Washington bans fish-farming net pens, citing salmon threat

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington has banned fish-farming with net pens in state waters, citing danger to struggling native salmon. Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz issued an executive order Friday banning this aquaculture method. California, Oregon and Alaska have already outlawed net pens. In 2017, a net pen operated by Cooke Aquaculture collapsed, releasing 260,000 nonnative Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound. The Canadian company argued that the fish were sterile and would not threaten native salmon stocks; after the collapse, they transitioned to raising native steelhead. But many Native American tribes and environmental groups still objected, saying that raised fish spread disease to wild populations and degrade the environment.