description: On March 22nd, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed HB2957 into law, an act that will effectively ban the practice of open-water Atlantic salmon aquaculture in the state of Washington. The Governor’s signature comes on the heels of bi-partisan support in the state legislature, passing the House by a vote of 67-31 and the Senate by a vote of 31-16. The issue of farming Atlantic Salmon within the Salish Sea has been a very controversial topic over the past year. Our Olympic Peninsula Chapter got active on the issue when Cooke Aquaculture submitted plans for a massive expansion and relocation of the Port Angeles facility off Green Point last summer. The chapter raised concerns about the potential impact to the unique wave resources found at Green Point and wave height attenuation of other locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca further East, inadequate wave analysis and modeling, the potential for marine debris and catastrophic failure, impacts to human and aquatic ecosystem health, and the lack of comprehensive planning regarding this proposal. Opposition to the farms grew after one of Cooke Aquaculture’s three net pens off Cypress Island imploded in August. Fish from another ocean quickly swam north into Canada, south past Tacoma and up several rivers, raising fears among tribes and environmentalists that the invaders could harm the region’s struggling runs of wild, Pacific salmon.

Decision Making Body: Washington State Legislature and Governor Jay Inslee

How the victory benefits the environment or improves access (connection to mission): Improves water quality from a major pollutant source, prevents expansion and elmination of access to recreationally important waters held in the public trust.

Partner organizations: Our Sound, Our Salmon Coaltion

Web links: https://washington.surfrider.org/governor-inslee-signs-atlantic-salmon-net-pen-phase-out-into-law-victory-for-water-quality-advocates/

Media stories: KUOW, KING5, US NEWS

Clean Water

Everyone should have access to clean water to surf, swim and play in. The Surfrider Foundation is taking a multi-tiered approach to tackle ocean pollution problems. We are testing the waters for bacteria and toxins, raising public awareness and finding real solutions to ocean pollution; solutions that restore healthy watersheds, protect local water supplies and keep pollution from reaching the ocean.

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Staff Contact

Gus Gates, Washington Policy Manager, ggates@surfrider.org