Washington state moves closer to banning fish farms raising Atlantic salmon

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      Washington is moving to prohibit the farming of Atlantic salmon in state waters.

      Based on records by the Washington State Legislature, the Senate on February 8 voted 35-12 in favour of a measure “protecting the state's marine waters from the release of nonnative finfish from marine finfish aquaculture sites”.

      Earlier in January this year, Washington state imposed a $332,000 fine on Cooke Aquaculture Pacific for the catastrophic collapse of its fish farm near Cypress Island last summer, resulting in the escape of a large number of Atlantic salmon.

      The Senate legislation mandates that the government will not enter into new leases “where the use includes marine finfish aquaculture of Atlantic salmon”.

      The records also show that a similar bill was introduced for first reading in the House of Representatives on February 9.

      Records likewise indicate that a public hearing in the House was held on January 18 this year on a bill titled ‘Prohibiting the spawning, incubation, and cultivation of Atlantic salmon in the marine waters regulated by the state’.