Washington State Phases Out Salmon Farms

BC Groups congratulate Governor Inslee on signing the bill into law today

VANCOUVER: BC groups hailed the move by Washington State today to phase out salmon farming in State waters at the conclusion of current leases. The Bill, passed by both houses of government, was signed into law by Governor Inslee this morning.

“It was a victory for the precautionary principle,” said Stan Proboszcz of Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “There are just too many indicators that wild salmon are exposed to negative impacts from these farms for governments to continue to turn a blind eye.”

A recent literature review prepared by Dr. Larry Dill for Wild Salmon Forever cited the escape of farmed salmon from a Cooke Aquaculture facility in Washington State as one of many threats posed to wild salmon by the farms: “…the risks come from their potential for competing with wild juvenile Pacific salmon and steelhead in streams, and possibly from disease transfer….it is known that some diseases can transfer from Atlantic to Pacific salmon sharing the same water, as could occur in streams…”

“Currently, wild Pacific salmon face risks from lice and disease pathogens emanating from the farms,” said Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society. “While they may face other challenges in a changing ocean, the impact of the farms is a factor that governments can and should manage.”

“Land-based aquaculture poses none of these risks to wild salmon and preserves jobs and investment here in B.C.,” said Christianne Wilhelmson, Georgia Strait Alliance. “It’s time to get the nets out of the marine environment.”

The groups call on the B.C. government to follow Washington State’s lead and refuse to renew tenures expiring this June in the Broughton Archipelago, where First Nations have occupied several farms to draw attention to their decades-old rejection of this incursion into their territories.