Very glad to see the Wild Fish Conservancy take this preliminary action to begin the notification of their intent to sue Federal government agencies over their evaluations of the endangered species act. If you want to see farmed salmon banned in Puget Sound, you might want to donate to the Conservancy to help their lawsuit.
Tuesday August 25, 2015- Today, Wild Fish Conservancy sent a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) associated with the agencies’ evaluation of the harmful effects to threatened salmonids from commercial salmon farming in Puget Sound.
In 2008, EPA consulted with NMFS under section 7 of the ESA on the effects of revisions to Washington Sediment Management Standards intended to enable commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound to be permitted under the Clean Water Act. Despite the known harm and significant risks these facilities pose to wild salmonids, NMFS determined that EPA’s action is not likely to adversely affect protected species. The ESA consultation thus concluded without preparation of a biological opinion that would fully evaluate the effects of salmon farms and impose monitoring and other requirements designed to protect wild salmonids.
Wild Fish Conservancy challenged the 2008 consultation as insufficient under the ESA. The Court found the 2008 consultation inadequate and set aside EPA’s approval of the revised Sediment Management Standards and further ordered EPA and NMFS to reconsider whether preparation of a biological opinion is required.
EPA reinitiated ESA consultation with NMFS in 2010. Remarkably, NMFS again determined that the Puget Sound commercial salmon farms are not likely to adversely affect threatened salmonids and declined to prepare a biological opinion.
In May of 2012, there was a major outbreak of the infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus(IHNV) at the commercial salmon complexes near Rich Passage at the southern end of Bainbridge Island. The outbreak occurred at a time when juvenile salmonids were migrating through the nearshore environment near the commercial salmon facilities. It can hardly be disputed that this disease outbreak adversely affected threatened salmonids—or, at a minimum, demonstrates that commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound may adversely affect ESA-listed species.
“Atlantic salmon farms pose an unacceptable health risk to ESA-listed wild salmon in Puget Sound,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy. “By not fully evaluating the impacts of these farms, EPA and NMFS are in clear violation of the Endangered Species Act.”
The groups are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.