Cooke Aquaculture pays 2.75 Million dollar fine for net pen collapse

The company responsible for the net pen collapse that released large numbers of Atlantic Salmon into Puget Sound has settled out of court in advance of a Monday court date.

Cooke Aquaculture has reached a settlement to pay $2.75 million in legal fees and to fund Puget Sound restoration projects, putting an end to a Clean Water Act lawsuit that followed the 2017 collapse of one of the fish-farming company’s net-pen structures. – Seattle Times. Read the full article here and consider subscribing to the Times and keeping local reporters working.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/cooke-aquaculture-settles-lawsuit-with-wild-fish-advocates-over-net-pen-collapse/

These funds will go to help pay legal expenses, and the rest of the funds will go to the Rose Foundation to fund environmental projects to protect wild salmon and killer whales in Puget Sound, as well as WFC’s litigation expenses. Cooke also agreed to change their practices and address additional dangers identified in the course of the lawsuit, according to Wild Fish Conservancy, who brought the lawsuit.

“This is truly a victory for the future of our sound,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy. “Open water net pen aquaculture is a risky business, and thanks to this settlement we are one step closer to getting this dirty industry out of Puget Sound once and for all. This was long in coming. Last year, the public demanded an end to Atlantic salmon net pens. Just last week, thousands of people spoke out against switching these farms to different species. Now a federal judge ruled that Cooke broke the law. It’s time for this industry to leave Puget Sound.”

Cooke’s operations continue to put wild salmon and the health of Puget Sound at risk. Just weeks ago, one of the Bainbridge Island net pens began sinking due to a hole in a flotation pontoon; luckily, the damaged portion was not stocked with Atlantic salmon at the time but may have resulted in an escape were the pens occupied. Marine engineer Tobias Dewhurst, an independent expert testifying on behalf of Wild Fish Conservancy, reviewed conditions at each farm site and determined “conditions at each of its eight sites exceeded the maximum rated conditions specified by the net pen manufacturer,” and that as a result “pens and cages operated by Cooke were at risk of failure.” Even given subsequent changes, Dewhurst concluded, “certain remaining sites appear to be operating in conditions that exceed those specified by the net pen system manufacturers,” and therefore “may be at risk of partial or catastrophic failure.”

http://www.wildfishconservancy.org/cooke-aquaculture-to-pay-2.75-million-ending-wfc-lawsuit-over-net-pen-collapse-1

Recently, Cooke has partnered with the Jamestown S’Klallam to reopen the net pens in Port Angeles to raise native, but genetically modified steelhead. While the danger of these fish escaping and somehow altering native stocks is dramatically lessened, there is still the issue raised by Wild Fish Conservancy, of destruction of the environment in and around the feeding pens, along with possible affects of raising large quantities of fish in a small enclose. Virus and parasites are traditionally the concern, yet the Tribe has claimed that they are working on mitigation techniques. The Tribe has been researching raising these steelhead at the NOAA research facility at Manchester for the last few years. Their goal is to do this as environmentally responsibly as possible giving current scientific best practices. Many in the environmental community remain unconvinced that this won’t become another problem.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a mitigated determination of non-significance, which allowed only  a 21-day comment period. This requires neither a full environmental assessment nor environmental impact statement under the State Environmental Policy Act. Such an assessment would have considered the risks of diseases, pollution, further escapes and collapses, and the potential harm to federally-listed native steelhead. Kurt Beardsley of Wild Fish Conservancy said of the lack of EIS, “The 2017 collapse revealed that these pens are dramatically under-built for conditions in Puget Sound, and that Cooke’s recovery plan in the event of escapes was woefully inadequate. More escapes would directly threaten our wild salmon, steelhead trout, and endangered killer whales. Without a full EIS, the state cannot address the evidence from their investigations and WFC’s.

The Tribe at least brings a local group that has a a track record of being  concerned with long term viability of the resource, and is not going to be moving operations like many international corporations do.

Just to the north, on the Canadian Coast, a long running battle over farmed fish has pitted environmental scientist and activist Alexandra Morton against the fish farming industry. She has been working with the local tribes in documenting a horribly destructive virus that has appeared from Norway in both the local wild fish and the farm raised fish.

While Washington state passed legislation banning PRV-infected farm salmon, it is still an unknown as to whether the virus is affecting the ever decreasing numbers of wild chinook that are the primary food of the resident orcas. Reopening net pens here could provide a vector for fish carrying the disease that could be passing through the infected waters to the north on their way here.

