Governor Signs Ban on Atlantic Salmon

Grateful for all the legislators, tribal leaders and environmentalists who backed and pushed this through. Sad that it took a disaster to get this done, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. Now the lawsuits begin, and Tim Eyman is apparently going to try and get an initiative put in place to overturn this.

The whole bill language is here.

Click to access 2957.PL.pdf

Video of Net Pen Protest Last Week.

Filmmaker John Gussman’s short overview from South of Bainbridge Island in Rich Passage.

Lawsuit Claims Commercial Salmon Farms Harm Native Fish In Puget Sound – KUOW

Finally, someone decides to question (and challenge) the prevailing assumption that having lice ridden net pens (and dumping antibiotics to protect the salmon from them) of Atlantic salmon in the midst of an endangered run of wild salmon is a good thing. It’s not. It’s a recipe for disaster. We, the taxpayers, are funding millions of dollars to save our wild stocks. Supporting an industry that is known to have problems as a vector for disease and lice is counterproductive. If you wish to help support this lawsuit, even with $10, contribute to The Wild Fish Conservancy. 

The Wild Fish Conservancy is suing federal environmental and fisheries agencies for inadequately monitoring the impact of commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound. The lawsuit filed Wednesday says commercial farms pose many risks to wild salmon. In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service found the opposite. They concluded that commercial salmon farms are unlikely to harm wild salmon. Kate O’Connell Walters (KUOW)

Kuterra aquaculture by ‘Namgis First Nation raises hope for wild salmon— and some hackles – National Observer

An update on the attempt to create a financially viable closed-containment aquaculture in BC. Ramifications for the Olympic Peninsula because of the push to bring open water net pens to the Straits and expand use in the Sound continues.

The ’Namgis First Nation, with advice and support from a large number of groups, including Tides Canada, conservation groups, and funding agencies, has launched Kuterra, a land-based, “closed-containment” aquaculture project that keeps their Atlantic salmon out of contact with the larger marine ecosystem.

Salmon grown in B.C. land-based tanks come to market – Vancouver Sun

A very positive milestone has been reached in the net pen debate. Finally an alternative to net pen fish has hit the market. We strongly suggest that readers in BC purchase this fish *if* they want to buy farmed fish. Of  course, we continue to promote eating wild fish as the best alternative of all.

The first Atlantic salmon grown entirely on land are now landing on grocery store shelves, marketed as a sustainable alternative to salmon grown in ocean-based net pens. The land-based Atlantic salmon, branded under the name Kuterra, is being distributed by Albion Fisheries and sold at 140 Safeway stores in B.C. and Alberta. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Sterilise farm salmon, say experts – The Scotsman

While this is not directly related to around here, it does have some interesting scientific findings that are relevant to our own battles against net pens. Read the whole article. It’s quite worth it. Wonder if it’s totally a one to one fit with our fish farming industry?

FARMED salmon should be sterilised to prevent them breeding with wild fish and introducing genetic weaknesses that will hamper their survival, experts have urged.

New research shows that while salmon reared in captivity to be eaten are genetically distinct from their wild relatives, they are just as fertile and pose a potential danger to naturally occurring populations if they escape and breed with them. Millions of salmon escape from fish farms each year and can find their way into wild spawning groups, where they can reproduce and introduce undesirable traits.

Read the rest of the story at


Land-based fish farms getting into the swim of things in B.C. – The Province

Good article about a working alternative to in water fish farms. This is a rated “green” tilapia farm near Sumas. No waste water is sent to the rivers. The way forward? It certainly takes away the arguement that this is an “in-water” dependent business. Have to see if we can get local restaurants to carry the fish. I’d pay a bit more to support this, wouldn’t you?

Sumas Lake Aquafarm’s fish are imported as fry and raised in a closed-containment system in a former dairy barn. Water is circulated among 24 large metal tanks, each containing about 5,000 fish, and a sophisticated filtration system using RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) technology. The farm is completely bio-secure, and no waste water is released into the environment.

