Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Washington's Net-Pen Fish Farm Ban Has Canadian Consequences

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Washington's Net-Pen Fish Farm Ban Has Canadian Consequences

Article excerpt

Washington's net-pen fish farm ban hurts N.B. business


SEATTE, Wash. - A conservationist says Washington state legislature's recent decision to phase out ocean-based Atlantic salmon farms shows how pushing a species' biological limits can be bad for Canadian business.

Neville Crabbe of Canada's Atlantic Salmon Federation said a bill passed by Washington state lawmakers could pose "incredible business loss" for New Brunswick-based company Cooke Aquaculture.

Cooke Aquaculture said in a written statement that it is "deeply disappointed" with Friday's vote to phase out ocean-based net-pen farms -- where fish are raised in pens made of netting that allows water to flow freely between the containment area and marine environment -- as leases come up for renewal over the next seven years.

The bill was passed in response to an incident last summer when high winds collapsed the pens of a fish farm owned by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific.

The incident let up to 263,000 Atlantic salmon loose into the Pacific Ocean, raising concerns the invasive fish could harm native Pacific salmon runs.

Canada's eastern waters have seen similar escapes, said Crabbe, which can have a devastating impact when the farmed fish breed with wild Atlantic salmon to create "hybrids" that are less capable of survival.

"Wherever the open net-pen industry is established on the east coast of North America, the wild salmon populations have plummeted," he said.

He said he doesn't think Atlantic Canada will follow Washington's lead in phasing out net-pen farming, but said provincial officials should take note of what happened in the state as they seek to expand the industry in the region.

Washington state officials have fined Cooke Aquaculture US$332,000 for the escape of the invasive salmon.

Crabbe said he thinks Atlantic Canada could see similar calls for accountability and stricter regulations regarding escapes and disease outbreaks.

"After the spill, (Cooke Aquaculture) ... characterized it primarily a business loss, and I think now what's happened is likely an incredible business loss for them," he said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.