(more on this story at The Georgia Straight News)

In October, Cooke paid another large fine in Maine for multiple violations of their laws for fish farming.  https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/aquaculture/cooke-to-pay-fine-for-overstocking-maine-salmon-farms-not-conducting-environmental-testing

In April, Cooke paid over $300,000 for water quality violations here in Washington.

Skagit River Chum Numbers Continue to Decline – Skagit Valley Herald

Reports from the Department of Fish and Wildlife show a continued dramatic drop in Skagit River chum. As stated in the article, these are new lows since monitoring began on the river in the 1960s.

The debate has been raised for the last number of years as to whether the hatchery runs are worth doing. Research comparing the Skagit with Oregon’s similar river, the Rogue, which runs about the same amount of distance and has a similar ecosystem shows that the major difference in why the Rogue runs are so much higher than the Skagit’s are the implantation of hatchery fish. The Rogue has not had hatchery fish implanted in it, and the argument goes, that the fish are better adapted to changing conditions. Needless to say, that has not gone over well with hatchery supporters, including Tribes and sports fishermen. Whether the hatchery program is the problem or the solution will never be tried here because at hearings the Tribes and sports fishermen went to great lengths to denounce the idea without offering any scientific support for their position. And now, the Governor is going to go full speed ahead on funding hatcheries. Meanwhile, the fish keep vanishing. The numbers in the article show the fishery is in complete collapse. And no recreational fishing has been allowed since 2008. I guess we are going to keep doing what doesn’t work until the fish are gone. Isn’t that the definition of madness?

https://www.goskagit.com/news/local_news/skagit-river-chum-returns-continue-to-decline/article_b94adf5b-aeee-5beb-b5ef-60f9a410ab03.html

New Genetic Research Shows the Legacy of Fish Farm – Hakai Magazine

The fish farming industry has been saying for the last number of years that this couldn’t happen. Well, it apparently has. While this could not happen here because of the distinct species, it does add fuel to the fire that these farmed fish are just not a good idea. We have no idea what additional information the industry, along with certain departments in WDFW and NOAA who seem to be simply mouthpieces for the industry, are not investigating, or actually hiding from the public.

Newfoundland’s great fish jailbreak took place on September 18, 2013, when a damaged sea pen, roiled by currents and tides, discharged 20,000 farmed Atlantic salmon into the frigid freedom of Hermitage Bay. Cooke Aquaculture, which owned the failed pen, swiftly set about controlling the damage in the media, if not the ocean. Seals and other predators would scarf up the rogue salmon, the company assured the CBC. The fish, it added, “pose[d] no threat to the environment.” A new genetic analysis, however, refutes that dubious claim. Researchers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) have shown that the fish fled Hermitage Bay, fanning out and infiltrating many of southern Newfoundland’s rivers. There, the escapees interbred with their wild cousins—potentially weakening the gene pools of imperiled populations. Ben Goldfarb reports. (Hakai Magazine)

New Genetic Research Shows the Legacy of Fish Farm

 

 

 

Spring Chinook return to the Skokomish River to start a new salmon run – Watching our Waterways

Good early results from a new hatchery on the Skokomish river. The survival rates of hatchery raised fish have been questioned by groups like Long Live the Kings, in long running surveys comparing the success of wild fish in the Rogue River in Oregon vs. the Skagit River hatchery raised fish. But it’s still one of the only options left as we destroy our climate with fossil fuel use and the long term effects of a variety of human caused problems. We certainly wish them luck!

For the first time in decades, an early run of Chinook salmon has returned to the Skokomish River in southern Hood Canal.

Read the whole story here;

https://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2018/07/27/spring-chinook-return-to-the-skokomish-river-to-start-a-new-salmon-run/

 

WDFW Commission advises state fishery managers on chinook plan – WA Fish & Wildlife Commission

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission advised state fishery managers to strike a better balance between conservation and harvest opportunities as they work with tribal co-managers to revise a proposed plan for managing chinook harvest in Puget Sound. During a conference call Tuesday, the commission – a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife – instructed state fishery managers to explore a variety of options as they revisit catch rates and other pieces of the updated Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan…. “Ultimately, we would all like to see salmon runs restored in Puget Sound, but severely restricting fisheries isn’t the only path to achieving that goal,” said Brad Smith, chair of the commission. “For that reason, we advised WDFW staff to explore other salmon recovery options, including improvements to habitat and hatchery operations.” (WA Fish & Wildlife Commission)

http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/wdfw-commission-advises-state-fishery-managers-on-chinook-plan/

Large crowd hears lawmakers discuss Atlantic Salmon ban plans

A packed house greeted State Senator Kevin Van de Wege and State House representative Mike Chapman in Sequim last night as they updated the community on the current bills to ban non-native Atlantic salmon and possibly put strict limits on net pens in our waters.

