Aquaculture North America

News
Governor Inslee urged to veto the fish farm ban

Supporters of salmon farming in the State of Washington are urging Governor Jay Inslee to veto the bill that would ban salmon aquaculture in the state.

HB 2957, which the state legislature passed on Friday with a vote of 31-16, will end state leases and permits for Atlantic salmon operations when current leases expire in 2022.

The Washington Fish Growers Association (WFGA) called the decision “Ill-conceived and politically motivated rather than based on the best available science.”

The bill now awaits Gov Inslee’s signature, who earlier has expressed support for the bill.

“We are appealing to Governor Inslee, a strong believer in science, to use his veto powers to put this nonsensical, punitive legislation to rest,” said Dan Swecker, Executive Director of the WFGA.

Canadian company Cooke Aquaculture, which has hired a number of lobbyists to help campaign against the bill, is threatening to sue the state under the North American Free Trade Agreement to recover its $76 million investment in Washington should the bill pass.

Joel Richardson, vice president for public relations at Cooke said earlier that “Cooke, as a Canadian foreign investor, has a credible claim for mandatory arbitration under NAFTA, which would compensate Cooke for our $70-plus million investment in Washington state, plus damages.”