Read the whole story here and do what you can to support local reporting in news outlets like the “The Province”

NOAA: Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable –

Little to no effects on coastal ocean environment seen with proper safeguards, planning. says: “This report does nothing to change our belief that the lack of significant research into long term effects of net pens on wild stocks, the issue of sea lice infestation and antibiotic use, is of great concern. Over 20 years of net pen useage have gone on without these issues being investigated. “

Specific types of fish farming can be accomplished with minimal or no harm to the coastal ocean environment as long as proper planning and safeguards are in place, according to a new report from researchers at NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

The study, led by scientists at National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), evaluated the environmental effects of finfish aquaculture, including interactions with water quality, benthic habitats, and marine life across various farming practices and habitat types. says: However, the study is simply an update on existing knowledge. The core questions that are being raised by Alexandra Morton and others, just north of us in British Columbia, are not addressed.  Here’s where we find that the research is missing. Wording directly out of the summary of the report: 

A knowledge gap continues to be how  dissolved nutrients are dispersed and assimilated  over large marine areas, and how ecosystem  productivity may be affected under increasing production from multiple farms.

At  moderately impacted  farms, effects may extend to 100 meters beyond the farm edge

The far-field effects of aquaculture to the ecological functionality of food webs and secondary production have not been studied, are difficult to ascertain and should be an area of future monitoring and research efforts.

Wild fish and other marine life often aggregate around fish cages and this may be considered a beneficial impact to marine life at some locations. As fish are attracted to farms, the potential for negative and positive interactions with human fishers may increase and farm management or regulatory steps should be considered to minimize conflicts. Likewise, marine fish and mammalian predators may also be attracted to farms. Little research has documented the extent to which marine predators target wild fish around farms, but this would be useful for understanding ecological interactions between farming and marine life.


Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners Adopts SMP

The Board of County Commissioners took formal action to adopt the new Shoreline Master Program with supporting documents by unanimous vote this morning, December 16, 2013. Staff is preparing to forward the updated SMP to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-January 2014. Final documents will be posted online when available.

We thank all the County Commissioners for their diligent and determined work to bring a high standard to the environmental protection of our shores. Many dozens of people have worked for over 8 years on this project. It’s the belief of this writer that they have done the best job they could, given the contentious issues, and now to move on stronger protections of this fragile shore.

As to the issue of net pen aquaculture in Jefferson County, it is this writer’s belief that there should be a significant independent scientific study done, perhaps by the Sea Grant folks at the UW who just completed the 6 year geoduck study, to explore the effects of the net pen industry on benthic layers beneath the pens, as well as possible wider effects due to disease and sea lice.  Since DOE relies on science, and the science hasn’t been updated since the 1980’s (at best), it is time to revisit this. There is much water under the bridge on this issue since those days. As we wait for this science to be documented, there should be a moratorium on new net pens in Puget Sound and the greater Salish Sea (i.e. Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca). All existing pens should be allowed to continue to exist (if financially viable) but no new ones should be added until we understand whether this is hurting the efforts to re-establish wild salmon or not. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring back wild fish. We have no idea of whether sea lice and disease vectors in the pens are harming salmon, rock fish and other species in serious decline.

What’s wrong with industrial salmon net pens?–South Whidbey Record

An excellent overview of the problems with industrial net pens to raise salmon. Especially to the point is the following:

The reason that industrial net pens are profitable for their operators is because the environmental costs are passed on to everyone else. The industry pays nothing for its large release of untreated sewage into Puget Sound and the larger Salish Sea. It pays nothing for threatening wild fish with disease and parasites. It pays nothing for continuing releases of non-native fish. We need to end these subsidies.

Read the whole letter to the editor at

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the South Whidbey Record.

Scientists are divided over virus threat to Northwest salmon – Various Sources

Like mariners scanning the horizon from the crow’s nest, scientists have for years been on the lookout in the Pacific Northwest for signs that a dreaded salmon-killing disease, scourge to farmed salmon in other parts of the world, has arrived here, threatening some of the world’s richest wild salmon habitats. Most say there is no evidence. But for years, a biologist in Canada named Alexandra Morton — regarded by some as a visionary Cassandra, by others as a misguided prophet of doom — has said definitively and unquestionably that they are wrong.

Kirk Johnson reports. Scientists are divided over virus threat to Northwest salmon

See also: Fish farms allied with government, activists say

and see the free hour long video on Alexandra and her work. Very damning to the BC Provincial and Canadian Government.

Talk on GMO fish at Quimper Grange in PT April 1st.

Though it will be held April 1st, this is no joke. A talk by one of the leading people educating the public on the issues of fish farming and protecting wild salmon stocks.


Risks of genetic engineering of salmon will be the main topic of Anne Mosness’ program at Quimper Grange on Monday, April 1st. Anne has spent many years as captain of salmon fishing boats and comes from a commercial fishing family. She is a long time advocate for wild fish, healthy coastal ecosystems and economies. Her background includes representing wild fisheries at the UN Forum for Food Sovereignty, Slow Fish, Slow Food and organizing Blue Festival educational events.