Senator Van de Wege along with Senator Ranker and others are supporting Senate Bill 6086, which would essentially immediately move to ban Atlantic salmon and implement retraining of displaced workers, thought to number approx 80 statewide. The bill would also look at waste discharges into our waters, with an eye on possibly severely curtailing use of in-water net pens, which are used only currently for Atlantic salmon but are being eyed by NW Tribes, such as the Jamestown S’Klallam for possible black cod and steelhead rearing. Jamestown tribal council member and policy manager for the tribes natural resources department Kurt Grinnell was present but did not speak, however a recent editorial he penned expressed support for the ban on non-native fish. Senator Van de Wege shared an email, signed by essentially every tribal leader in Puget Sound, supporting the ban. The bill has moved out of committee and appears to be the most likely to reach a Senate vote.

Representative Chapman has co-authored a bill (HB2418 http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2418.pdf) with widespread support in the House, which calls for more study before an outright ban. This was clearly unpopular with many of the attendees. Representative Chapman stressed that he thought the Senate bill would be the most likely bill to be passed. Both legislators also told the crowd that more negotiation was forthcoming, and neither could say at this point what the final wording might include.

A Republican written house bill, HB 2260, http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2260.pdf, is also in play, but has no real support by Democrats. It simply calls for a ban on Atlantic Salmon.

Members of the polite audience that spoke included many supporting the ban, and a few calling for more study. The manager of the Cooke net pen facility in Port Angeles spoke, saying that they had done a great job there, but giving data on salmon farming that to a number of attendees seemed hard to believe. Representative Chapman said that while Cooke’s previous company Icicle Seafoods had seemed trustworthy, since the purchase of Icicle by Cooke he had seen little interest in engagement or communication by their international headquarters.

There was concern expressed by some of the speakers over a lack of more rigorously limiting or outright banning of open water net pens, missing in all the bills. New technology from companies such as Atlantic Sapphire out of Miami, Florida makes it economically feasible to raise farmed fish upland, with little waste water outflow and much less reliance on antibiotics. Current state and federal laws exempt net pens from clean water laws, and there are appear to be no studies done on the ongoing release of antibiotics into our waters by these farms.

Other speakers raised concerns of handing over rewriting rules and studies to the very agencies that have stonewalled critics of net pen aquaculture over the last decade. Jefferson County, which wrote in a ban on net pens to their Shoreline Master Program (SMP) was stopped from implementing the ban by the Department of Ecology, who threatened to rewrite the SMP themselves if the county did not remove the ban. Oddly, DOE did allow one other county to implement a ban, then they publicly apologized for doing so. While County Commissioners and environmental activists brought a plethora of more recent studies, showing negative impacts to the environment, Ecology ignored the science and continued to support old science by NOAA that only looked at the issue of degradation to the bottom within a 200ft circle around the pens. NOAA never apparently has looked into the issue of antibiotic escape into the wider environment.

In 2007, Kurt Beardslee of the Wild Fish Conservancy testified before Ecology that Dr. Whitely of the University of Washington (Professor Emeritus, Zoology), had looked at the issue of total suspended solids as early as 1997, and had determined that four of the twelve salmon netpens in Washington State discharged 93 percent of the “total suspended solids” into Puget Sound as the treatment sewage plant serving the city of Seattle. Ecology ignored the science then. Mr. Beardslee went on to testify that other scientific studies (Goldberg 2001 and Hardy (2001)) equated the waste from a net pen salmon farm of 200,000 fish to the sewage output of 20,000, 25,000, or 65000 humans, depending on the parameter nitrogen, phosphorus or fecal matter, respectively.

Representative Chapman praised the rapid response of newly elected Department of Natural Resources chief Hilary Franz in placing a moratorium on net pens immediately following the failure of the pens in Northern Puget Sound last year. We also support Ms. Franz efforts.

