Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Governor Jay Inslee Signs Into Law Bill Banning Nonnative Finfish Operations in Washington

 [Update 3/23: Tim Eyman has withdrawn his petitions. Whether he will now propose a referendum ending Cooke's leases immediately is unknown.]
“The economic, cultural, and recreational resources of these incredible waters will no longer be jeopardized by the negligent actions of this industry,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker [also thanking  Representative Kristine Lytton for her role]
(See KUOW report on signing here: http://kuow.org/post/atlantic-salmon-farms-banned-8-months-after-great-fish-escape)

Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law EHB2957 which phases out nonnative finfish aquaculture in Puget Sound, including nonnative Atlantic salmon. It was the direct result of Cooke Aquaculture's negligence in maintaining a net pen growing nonnative Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound. That negligence, and resulting escape, crystallized the resistance to these operations which had existed for decades.
(See DNR/WDFW/DOE report here: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/…/aqr_cypress_investigation_report.p…)

The collapse of that net pen had initially begun in July, but the severity of that initial collapse was not relayed to agencies. Instead of emptying the pens at that time, Cooke chose to leave salmon in for an additional month. Before they were able to harvest those salmon, tidal currents (not a storm) collapsed the already damaged net pen, allowing an estimated 250,000 nonnative Atlantic salmon to escape.

Initially, Cooke stated only a few thousand had escaped. Then, perhaps up to 6,000. Then, 160,000. A report from DNR, DOE and WDFW (link above) determined that, in fact, a far greater portion of the population of nonnative fish had escaped. Up to 260,000 of the 305,000 within the pen. In addition, the report alleged Cooke was negligent in not maintaining the nets and pen, allowing marine life to grow on them to such an extent it created resistance beyond which the structure was able to stand up to.

Equally misleading was the response from scientists who claimed research showed these fish would not travel far, remaining in the area of the pens. They were described by one NOAA scientist as couch potatoes, similar to cows lost on the Serengeti.

Instead, these salmon spread throughout the Salish Sea, following their instincts, looking for fresh water. They were found as far as 52 miles up the Skagit River; at the mouth of the Elwha River; and in the Snohomish, Skagit, Skokomish, Campbell and Fraser Rivers. All rivers where spawning native salmon struggle to survive. Swimming over 200 miles, putting in question all other science NOAA used to minimize the risk of these operations.

Citizens in Washington have been averse to nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations in Puget Sound for decades. Attempts by various counties to keep them from their waters were not allowed by the Department of Ecology who claimed they were a water dependent use which had to be permitted.

Cooke Aquaculture should have been well aware of how people felt about these operations when they purchased them from Icicle Seafoods. Instead, all they saw was an inexpensive opportunity (they claim Icicle was near bankrupt) to expand into Washington's clean waters. Instead of choosing not to use pens they knew clearly were in ill repair, they instead pressed on, hoping to squeeze one more harvest from an already damaged net pen. Worse, it was discovered by DNR that the Cypress facility was not the only operation in disrepair, resulting in cancellation of 2 DNR leases, leaving Cooke with 2 remaining, which they will be allowed to use until the leases end (~2022).

Cooke now claims they are the victim of being a Canadian based company, threatening arbitration under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. They point to escapes over 20 years ago when operations were owned by US companies who weren't penalized. To be clear - those escapes did occur. But those companies did not try to hide what happened. They also resulted in much tighter regulatory oversight of these operations, with no escapes happening afterwards. Until Cooke entered the picture.

This has nothing to do with Cooke being Canadian. It is the direct result of decades of additional information on nonnative salmon. It is the direct result of native species in Washington and Canada - whether salmon or Orca - being under far greater pressure. It is the direct result of Washington's citizens caring so much for endangered native species that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to support and restore those native species. Cooke did not have their eyes on the ball.