When the genes of unrelated species of fish are combined it is possible to them to grow bigger and faster however there has not been adequate research on human health risks, the environment, or impacts on traditional food producers and businesses. If a GE salmon patent is granted it will open the floodgates for patenting other species of transgenic fish. Several laws and regulations currently being considered are very important and will be discussed at the Grange program.

Anne will talk about the potential for pollution of the gene pool and how open cages have proven incapable of confining farmed fish which could have dire consequences in the in the marine environment.

In 2006 Quimper Grange authored a resolution in support of labeling genetically engineered organisms that was adopted as Washington State Grange’s policy position. Now, in light of impending legislation Quimper Grange reiterates its support of labeling genetically engineered foods and presents the public with an opportunity to learn about current and urgent genetic engineering issues. Quimper Grange, 1219 Corona Street (at the N. end of Sheridan). Doors open at 7:00 for socializing (potluck finger foods encouraged). Program starts at 7:30 for more information call Marla Streator at 385-6924.

More on Anne Mosness at

Peninsula Representative Put Forward Bill to Allow Ban on Net Pens

Representatives Van de Wege and others put forward a House Bill (1599) to allow counties to prohibit net pen aquaculture in their Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs). Currently, there is no provision to allow an outright ban. I assume that this is in response to our county commissioners being stalled for months by the Department of Ecology’s refusal to allow pens to be prohibited by county governments. It now needs a Senate companion bill, and time will tell how much opposition this runs into by the industry. We will continue to track this bill in the coming months.

Workshop on Net Pen Aquaculture for Planners

Not open to the public. – Editor

Coastal and Shoreline Planners Group: Marine Net Pen Aquaculture        
Date:  Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Time:  10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location:  Manchester Labs, Port Orchard, WA 98366
This event is intended for Coastal and Shoreline Planners representing local governments, the private sector, academia and tribes who are interested in learning more about marine net pen aquaculture. This agenda replicates the January 10th event at the Department of Ecology that was held specifically for State and Federal employees. This event also includes a tour of NOAA’s Manchester Research Facilities relevant to marine aquaculture. Speakers include:
·       Alan Cook, Icicle Seafoods, commercial net pens
·       Bruce Stewart, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, enhancement net pens
·       Jill Rolland, United States Geological Survey, fish disease
·       Mike Rust, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Aquaculture, feeds
·       Walt Dickhoff, NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center, escapes and genetics
·       Lori LeVander, WA Department of Ecology, state and National Pollutant Dischage Elimination System (NPDES) permitting
·       John Kerwin,  WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, WACs and WDFW permitting
·       Jack Rensel,  Rensel Associates Aquatic Science, tools and modeling
Due to limited space, this meeting requires an RSVP. Please respond to Jamie Mooney,,             206.616.3368      , to be added to the list of attendees. We can only accept 30 attendees on a first come, first served basis. Please keep in mind that because this event will be held at a federal facility, you will need to have your name on the list to attend.
If there is a high demand and we are not able to accommodate everyone who is interested in attending, we will work to schedule another Coastal and Shoreline Planners session on this topic.  Please do not distribute this announcement beyond the listserv due to limited capacity.

Dr. Lawrence Dill Net Pen Presentation Now Online

If you are concerned about the latest proposals to bring net pen aquaculture to the Strait of Juan de Fuca (5 miles west of Port Angeles), or are concerned and unclear about the current standoff by the Department of Ecology and the Jefferson County Commissioners over allowing in water net pen aquaculture in Jefferson County (through the Shoreline Master Program updated), then you should take the time to listen to this lecture (it runs over an hour in total). It is, to be sure, one of the most comprehensive overviews of the possible negative impact of net pens I’ve ever heard, and is based on research done just north of us, in BC. While Dr. Dill clearly states that there are variations of environment between there and here, the issues are ones that we may face if they are allowed here. Then again, as pointed out in the Q&A session at the end, by the manager of one of the net pen companies south of Bainbridge Island, some of these issues have not shown up (though that comment was not based on peer review independent scientific research, but on experiential information. It was not independently verified and simply is presented as the point of view of the farm manager).

Dr.Dill is one of the foremost researchers on sea lice, and has a lot to say about the “possible” negative impacts of net pen aquaculture based on years of scientific, peer reviewed, published work. He was brought to lecture in Port Angeles last week, by a consortium of environmental groups concerned about the proposals for net pen aquaculture in Jefferson and Clallam counties lately. The event was sponsored by the Coastal Watershed Institute, Wild Salmon Center, Sierra Club Activist Network, and Olympic Peninsula Chapter Surfrider Foundation.