While there is a need to carve out exemptions for some limited net pens by tribes in the area, there are great concerns that the technology of net pens is at odds with the goals of clean water and wild fish. A ban while a deep review of the science that’s been ignored over the last decade is welcome and probably needed to get passage of the current bills. However, we urge the tribes to work as swiftly as possible over the next few years to evaluate and explore upland tank technology, to achieve goals of restoration of native fish populations and marketing of fish to the public.

It seems that nothing ever gets done until a crisis occurs, and now we have had our net pen crisis. Many voices have been warning our government about the risks of putting these non-native fish into the Sound. While the industry tends to downplay the likelihood of Atlantic salmon ever threatening our native stocks, given the lack of real scientific study on the issue of antibiotic use and other chemical releases into the wider Sound, extreme caution is now warranted. Evolution teaches us that genetic changes due to environmental pressures need only a few members of a population to experience rapid adaptation to survive. We cannot be sure that escaped Atlantic salmon may not create just a change. But we don’t need to wait for that to happen. The crisis has happened, the momentum to end this mistake in judgement is large, now let’s get it done. Ban non-native fish immediately and seriously contemplate supporting a move to upland facilities by offering some kind of experimental support funding and fast tracking, as Senator Van de Wege did in the last decade with the building of experimental hog fuel facilities in Port Angeles and elsewhere.

Industry makes pitch to keep net pens – Spokesman Review

Just as I thought. There appears to be significant backpedaling on wanting to do anything without more “study”. There are only 80 jobs at risk here by banning this outrageously bad industry. One thing they never have studied, is the effect of the antibiotics and other chemicals that they pour into pens and get swept out to sea. NOAA has only looked at the effects to bottom seabeds within 200 ft.

OLYMPIA – Aquaculture companies that raise Atlantic salmon in the Puget Sound made an impassioned plea Thursday to keep their net pens and the jobs they support in Washington waters.

Read the rest of the story at http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/jan/18/industry-makes-pitch-to-keep-net-pens/

1/19 – Meeting set in Sequim on net pen bills – PDN

You can make your voice heard. Come to this meeting and let our Representatives know what you think, and that there is public support and momentum on the Peninsula for at least two of these bills.  I don’t currently support Chapman and Tharinger’s bill. There is already plenty of science on the dangers of Atlantic salmon in net pens.  They should be supporting a ban on the use of all net pens for non native fish now, and support scientific research (like that going on in Manchester) for the possible use of limited small net pens for native fish, (for unique one off reasons like species reintroduction, etc). Also state funding and support of upland fish farming should be encouraged. It is proven to work elsewhere, but the scale to make it economically viable is difficult. We should be encouraging these efforts, and helping tribes such as the Jamestown S’Klallam to understand if it’s worth doing.

SEQUIM — Sen. Kevin Van De Wege and Rep. Mike Chapman are expected to discuss legislation dealing with Atlantic salmon net pens at a meeting in Sequim. The meeting is set from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19 at the Sequim City Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

Three bills related to net pens are making their way in the Legislature: Senate Bill 6086, House Bill 2418 and HB 2260.

SB 6086, https://goo.gl/ruyF9s co-sponsored by Van De Wege, would phase-out the pens as their leases expire.

HB 2418, https://goo.gl/Gn2UNY co-sponsored by Chapman and Tharinger, would delay construction of new nonnative fin fish aquaculture facilities until thorough study, including structural analysis of existing facilities, is complete.

HB 2260 https://goo.gl/k4h8Ln would prohibit Atlantic salmon being used in aquaculture in Washington state.

Read the whole story at:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/meeting-set-in-sequim-on-net-pen-bills/

 

“Not all net pens are created equal” Jamestown S’Klallam weigh into the debate

We have a historic opportunity to end Atlantic net pen aquaculture in the U.S. Salish Sea (Puget Sound, The Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hood Canal, etc.). The bills moving through the State legislature right now have momentum, strong citizen backing, and likely something will pass. Voices that need to be heard, and are weighing in on this issue, are those of the Tribes,  who co-manage the aquaculture resources in the State, as well as use them for religious purposes. If you learn anything from working with them, remember this: The Tribes are not a single voice, but many voices. Recently, Kurt Grinnell weighed in on behalf of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Kurt has been managing the Tribes aquaculture resources for many years. I have personally worked with Kurt in filming for the Tribe over many years for “Voices of the Strait” and “Treaty Resources”. I respect his point of view. Some may differ from him. But Kurt brings decades of real world experience in managing resources. He is a person that has embraced technology and innovation. He understands markets and the environment.