Now, Tim Eyman appears from nowhere and claims he wants to have Washington's citizens vote on a referendum which will overturn the bill just signed into law by Governor Inslee. Cooke claims they have nothing to do with it. That may be true, but Mr. Eyman has never pursued environmental referendums, choosing to focus on taxes. Some claim only on being paid to collect signatures.

What is likely true is that should Mr. Eyman decide - for whatever his reasons are - to pursue a referendum, Cooke Aquaculture will likely find itself facing a separate referendum, one which demands these leases still held be ended now, and not allowed to run out in 2022. Not because they are Canadian, but because Washington's citizens do not want nonnative Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound any longer than they have to be.

You can thank Governor Inslee for his support of native species here:


Monday, March 19, 2018

NE Canada's Growing Atlantic Salmon ISA Virus Problem: Hatcheries and net pen operations found to be infected.

Should consumers know the farmed salmon
they are buying are infected with the ISA Virus?

3 out of 5 begins to show a pattern.
For the 3rd time in 5 months Cooke Aquaculture's salmon in an open net pen operation in Newfoundland near Gaultois have been found to be infected with Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISA Virus). Symptoms of the infection are seen and described above, and in the picture below. If the fish are of marketable size, as the most recently harvested salmon were, these ISA virus infected fish are sold to the public but are not required to be labeled as being infected.

Now there's some beautiful pink salmon flesh.

Infected hatchery facilities worrisome - "odd" "unheard of".
Earlier this month, preceding the most recent announcement and harvest by Cooke Aquaculture of ISA virus infected fish from Newfoundland's waters, was a reported an ISA virus infection in two upland and isolated hatcheries in nearby Nova Scotia. An estimated 750,000 fish had to be destroyed as they were too small to sell. UnderCurrentNews (an industry news publication) said fish in an isolated upland facility becoming infected is considered to be "odd" or even "unheard of". 

Not all infections created equally.
Of importance to note is the difference between the hatchery infection and the open net pen infection which Cooke Aquaculture is dealing with. The hatchery facility is isolated from the marine ecosystem whereas Cooke's infected fish are not separated from the marine ecosystem. That nexus of infection and spread of virus created by this open net pen operation is of far greater risk to the few remaining native Atlantic salmon in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Whether the hatchery infection may indicate a source further "upstream" is unknown at this time. What is known is native Atlantic salmon are at risk in Canada's waters from this virus, fatal in up to 90% of the salmon which contract it. The risk to people from eating the infected salmon is supposed to be minimal.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NOAA: "We don't tell [fish] farmers what to grow." It's a state issue - for good reason.

Those representing Washington's
citizens overwhelmingly passed EHB2957 to
phase out nonnative Atlantic salmon 
net pen operations. 

What could go wrong with NOAA involved?

Proposed "Ocean farming" 
Easy permitting, no guidance on what to grow. In part, it's why the Center for Food Safety is suing NOAA.
See papers file by CFS here:
Support CFS here:
https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/donate/5285/support-cfss-legal-action-fundupport CFS here:

NOAA: “We don’t tell [fish] farmers what to farm” "NOAA filed a final rule implementing the nation’s first comprehensive regulatory program for aquaculture in federal waters." (Michael Rust, NOAA, Salmon Business, 3/9)

On risks of farmed salmon escapes.
The same NOAA who said escaped Atlantic salmon were "couch potatoes" and were like escaped cows on the Serengeti, unlikely to go anywhere. Instead, these nonnative "cows" swam over 200 miles and were found swimming upstream in the Puyallup, Skagit and Snohomish Rivers.

Get involved. Encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957, phasing out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations, passed overwhelmingly by those who represent the citizens of Washington state. As Michael Rust and others at NOAA have said, this is a state issue. For good reason.
Email the Governor here:
Phone the Governor here: 360-902-4111

Friday, March 9, 2018

Native Salmon Matter More: It's what the Elwah River is being restored for.

