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Washington State Senate votes to phase out Atlantic salmon farms

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PostedMarch 3, 2018 by in International
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First Nations show Nancy Greene Raine, Harper govt positive alternative to open net fish farms

Atlantic salmon

Read this March 2 Seattle Time article on the Washington State Senate’s intense battle over a new bill to phase out Atlantic salmon farms following the escape of as many as 263,000 fish last summer:

Atlantic salmon net-pen farming will be phased out in Washington by 2025 under legislation passed by the state Senate on Friday after a tough floor fight and fancy parliamentary footwork.

With at least six lobbyists in a last-minute campaign, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific worked hard until the last vote Friday to keep its Atlantic salmon net-pen industry alive in Washington.

But in the end the bill, which was buried under a blizzard of amendments, each one defeated, passed on a vote of 31-16.

Lawmakers steamrollered through amendments by opponents of the bill to avoid sending it back for further review in the House.

With the 5 p.m. cutoff for passage of bills from the opposite chamber looming, senators had filed some 30 amendments. Using a parliamentary move, backers of the measure were able to continue debate past the cutoff to pass the bill at 6:30 p.m…

…The debate at times was bitter. “There are a lot of people making money today; out in the hall, we are not supposed to talk about that,” said Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, referring to lobbyists. “But the people not making money are the employees of Cooke Aquaculture.” She and other opponents of the bill said the state should not put people out of work.Cooke is one of the largest farmers of Atlantic salmon in the world with $2.5 billion in revenue last year, operations in six countries and 6,000 employees. Its operations in Washington, where it hopes to remain and expand, include net-pen operations in four locations around Puget Sound and an $8.5 million payroll in the state.

The legislation to phase out Atlantic salmon net-pen farming was the result of an escape last August from Cooke Aquaculture Pacific’s Atlantic salmon farm at Cypress Island, where as many as 263,000 fish were released into the Salish Sea. The incident ignited controversy over the industry.

Read full article here.

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