After farmed salmon break-out, Washington state says: “Please, go fishing.”
The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging the public to fish as they would in their wildest dreams — no limits on size or quantity!
Last weekend, an unknown number of farmed Atlantic salmon spilled out of a Cooke Aquaculture fish pen that held around 305,000 fish in the San Juan Islands — and today, the Lummi Nation declared a state of emergency as a result of the spill.
Lummi fishers have been catching and relying on native salmon for millennia, and are concerned that the farmed fish will threaten native species like the already-endangered Chinook.
While the spill was originally blamed on high eclipse tides (apparently you can blame eclipses for a lot of things), scientists found that explanation fishy since tides were higher in preceding months. The Wild Fish Conservancy blames this weekend’s spill on inadequate equipment.
That would be a reasonable argument against setting up more fish pens in the area — which was Cooke’s plan. The company had proposed another aquaculture project in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Port Angeles.
Penalties for Cooke are still up in the air.