Senate passes measure to phase out salmon net-pen farming

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state Senate passed a measure that aims to phase out salmon net-pen farming in Washington.

The Seattle Times reports that Senate Bill 6086 passed on a 35-12 vote Thursday and now heads to the House for consideration. It would end Atlantic salmon net-pen farming in Washington as existing leases terminate by 2025.

Before the vote, Gov. Jay Inslee endorsed the measure, saying that Atlantic salmon farming in Washington waters is “a risk that is intolerable.”

The measure comes in the wake of last summer’s collapse of Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island farm, when hundreds of thousands of invasive Atlantic salmon were released into waters famed for their native salmon. A report by state agencies found that Cooke Aquaculture Pacific failed to adequately clean nets holding farmed salmon, and nets failed because they were excessively laden with mussels and other marine organisms. That increased the drag on the nets from tidal currents and overwhelming their mooring system leading to a net pen failure.