You may already have heard that up to 305,000 Atlantic salmon escaped into the Salish Sea last week when a Cooke Aquaculture fish farm near Cypress Island broke apart. We’re writing to let you know what you can do to prevent this sort of thing in the future and avoid the spread of diseases and parasites to our wild salmon.
Another concern is how this will impact regional fisheries. The Lummi Nation is in a state of emergency following this accident. Lummi Fisheries have been catching thousands of Atlantic salmon alongside wild Pacific salmon, but officials still believe many of the invasive fish are already on their way to spawn in local streams and rivers. As of August 28, tribal fishermen have hauled in at least 200,000 pounds of invasive Atlantic salmon since the emergency declaration.
So, what to do?
Ask Washington State to protect our shared waters and resources from risky fish farming! First, thank Governor Inslee for directing the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) to adopt a moratorium on new permits for net pens. You can find an email portal at: http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message. This positive step will give time to determine whether Atlantic salmon net pens can be operated safely in our open, public waters.
Second, contact Governor Inslee and Ecology to let them know that no new net pens should be permitted unless they can be scientifically-guaranteed not to spill non-native species into our waters, spread diseases, parasites or pollution, or otherwise harm our wild Pacific Northwest salmon. Ecology and partner agencies are currently preparing for expanded fish farming in our public waters. At the end of 2016, they began developing recommendations for permitting, siting, monitoring, and regulating net pens in Washington waters. So if you are concerned about future impacts from farmed Atlantic salmon, then write to the Department of Ecology, c/o Cedar Bouta (CEBO461@ecy.wa.gov), and let them know your opinion.
Thank you for your voice and support!
Photo above from Vimeo/Wild Fish Conservancy. Still from video showing the broken pens from the fish farm off Cypress Island in the Salish Sea.read more