SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state will phase out marine farming of Atlantic salmon and other nonnative fish by 2022 under legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Net pens growing Atlantic salmon in state waters have operated for several decades but the practice came under heavy criticism after tens of thousands of nonnative fish escaped into waterways last summer.
Inslee has said the risks are not acceptable given the high priority — and hundreds of millions of dollars spent — on bringing back declining populations of native Pacific salmon runs.
The legislation sponsored by Rep. Kristine Lytton, an Anacortes Democrat, would end state leases and permits for operations that grow nonnative fin fish in state waters when current leases expire.
It targets Canada's Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, the largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon in the U.S., whose net pens in northwest Washington collapsed Aug. 19.