Ben Fisher

Reporting from Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

Ben Fisher is a Seattle-based freelance writer. Previously, he worked as night and copy editor at the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s largest English language newspaper, and as digital editor of Jewish Quarterly. He is fluent English, French, Hebrew, and Arabic.

Published on
January 16, 2019

The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation filed a claim in Vancouver federal court last Thursday against Canada’s federal government for authorizing licenses for 10 fish farms in tribal waters without consulting or seeking consent from the group. 

The Dzawada’enuxwm, from Kingcome Inlet, British Columbia, Canada, say that the net-pen Atlantic salmon farms owned by Marine Harvest and Cermaq along the British Columbia coast pollute and

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Published on
January 7, 2019

The new Pacific Salmon Treaty went into effect on the first of the year after the treaty’s last 10-year iteration expired on its own terms on 31 December. 

The Pacific Salmon Treaty is renegotiated every decade between the United States and Canada to govern salmon catch, research, and enhancement in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game made public last week the sections of the

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Published on
January 7, 2019

The Washington State Department of Ecology is accepting comments on permit renewals for four Cooke Aquaculture net-pen facilities in the state. 

If granted, the permits will remain in effect until a state ban on net-pen farming comes into effect in 2022.

Cooke leases the areas it uses for fish farming from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, but oversight of its adherences to its permits is also performed by

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Published on
January 4, 2019

An agreement signed by state, federal, and trial officials after many years of deliberations has resulted in changes to the spill policies on the Snake and Columbia rivers that will benefit young salmon, according to The Seattle Times

While the agreement is expected to increase the chance of survival of young fish, it was also careful to take into account the needs of the hydroelectricity companies that use the dams to create energy, so

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Published on
December 20, 2018

After a test required by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife showed that 800,000 of its juvenile farmed Atlantic salmon carried a strain of piscine orthoreovirus (PRV), Cooke Aquaculture Pacific destroyed the fish, according to the Seattle Times.

This is the second time the Canada-based company has had to destroy PRV-infected fish, the last time being in May 2017. The strain of PRV is the same that was found at the Icelandic

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Published on
November 26, 2018

Richard Beamish, a scientist recently retired from Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, is planning an expedition across the Gulf of Alaska to better understand changes in salmon stocks. 

Beamish, who is being financially supported by fish farm operators, said that scientists do not fully comprehend the rising and falling of wild salmon stocks. Beamish said the contract for the expedition had not yet been signed but that funding for

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Published on
November 7, 2018

In a midterm election which will likely have a significant impact on Alaska’s lucrative seafood industry, U.S. Representative Don Young was re-elected, State Senator Mike Dunleavy will become Alaska’s governor, and Ballot Measure 1, which sought to ensconce greater protections for salmon habitat, was defeated.

Young, the longest serving member of Congress (he has served since 1973), handily defeated his opponent, Alyse Galvin, who

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Published on
October 31, 2018

A sea lice infestation at Cermaq Canada’s Fortune Channel salmon farm caused the farm to be closed this past summer. 

The exact number of salmon that were euthanized was not disclosed, but according to Johnson, the company typically has “several hundred thousand fish” at each of the company’s farm sites. 

“Closing the site was the right thing to do as the fish were never going to recover well and would

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Published on
October 26, 2018

A U.S. Federal Court in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. has issued a ruling that is intended to protect salmon and steelhead trout in the Columbia River basin from rising water temperatures. 

In the mile-long lakes created by hydropower dams on the rivers, the water temperature has often exceeded 70 degrees Fahrenheit for days at a time, though the Clean Water Act bars the temperature in the river from exceeding 68 degrees. Cold water species

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Published on
October 24, 2018

With U.S. election day on 6 November just around the corner, Alaska Governor Bill Walker  shocked the state on 19 October by dropping out of his race for reelection.

Walker, an independent, said he realized he would not be able to win a three-way race, and has endorsed the Democratic candidate – former U.S. Senator Mark Begich – who faces former Republican State Senator Mike Dunleavy. Though Walker’s name will still be on

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