Washington ban makes entire US West Coast off-limits for net-pen finfish aquaculture

A salmon net-pen in the U.S. state of Washington.

The U.S. state of Washington has banned commercial finfish net-pen aquaculture.

An executive order issued by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on 18 November, 2022, will prohibit any net-pen aquaculture on state-owned aquatic lands. The move came in response to the 2017 collapse of a net-pen farm operated by Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture that led to the escape of hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon. It does not apply to hatcheries that have an environmental restoration mission or that boost native stocks.

The executive order came four days after the DNR canceled leases for Cooke’s last two net-pen farms in Puget Sound. Previously, Cooke had lost leases for several of the farming sites it had operated since its acquisitions of Icicle Seafoods in 2016. Cooke has challenged the termination of several of its leases and the litigation is still pending ... 

Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Natural Resources

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