The stories and assurances that the net pen industry and their allies have told for years are now proven to be just lies. I have sat in Marine Resource Committee meetings and had the industry rep blithely tell the group, with no scientific evidence, that “there are no diseases down here, that’s a Canadian problem. ” The WDFW, DNR and Ecology have been telling lawmakers there’s no problem, the escaped fish represent no threat because they are healthy and can’t interbreed. One thing that nature teaches us is that it only takes one genetic mutation to change everything in evolution. Let’s get the bill to phase out net pens passed and put this nightmare to an end.
To remedy the harm that may be imparted to our wild fish, and to get to the bottom of the disease’s source, WFC calls on WDFW, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Washington Department of Ecology to:1. Stop all restocking of Atlantic salmon net pens until thorough testing has proven the Atlantic salmon hatchery is not planting PRV infected fish.2. Immediately test all Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound for PRV.3. Remove all PRV infected Atlantic salmon from Puget Sound net pens.4. Immediately disinfect facilities showing any trace of PRV.These actions are essential to ensure that diseased, PRV-infected fish are not being planted into public waters and that Atlantic salmon raised in net pens are not amplifying the virus and spreading it in the public’s waters where it places our native salmon at risk.“Hopefully the Washington state legislature will successfully pass legislation to phase out Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound, but in the interim, this alone is far from enough to protect our wild salmon from this industry,” said Kurt Beardslee.“It’s absolutely critical that our state agencies take immediate action to ensure we’re not planting or amplifying viruses into our public waters.”