By Pepper Fisher
PORT ANGELES – Friday’s announcement that Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz was permanently banning all commercial net-pen fish farming forever in state-administered waters was not well received by the Jamestown S Tribe ‘Klallah.
Later that day, the tribe issued a statement denouncing the decision, calling it “irresponsible”, “political” and “highly undemocratic”.
The tribe intended to build a net pen facility in Port Angeles Harbor, in partnership with Canadian company Cooke Aquaculture, and farm rainbow trout and sablefish. They were waiting for a rental contract from the DNR when Franz made his announcement.
The tribe said in its statement that the decision to ban net pens is “…a denial of what science has proven: marine aquaculture in net pens is safe for the environment and the medium. most sustainable and climate-friendly way to feed the world”.
They said the decision was “designed to appease misinformed activist groups who refuse to admit that the wide range of scientific studies show us that well-regulated aquaculture is not a threat to the environment. or wild salmon,” and pointed out that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a biological opinion that net-pen facilities would have “little or no negative impact on native species such as endangered salmon, killer whales or their habitat”.
The Jamestown Tribe urges the DNR “to reverse this misinformed order, follow science over politics, and continue to allow well-regulated, environmentally responsible marine net aquaculture in Puget Sound.”
It should be noted that several tribes in Puget Sound applaud the decision to ban fish farming in net pens.
Fish farming in net pens has already been banned in California, Oregon and Alaska.