Spurred to action by a Washington chapter network resolution (PDF), Audubon Washington worked with a broad coalition to pass HB 2957 and successfully phase out non-native fish farming in Washington state by 2022. Along the west coast, Washington is the only state where Atlantic salmon net pen farming is allowed. Oregon and California previously enacted preventative legislation to protect our shared native salmon populations—now Washington has done the same.
Already threatened by development, climate change, ocean acidification, and decreased food resources, non-native net pen farming further degrades our marine environment with excess fecal matter, fish pellets, and introduced chemicals. HB 2957 protects Washington waters from these unnecessary pollutants. The bill also provides some funding for our agencies to increase assessments of structural integrity at existing facilities and update the state guidance on net pen aquaculture.
This is a huge win for Washington’s birds and marine ecosystem, decreasing pollution and disease risks, and enabling agencies to focus on the conservation of our native salmon species. This bipartisan legislation is a win for birds, our native fish, and shoreline communities.