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Hawai'i CFS

In Huge Win for Oceans, Washington State Bans All Commercial Net Pen Aquaculture

November 18th, 2022
Center for Food Safety

SEATTLE, WA—Today, Washington State issued an executive order prohibiting all commercial net pen aquaculture in the state's marine waters. This is a huge victory for ocean ecologies and our environment. The order, issued by Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, follows the Washington Department of Natural Resource's decision earlier this week to reject a new decade-long lease for global seafood giant, Cooke Aquaculture—preventing the company from continuing to operate commercial net pens in Puget Sound. Cooke Aquaculture's operation allowed over 260,000 nonnative and viral-infected Atlantic salmon to escape into Puget Sound in 2017, wreaking havoc on local ecosystems. Together, the lease denial and executive order will require Cooke to remove all their net pen facilities from Puget Sound before the end of year, marking the end of the commercial net pen industry that has polluted Washington state waters for over 40 years.

"We are overjoyed at this historic decision and hope that other states will follow suit and protect their coastal communities and precious wildlife from the harms of industrial fish farms," said Amy van Saun, senior attorney with CFS. "Now we must ensure that our federal waters are also protected from the factory farms of the sea and CFS will continue to fight attempts to privatize and pollute our oceans."

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