Native salmon matter more.
Encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957, phasing out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations. Contrary to old NOAA science, these nonnatives are a risk, traveling throughout the Salish Sea basin, not staying near the pens waiting to be fed as NOAA scientists claimed they would be. 
Email: https://www.governor.wa.gov/…/con…/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Phone: 360-902-4111
The new cycle of life begins.

In pictures released by the Coastal Watershed Institute are seen why >$300 million was spent to remove dams and restore habitat on the Elwah River: For native species begin a new life cycle.

This is what the northwest's heritage
and culture is based on. They are why
West Coast values are important.

Restoration was not for nonnative Atlantic salmon, mistakenly described by NOAA "scientists" as being like "cows on the Serengeti" which would not travel beyond their pen areas. Those "cows" have traveled over 200 miles to the Skagit; Puyallup; Elwah; and Skykomish Rivers, and into Canada. That is reality, not a paper on someone's desk.
NOAA researcher Michael Rust told the Seattle Times this release of around 5,000 [now at ~250,000] salmon should not harm the environment: “These things are kind of couch potatoes. They are domesticated. Imagine a dairy cow getting lost out in the Serengeti." Forbes, August 24, 2017
One of the many one ton bags of pellets

dumped into Puget Sound to feed Atlantic salmon.
Some will be eaten, a portion "pooped" by salmon,
some will simply drift off.

These net pen operations are not shellfish. They do not filter the water. They instead use the public waters to throw tons of pellets into the water, some simply drifting in the ecosystem, some coming out of the salmon to also drift in the ecosystem. They are additive, with one pen estimated at one hearing to be the equivalent of the septic discharge of a city of 60,000 people.

Welcome to 2018. It's time for a change.
And it's not because Cooke Aquaculture is Canadian.
This is 2018, not 1999, when the last significant escape of nonnative salmon occurred. Native salmon and Southern Resident Orcas are at greater risk now than they ever have been, far more than in 1999, almost 2 decades ago. It is why it is now time to phase out net pen operations, additive to the risks at many levels. It has nothing to do with whether the current operator is Canadian or not. It is because things change over 20 years. That is reality, not an alternative fact and why Washington residents want nonnative Atlantic salmon removed.

Get involved and encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957. It is on his desk. Cooke Aquaculture is spending close to $100,000 - likely much more - to convince him otherwise.
Email: https://www.governor.wa.gov/…/con…/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Phone: 360-902-4111

Monday, March 5, 2018

Atlantic Salmon Open Net Pen Farming: Lessons from Scotland for Washington to Learn From

Scottish Parliamentary committee releases report
on Atlantic salmon net pen farming impacts on
Scotland's marine ecosystem and native species.
Read report here: https://t.co/8dMmWAt5ez

Encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957, phasing out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pens. We do not need to become another Scotland.

Impacts from Atlantic Net Pen Farming in Scotland should not be replicated here. 
A hard earned lesson from Scotland to Washington: March 4th, the Scottish Parliament's environment committee released a report  on the impacts from Atlantic salmon open net pen farming in Scotland. It only serves to reinforce why Governor Inslee should sign EHB2957, a bill phasing out Atlantic net pen farming in Washington's waters, to prevent what's happening in Scotland now from occurring here.
(Read the report here: https://t.co/8dMmWAt5ez)

BBC: "the marine ecosystem is at risk if environmental concerns are not addressed."

The National: "Plans to expand salmon farming could cause “irrecoverable damage” to the environment, MSPs say."

The Herald: "committee has said it is “deeply concerned” about the environmental impact of the salmon farming industry in a damning new report."

Shetland News: "Damning salmon industry report warns of 'irrecoverable' environmental damage"

Be thankful citizens and elected representatives stood up and said this will not happen here, and passed EHB2957 which will phase out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations. After Governor Inslee has signed the bill into law, all will have prevented Puget Sound from becoming the next Scotland. 

Get involved: Encourage Governor Inslee to sign EHB2957 into law.

It's time to move on from the elders and move into the future.