Our role right now is to finish the work in ending the in water farming of Atlantic salmon in these waters. Whether the technology of net pens is valid or not, should not be the issue. We need to get these non native fish out of our waters first. Kurt’s points, in the article below, are that perhaps there is a place for the technology of net pens in the future. Likely, in my opinion, it will be upland, closed containers, as that technology matures (which it is not, today).  Let’s focus on the goal at hand, rid our waters of this non native fish, and then focus on whether the technology can be used effectively or not. Maybe it can’t. But I’m willing to continue to favor letting Kurt and the Jamestown S’Klallam work to find out if it can.

http://www.sequimgazette.com/opinion/point-of-view-not-all-net-pens-are-created-equal/

The question is whether we want to import fish from countries where farmed seafood is unregulated, or whether we want to do our due diligence and use the best that science and technology have to offer in order to grow fish safely and sustainably in our own country.

I suggest that anyone wanting to see more about what the Jamestown S’Klallam are doing to research new ways of doing aquaculture take a moment and view the short film I did a few years ago for them on the Point Whitney facility.

Atlantic salmon still being caught in Skagit River – Skagit Valley Herald

Well, I guess this lays to rest the opinion that I’ve been hearing in our Marine Resources Committee from one supposed ‘expert’ from industry that said,  “don’t worry, they’ll starve to death quickly”.  If this isn’t good enough information to call for an immediate ban on all net pens in the state waters I don’t know what will be.

More than three months after being released during the collapse of a fish farm near Cypress Island, Atlantic salmon are being caught about 40 miles up the Skagit River. “Virtually every time we have done work in the river we have encountered Atlantics along the way,” Upper Skagit Indian Tribe Natural Resources Director Scott Schuyler said. Since the Aug. 20 collapse, Schuyler said Upper Skagit fishermen and fisheries crews have caught the nonnative fish in Mount Vernon, near Lyman and east of Hamilton while pursuing native salmon. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

https://www.goskagit.com/news/atlantic-salmon-still-being-caught-in-skagit-river/article_a355ba10-c8da-5b07-b2e8-11be738c7408.html

It’s been a rough few weeks for salmon, which is now being linked to North Korea’s nuclear program – Washington Post

It has been a bad start to the fall for farmed salmon, and for people who like to eat it. Here’s a quick recap of the news:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/10/05/its-been-a-rough-few-weeks-for-salmon-which-is-now-being-linked-to-north-koreas-nuclear-program/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_salmon-815am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.9bfaaf8545d3

Some salmon forecasts like Puget Sound coho show an upswing from last year – Seattle Times

A small bit of good news.

State Fish and Wildlife unveiled salmon forecasts to a packed house in Olympia on Tuesday, and as usual there are some highlights mixed in with lowlights as the first steps are taken in this lengthy process of setting fishing seasons. The good news is a Puget Sound forecast of 559,045 coho (267,745 wild and 291,301 hatchery) is a drastic increase from last year’s dismal forecast of 255,403 (87,359 and 168,585) that led to one of the most contentious disagreements between state and tribal fishery managers on how to carve out fisheries. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/some-salmon-forecasts-like-puget-sound-coho-show-an-upswing-from-last-year/

See also: Far fewer pink salmon are expected to return to the South Sound this year http://www.thenewstribune.com/outdoors/hunting-fishing/article135528528.html Jeffrey Mayor reports. (News Tribune Tacoma)

What is the future of B.C.’s iconic fish? -Vancouver Sun

This is a good reality check. I know many younger Canadians that haven’t a clue how bad the wild salmon situation is.  There is a mistake in this article, where it says that “Aquaculture has replaced nearly all of that decline.” I would like to see numbers to prove that claim. There were millions of fish once coming out of the Fraser, now they are nearly gone. There is no way farmed fish have replaced them. Perhaps they mean that out of the fish that were left in 1990, that farmed fish have replaced the loss since then.

