Archive for salmon

It Isn’t Mad Fish Disease, But It’s Not Nice, Either

We all do it. We buy a package of salmon, never thinking how the fish was raised. The sad truth is that the salmon was raised inside a mesh cage sized like a city block instead of swimming free in the ocean. It’s called net-pen farming, and Washington is joining California, Oregon, and Alaska in putting an end to it.

What’s Wrong With Commercial Fish Farming?

Let’s begin with caging something: you’ll have a waste problem, disease will spread from penned salmon to wild fish, there are lethal sea lice infestations, as well as products to kill parasites and other pests getting into the water. The price of salmon world-wide has risen as the result of such environmental issues.

Add to this the fact that the water in which the salmon are raised is used by the public. The net pen farming companies such as Cooke Aquaculture, who harvest salmon in Puget Sound pen farms, do nothing to filter or treat the water for impurities before its use by humans.

Since the net pen farm spill upheaval in 2017, the Cooke company’s pen leases have been canceled. The company’s operations in other countries were also closely inspected. All were found to be not compliant with state and industry safety guidelines and shut down.

As Cooke switches from salmon to steelhead, the tribes along with the population of Washington state are worried. They wonder about the farming of fish and its consequences for the wild fish in the area. Their own health and wellness are naturally matters of concern as well.

What’s The Answer?

Advocates of building a better mousetrap suggest containment facilities on land. Wild fish won’t swim by and become tainted with sea lice. The snag to that idea is not enough fish could be raised to answer the needs of ten billion people world-wide.

Better pens in the oceans, complete with filtering systems, easier methods of protecting the salmon from pests and parasites, in addition to better methods of cleaning up the waste, have been suggested, too. Both scenarios are being considered as the deadline for establishment of better methods draws nearer.

As the world population grows, food production becomes the question: can we double or triple food production? Can we do it without harming the Earth or the people needing that food? Banning net pen farms was a good start.

Tribe Sues Seattle Over Salmon Depletion

An alleged abuse of local salmons’ right to exist and flourish has the city of Seattle defending its hydroelectric energy supply in state and tribal courts.

The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe in a Saugk-Suiattle Tribal Court filing named Seattle as the sole defendant. The tribe says that the city’s three hydroelectric dams are killing off local salmon and negatively affecting the tribe’s cultural practices and traditions.

The tribe also says it filed the tribal lawsuit on behalf of the salmon. That makes salmon co-plaintiffs in the filing, which, refers to the salmon as Tsuladx in the tribe’s native language.

The tribe in its recently filed tribal court lawsuit says the salmon have natural rights to live and thrive, which the city of Seattle is violating. So the tribe filed the lawsuit on behalf of itself and the salmon.

Seattle owns three hydroelectric dams on the river. The tribe says that the dams were not constructed in a manner that enables the salmon to bypass the dams and continue their annual spawning migrations.

The Sauk-Suiattle tribe says the three dams do not allow passage of the salmon during annual spawning runs. And that is killing off the local fishery in the Skagit River.

The dams cited are the Diablo, Gorge, and Ross dams that comprise the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project in the northwest region of Washington State. The dams are located about 100 miles from Seattle and account for about 20 percent of the city’s electrical power.

The public utility Seattle City Light operates the three dams that are located along an eight-mile section of the Skagit River. The dams are situated within the Cascade Mountains and affect more than a third of the Skagit River watershed.

Salmon, trout, and steelhead live and spawn in those waters. The tribe says their numbers are much lower due to the dams and are negatively affecting tribal culture and practices. It also is violating the salmon’s natural right to live and thrive.

The tribal court lawsuit is in addition to one recently filed in King County Superior Court. Seattle has filed a counter lawsuit that seeks dismissal of the state and tribal suits. A federal court last year dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by the tribe against the city.