OLYMPIA – After the Atlantic Salmon net pen collapse occurred last August, the Legislature determined that action was needed to protect native salmon populations. Representative Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, led the effort along with seatmate Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mt. Vernon, to phase out farming of nonnative finfish in Washington state waters. The bill, HB 2957, passed the Senate today by a vote of 31-16.
“Investigations into the August collapse have shown that the industry facilities are in disrepair and safe and secure facilities are not being maintained. The problems should have been addressed by the industry long ago. Our native salmon are an endangered species that the Legislature is working hard to recover and this legislation ensures that nonnative finfish will not be a threat,” said Lytton.
HB 2957 bans future leases and ends current leases when they expire, ending the practice of nonnative fish farming in the state. Current facilities will be subject to a heightened inspection process and state agencies are directed to continue working on guidance for planning and permitting of commercial marine net pen aquaculture.
“It was great working with Kris as she maneuvered through a lot of difficult personalities to get a policy solution that’s going to be what’s best for the 40th District,” said Morris.
The bill continues on to the governor for approval.