I want to take a moment to express my appreciation to the past and present Island County Board of Commissioners for their efforts to ban fish net pens on our shores. But now we must continue that effort for the state.
There are currently three bills in the Legislature regarding fish net pens in our state. Unfortunately, in recent rewrites in committee one of those bills significantly support the Atlantic salmon fishing industry and could subsequently reopen the door to net pens in our county. HB 2957 was revised in committee and now instructs the Department of Natural Resources, state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Department of Ecology to “continue the existing effort to update guidance and informational resources to industry and governments for planning and permitting commercial marine net pen aquaculture,” thus defeating the intention of the original bill of “Reducing escape of nonnative finfish from marine finfish aquaculture facilities.” Given the recent net pen failure and horrific release of Atlantic salmon from Cooke aquaculture, it is imperative that we put forth a clean bill to prevent this in the future.
There are currently two stronger bills moving forward that more effectively ban Atlantic salmon fish net pens in our state. In the Senate, SSSB 6086 and in the House, HB 2260. Please call your legislators and let them know you support SB 6086 and/or HB 2260. Advocate to stop HB 2957 which does not pass the muster of protecting our Pacific salmon and our shorelines.
Janet St. Clair