Wild B.C. salmon may be on its way to luxury item status… That’s if you can buy it at all. The wild catch of B.C. salmon has declined nearly 80 per cent since 1990, according to statistics supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture. Aquaculture has replaced nearly all of that decline, and today produces about three quarters of B.C.’s total salmon haul. The Fraser River sockeye fishery was closed altogether this year based on spawner return estimates of just 853,000 fish, numbers once reckoned in the tens of millions. It is the worst return in 120 years, according to the Pacific Salmon Commission. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Outlook is dismal for B.C.'s wild salmon

Angry anglers protest closure of Skokomish River – Kitsap Sun

Fish wars continue long Skokomish river. Recent closure of fishing by the tribe based on federal lawsuit crates protest from nontribal sports fishermen. well the protesters were concerned that this may be the start of a trend by the tribes, it’s been my experience that other tribes in the area are not interested in taking this type of action. As the fisheries continue to decline from a variety of reasons, the unfortunate reality is that they may be forced to do so. And in interviews that I’ve done with oldtimers of all political stripes on the Olympic Peninsula, a common thread running through them,regardless of whether they are tribal or non-tribal people is that the fishery should be closed for an extended period,to help replenish the stocks. 

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/angry-anglers-protest-closure-of-skokomish-river-38ce4140-5d01-643b-e053-0100007faefe–388763471.html

Long outlawed, salmon ranching might make a comeback – Kitsap Sun

Another bad idea makes a comeback. Can’t we just kill this idea before it becomes another fiasco? Just to the north of us here, in British Columbia, net pens are creating huge problems because of waste and disease. There is no good reason to bring back private hatcheries and net pens, even if they are labeled with a ‘fun’ label like, salmon ranching. It’s just a PR trick.

OLYMPIA — A long-prohibited method of salmon farming is gaining support among state fisheries managers.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is dusting off the idea of allowing private companies to raise and release salmon for commercial harvests. Known as salmon ranching, the practice boomed in the Northwest during the 1970s. It went bust in Oregon and was outlawed in Washington but continues to thrive in Alaska. Norway and Japan are world leaders in the business, producing huge quantities of ranched salmon, lobster, cod and other species.

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local/long-outlawed-could-salmon-ranching-make-a-comeback-35d08362-88ce-37a9-e053-0100007fc778-383881381.html

Fishermen protest tribal fishery as Puget Sound closure begins – Seattle Times

Big news…the fishing “wars” continue as the salmon continue to decline.  For those new to Puget Sound, look up ‘The Boldt Decision’ to better understand this complex issue.

With the closure of Puget Sound salmon fisheries this week and the possibility of no summer fishing season, about 20 fishermen gathered Wednesday morning in La Conner to protest the start of a tribal fishery. Nontribal fishermen at the protest said if they can’t fish, the tribes shouldn’t either…. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chair Lorraine Loomis said Swinomish Indian Tribal Community fishermen are gathering chinook salmon this week in preparation for annual ceremonies, including the tribe’s Blessing of the Fleet. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Sport fishermen protest ‘broken’ program as tribe gillnets chinook http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/sport-fishermen-angry-over-tribal-gillnetting-salmon-catch/ Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.goskagit.com/news/fishermen-protest-tribal-fishery-as-puget-sound-closure-begins/article_e546bd2a-65d9-5b69-a0ac-6972940447d2.html

Salmon hatcheries produce genetically different fish, study finds – CBC

Evolution at work? Perhaps we should stop acting as if they are.

New research from Oregon State University suggests hatchery-raised salmon, which are bred to help bolster wild stocks in B.C. and elsewhere, are genetically different from the populations they’re introduced into. Researcher Michael Blouin says scientists have known for some time the offspring of wild and hatchery-raised salmon are less adept at surviving in the wild, negatively affecting the health of wild populations. The question is, what is it about hatcheries that create fish believed to be inferior at surviving in the wild? “What we found is that when you compare the fish that had two wild parents with those that had two hatchery parents, we see hundreds of genes with different activity,” Blouin told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/salmon-hatchery-study-1.3456636

More time to comment on feds’ plan for Puget Sound salmon hatcheries – Skagit Valley Herald

There has been some controversy in the last year over steelhead and the hatcheries. I’ve covered the issue here if you wish to search for background info.

The public will now have until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, to comment on the draft environmental impact statement for Puget Sound hatcheries. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the public comment period extension Thursday. The agency decided to grant the extension in response to a formal request…. The draft report is available online at http://www.skagit.ws/NOAAsalmon. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/more-time-to-comment-on-feds-plan-for-puget-sound/article_551deb80-70e8-11e4-b050-6737e129fea8.html

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