WFC Submits Comments on Clean Water Act Permits for Salmon Farms in Puget Sound
Open net pen aquaculture in marine systems is not as extensive in Washington as it is in British Columbia, but the industry and the agencies that regulate it are making plans to expand Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound and other Washington marine waters. The Washington Department of Ecology recently invited public comments on pending Clean Water Act permits for eight existing private facilities that raise non-native Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Open net pen Atlantic salmon farming imposes well documented impacts on water quality and native aquatic species, including wild fish. The facilities discharge pollutants associated with fish feed and waste, release non-native species into wild-fish habitats through unintentional escapes, and may spread pathogens and parasites to native salmon populations. Wild Fish Conservancy submitted comments recommending that Ecology conduct a new alternatives analysis to investigate less damaging ways of raising these fish, submit the permits to "antidegradation review," and require the industry to conduct additional monitoring and studies to better describe impacts and assess cumulative effects.
Click here to read the full text of the Wild Fish Conservancy comments.