Farmed and dangerous: Puget Sound protesters float their ideas

Puget Sound was the scene of a protest flotilla on Saturday, Sept. 16. Well timed as a response to the Aug. 19 catastrophic collapse of an Atlantic salmon net pen in Washington state waters, the organizers said the protest was actually planned before last month’s spill.

The flotilla, which steamed around a (working) Cooke Aquaculture pen, was organized to decry three decades of salmon farming in Puget Sound, but it gained much more attention following the Cooke Aquaculture net pen disaster.

Hundreds of protesters on dozens of boats met at Fort Ward Park on Bainbridge Island and streamed into Rich Passage to show solidarity on seiners, skiffs, gillnetters, tenders, sailboats, charter boats and a variety of personal watercraft, complete with inflatable salmon, orca and protest signs. A drone video from Sam George captured the huge block red letters reading Protect Our Sound.

“For years, people have been baffled by the fact that Washington state chose to actively promote an industry that so directly contradicts the values of Washingtonians and so clearly harms the natural health and character of our home,” says a statement on the Our Sound, Our Salmon Facebook page. “In the past, we’ve seen massive viral outbreaks, large escape events, and a relentless disregard for the needs of wild salmon recovery in the Northwest.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the Department of Ecology to put on hold any new mariculture permits, including salmon farm net pens, in the days following the spill.

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman.

  • Ray Forsman

    Simply google up Washington State Constitution Art XV Harbors…….the state shall “never” lease, loan, sell etc to any private person, corporation, or person any rights in the waters outside the harbors”……

    Washington State is incapable of obeying its own constitution.

    If you are a big enough “client” even the state constitution is tossed out which was written in1889 to protect the resources from all falling into total entrenprenership.

    So much for law.

    So in the end, a foreign guy can own a salmon farm but if you don’t own a salmon farm, they hunt you down like a dog and ship your butt outta here.
    .

  • TK

    “For years, people have been baffled by the fact that Washington state chose to actively promote an industry that so directly contradicts the values of Washingtonians and so clearly harms the natural health and character of our home,” says a statement on the Our Sound, Our Salmon Facebook page.”

    Pure emotionalism.
    Fancy flowery language without physical meaning or reality; classic NIMBY whines.
    A) The author presumes to own a moral high ground.
    B) The author pretends direct fault regarding “salmon farming “for damage to their “home”. Unqualified, unproven; all personal opinion.

    That Facebook page sells swill, rumor and innuendo designed to frighten and if possible to emotionally outrage citizens.

    Or perhaps delinquent salmon snuck up and vandalized their house and property? Those farmed salmon certainly do not write up a webpage decrying the anti-farmed salmon activists.

    “In the past, we’ve seen massive viral outbreaks, large escape events, and a relentless disregard for the needs of wild salmon recovery in the Northwest.”

    A) Those salmon caught their virus from wild fish, perhaps even wild salmon. The owner of the salmon destroyed the entire farm of fish and sterilized all nets and equipment.

    -* What other aspect of salmon fishing acts with such care or precaution?

    B) “Escape events”; so what!? If those farmed salmon are so degraded, they will not survive nature. If by some chance, farmed salmon are strong enough to wander the ocean then return to a spawning ground; then perhaps that salmon does have valuable genes to pass on?

    C) “relentless disregard for the needs of wild salmon recovery in the Northwest”. How does that actually work?

    -* Fish farms are not placed in spawning runs.

    -* Fish farms do not impede or obstruct returning salmon.

    Basically, just more emotional opinion insinuating that farmed salmon and salmon farmers are evil.

    Why!?

    Why such dire portrayals?

    Do these protest(s) revolve around NIMBYism?

    Protestors that falsely frame facts and make outrageous unproven claims, smacking of “not in my back yard” bored activists living sheltered suburban and urban lifestyles.

    Wild salmon recovery is not restricted by fish farms.

    Wild salmon recovery involves:
    -* proper river flows,
    -* clean spawning grounds,
    -* proper in range river temperatures,
    -* sufficient spawning stock reaching spawning grounds. i.e. salmon are not interdicted upon the high sea and harvested by foreign interests; then successfully run a gauntlet of seiners, warm estuary waters, polluted river waters, bank fisher persons, bears, etc.
    -* A proper and sufficient salmon food profile to sustain wild salmon from hatch till salmon return to the sea.

    None of these needs revolve around or are impeded by fish farms.

    Perhaps jealously motivates some protestors? Based, I presume, on the assumption that salmon farmers can almost depend upon a salmon harvest?

    The truly sad fact is that without salmon farmers, salmon would be beyond the price of most Americans and rarely visit our dinner tables.
    Wild salmon receives a price premium over farmed salmon. Boasting better flavor, texture, color and fragrance, wild salmon is an infrequent in season dinner treat.
    Reducing supplies of farmed salmon would cause the price of wild salmon, when available, to heights out of normal salaries. A simple supply-demand problem.
    Reduced supplies that eliminate new generations from regularly eating salmon.
    Placing wild salmon into exotic dinner status means many millions of Americans will not learn to appreciate and treasure salmon dinners.
    Perhaps, in the long run, that would be the best solution for restoring wild salmon fisheries? Eliminate salmon as a frequent available food?
    We might as well ban all salmon fishing to help that proves along.
    Bringing us back to the classic NIMBY protest. Protests based on selfish interests, not community or regional interests. NIMBY’s selfishly assume that somebody somewhere else one else will fill all needs in spite of restrictions. None of them consider that negative outcomes are the only courses left.

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