Editor’s note: Cooke Aquaculture released thousands of Atlantic salmon, an invasive species, into the Salish Sea on the weekend of Aug. 19.
By Tom Wooten
Tribal Chairman, Samish Indian Nation
The Samish Indian Nation is encouraged and pleased by the decision of the Washington Department of Natural Resources to end Cook Aquaculture’s lease for Atlantic salmon net-pen operations in Port Angeles. Net-pen farming of Atlantic salmon in the Salish Sea represents a direct threat to the delicate balance of our local ecosystem and could have a long-lasting impact on the viability of our native salmon and the species that depend on them for generations to come, the J pod of orcas in particular. We are proud to stand in support with our friends and family in British Columbia fighting the good fight to remove fish farms from the Northern Salish Sea.
Now it’s time for the state to go a step further and join our neighbors in Oregon and California that have laws forbidding net-pen operations. The time is now for Washington state to take a stand and join our neighbors to say that our native ecosystem takes priority over the commercial farming of an invasive species in our waters. Enough is enough.