His talk was titled:
Evolutionary & Behavioral Ecology and Earth2Ocean Research Groups of Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada presented:

The discussion included:
• The impacts that salmon farms can have on wild salmon stocks
• Recent research on sea lice and other pathogens.
• How the iconic Fraser River sockeye salmon have been put at risk by salmon aquaculture.
• Degradation of the bottom communities below the farms.
• Pollution, by-catch of other fish species, escapes, and inadvertent or intentional reduction of marine mammal populations.
• New potential open pen aquaculture projects near Port Angeles.

The introduction by Anne did not have a microphone so it’s a bit noisy. Dr. Dill did have a microphone on, so it sounds better when you get to him speaking. The video was published in two parts. A shorter 10+ minutes to allow you to get the gist of the presentation, and the rest of the presentation in Part 2. The audio podcast is presented in it’s entirety.

You can view Part 1 of the lecture online at

Part 2 is located at

Or you can listen to it online at:

I am adding the links above to the “Educational” links on the left hand side of the front page. You can always find it there if you need to refer to it later. Thanks to Dr. Dill for allowing the sponsoring groups to videotape the presentation, and offer it to those who were unable to make it to the discussion.

Dr. Larry Dill on Net Pens

BC Fish Farm Quarantined over IHN virus.

A B.C. fish farm where a virus deadly to Atlantic salmon was detected has been quarantined, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Thursday, as officials scramble to contain the highly infectious disease. Earlier this week, Mainstream Canada announced that fish at its Dixon Bay farm north of Tofino tested positive for infectious hematopoietic necrosis, or IHN. It’s the first time in nine years that Atlantic salmon farmed in B.C. have tested positive for IHN.
CFIA quarantines B.C. fish farm as company prepares for cull

New Research: Hatchery Salmon Posing Problems For Wild Stocks

As if we need more damning research into the problems of hatchery stocks, as our Jefferson County Commissioners continue to fight the WA State Dept of Ecology on net pens in our county waters.

A special issue in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes looks at how hatcheries are affecting wild fish populations. Research for the issue came from scientists around the Pacific Ocean – from Japan to California. One of the major findings: hatchery fish may be outcompeting wild fish for food in the Bering Sea.

Land Based Fish Farming in Tanks Gets Boost in B.C.

Fish farm proposal gets $800,000 boost from federal government

A unique fish farm proposal, designed to grow commercial volumes of salmon in tanks on land, was given an $800,000 government boost Monday.

"The industry is developing new technologies that will make our country a world leader in aquaculture and create jobs and opportunities here at home," said federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, speaking in Campbell River.

Ashfield handed almost $1 million to four Vancouver Island aquaculture companies and announced the acquisition of six new Vancouver Island-built vessels that will allow the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to monitor fish farms and enforce regulations.

Read more: Fish Farming in BC gets $800k Grant

Alf Says: This is what our political leadership should be doing here. Getting creative about using funds to prove this and get the possibility of netpens in our waters off the table.

Marine Anemia Cover Up in B.C.

This just in from Alexandra Morton, the leading scientist opposing net pen aquaculture. If you have any question about the safety of net pen aquaculture, or the lengths that entrenched bureaucracy will go to support the unsupportable, then not only read the info below, but follow the link to Morton’s web site and read the lurid details. It’s quite sad, actually. Fiddling again while Rome burns.

Just to be clear on Ms. Morton’s credentials before you go further: She graduated Magna Cum Laude from American University with a bachelor’s in science. Her further studies have led her to be recognized as one of the leading researchers on the planet documenting behaviors of Orca.

“Testimony at the Cohen Inquiry Aquaculture Hearings hit a new low yesterday. The lengths scientists are going to cover up the marine anemia outbreak that occurred on salmon farms in the Fraser sockeye migratory corridor is extraordinary. If DFO succeeds in disassembling Dr. Miller’s lab, the truth about this disease, its impact on sockeye and the concern voiced in the 1990s regarding its potential for health concerns will never be revealed. If these vets want to tell us all the research done on marine anemia, also called Plasmacytoid Leukemia was wrong, they are going to have to retract the papers they wrote in journals such as Cancer Research, Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, The Canadian Veterinary Journal, the Journal of General Virology and Dr. Stephen’s PhD Thesis. “

Alexandra Morton

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