Washington State lawmakers approve bill banning salmon farming
The Washington State Legislature on Friday voted to pass HB 2957, which would end state leases and permits for Atlantic salmon operations when current leases expire in 2022.
The Senate passed the bill on a 31-16 vote and it now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for signing, who earlier expressed his support for the bill.
The bill’s passage signals defeat for Cooke Aquaculture, which has fought hard against it. ““We are deeply disappointed in the action taken by the Legislature today and the potential impact it could have on Washington’s 30-year salmon-farming industry and the more than 600 rural workers and their families that rely upon salmon farming for their livelihoods. Our employees remain our top priority, and we wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to the many lawmakers who have consistently advocated on their behalf during this process,” said the company’s Vice President of Public Relations, Joel Richardson.
He said that as an immediate next step, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific will take the time it needs to fully evaluate its operations and investments in Washington and explore all options available to it.
Earlier, several concerned scientists wrote an Open Letter to the Washington Legislature asking for the opportunity to provide a science briefing prior to a vote on House Bill 2957. Aquaculture industry officials have also urged lawmakers to base their decision facts rather than anti-farming propaganda and misinformation.