NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Victory! Legislature sends Governor Inslee bill banning invasive fish farms from our waters

A bill that would phase out the farm­ing of inva­sive, non­na­tive fish in Wash­ing­ton’s waters and entire­ly pro­hib­it it in the future has left the Leg­is­la­ture tonight and is on its way to Gov­er­nor Inslee fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful vote in the Senate.

Engrossed House Bill 2957, prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Krys Lyt­ton (D‑40th Dis­trict: Belling­ham, San Juan Islands, Ana­cortes, Mount Ver­non) will put an end to the destruc­tive activ­i­ties of Cooke Aqua­cul­ture, which cur­rent­ly has four fish farms in Wash­ing­ton’s waters. The Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources has ordered the com­pa­ny to shut down two of them (locat­ed at Port Ange­les and Cypress Island respec­tive­ly) and is look­ing at tak­ing fur­ther action against the remain­ing two.

“Inves­ti­ga­tions into the August col­lapse have shown that the indus­try facil­i­ties are in dis­re­pair and safe and secure facil­i­ties are not being main­tained. The prob­lems should have been addressed by the indus­try long ago. Our native salmon are an endan­gered species that the Leg­is­la­ture is work­ing hard to recov­er and this leg­is­la­tion ensures that non­na­tive fin­fish will not be a threat,” said Lytton.

Under EHB 2957, cur­rent leas­es will be ter­mi­nat­ed when they expire (unless they are ter­mi­nat­ed soon­er for lease vio­la­tions), while future leas­es will be banned.

“Cur­rent facil­i­ties will be sub­ject to a height­ened inspec­tion process and state agen­cies are direct­ed to con­tin­ue work­ing on guid­ance for plan­ning and per­mit­ting of com­mer­cial marine net pen aqua­cul­ture,” notes a news release from the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus, which cel­e­brat­ed the bil­l’s passage.

“It was great work­ing with Kris as she maneu­vered through a lot of dif­fi­cult per­son­al­i­ties to get a pol­i­cy solu­tion that’s going to be what’s best for the 40th Dis­trict,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jeff Mor­ris, Lyt­ton’s seatmate.

“The state ban is a strong stance to ensure the pro­tec­tion of our marine envi­ron­ment and native salmon pop­u­la­tions in the Sal­ish Sea,” said Sen­a­tor Kevin Ranker, prime spon­sor of the com­pan­ion bill in the Senate.

(Ranker is Lyt­ton and Mor­ris’ coun­ter­part in the Senate.)

“I want to thank Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kris­tine Lyt­ton for her key sup­port and lead­er­ship in the House to keep this issue going for­ward. Wash­ing­to­ni­ans will no longer accept this risky indus­try in our state waters,” Ranker added.

“We have invest­ed far too much in the restora­tion of our Sal­ish Sea. The eco­nom­ic, cul­tur­al, and recre­ation­al resources of these incred­i­ble waters will no longer be jeop­ar­dized by the neg­li­gent actions of this industry.”

The roll call in the Sen­ate on final pas­sage of EHB 2957 was as follows:

Roll Call
EHB 2957
Non­na­tive fin­fish escape
3rd Read­ing & Final Passage

Yeas: 31; Nays: 16; Absent: 1; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Angel, Bil­lig, Chase, Cleve­land, Con­way, Darneille, Dhin­gra, Fain, For­tu­na­to, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hunt, Keis­er, Kud­er­er, Liias, McCoy, Milos­cia, Mul­let, Nel­son, O’Ban, Palum­bo, Ped­er­sen, Ranker, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Shel­don, Takko, Van De Wege, Well­man, Zeiger

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Bai­ley, Baum­gart­ner, Beck­er, Braun, Brown, Erick­sen, Hon­ey­ford, King, Pad­den, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Wag­oner, Walsh, War­nick, Wilson

Absent: Sen­a­tor Carlyle

Excused: Sen­a­tor Hobbs

The Sen­ate’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers all vot­ed for the bill with the excep­tion of Sen­a­tors Reuven Car­lyle and Steve Hobbs, who were not present. They were joined by Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jan Angel, Joe Fain, Phil For­tu­na­to, Brad Hawkins, Mark Milos­cia, Steve O’Ban, Tim Shel­don, and Hans Zeiger.

The Sen­ate reject­ed dozens of attempts by the oth­er Sen­ate Repub­li­cans to amend the bill, defeat­ing a pletho­ra of amend­ments offered by Shel­ley Short and Jim Hon­ey­ford, who are both from East­ern Washington.

In the House, the roll call in favor of the bill last month was as follows:

Roll Call
EHB 2957
Non­na­tive fin­fish escape
Final Passage

Yeas: 67; Nays: 31

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Apple­ton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Caldier, Chap­man, Clib­born, Cody, Doglio, Dolan, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Good­man, Graves, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Hansen, Hayes, Hud­gins, Irwin, Jink­ins, John­son, Kagi, Kil­duff, Kir­by, Klo­ba, Lovick, Lyt­ton, MacEwen, Macri, McBride, McCabe, McDon­ald, Mor­ris, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pel­lic­ciot­ti, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Rodne, Ryu, San­tos, Sawyer, Sells, Senn, Slat­ter, Smith, Springer, Stam­baugh, Stan­ford, Stokes­bary, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tar­leton, Tharinger, Valdez, Vick, Wilcox, Wylie, Young, Chopp

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Buys, Chan­dler, Con­dot­ta, DeBolt, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Haler, Har­grove, Harmsworth, Har­ris, Holy, Jenkin, Klip­pert, Kraft, Kretz, Kris­tiansen, Man­weller, May­cum­ber, McCaslin, Muri, Nealey, Orcutt, Pike, Schmick, Shea, Steele, Tay­lor, Van Wer­ven, Volz, Walsh

As in the Sen­ate, all nay votes came from Repub­li­cans, who were split on the bill.

NPI called for leg­is­la­tion to ban the farm­ing of inva­sive fish last autumn, and we are delight­ed that the Leg­is­la­ture has fol­lowed up by pass­ing this bill. We’d like to see oth­er press­ing prob­lems receive this kind of prompt response in the future.

We look for­ward to the day when Cooke Aqua­cul­ture is out of Wash­ing­ton’s waters. The Sal­ish Sea is a trea­sure that belongs to every­one. It’s worth protecting.

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