#MigrationNation: The Threat of Atlantic Salmon

Growing non-native Atlantic salmon in open-water net pens in the habitat of endangered wild salmon: does that sound like a good idea? Absolutely not! The endangered Southern Resident orca community relies on wild Pacific Northwest salmon as their primary food supply, and what hurts wild salmon hurts the Southern Resident orcas.

Non-native Atlantic salmon farmed in net pens in the Salish Sea threaten wild Pacific salmon, the primary food for endangered Southern Resident orcas.

Washington is the only U.S. West Coast state that allows the dangerous practice of Atlantic salmon net pens. 

                                              Help us put an end to net pens in Washington! 

Call your local legislators (find out who your state delegates are and how to contact them) and tell them:

  • NO renewals of current leases in Washington.
  • NO new net pen leases in Washington.
  • NO more studies – the research is clear: Atlantic salmon hurt our wild Pacific salmon and our orcas!

Atlantic salmon can:

  • Spread disease and parasites to wild salmon.  Wild salmon with closer proximity to Atlantic salmon farms are more likely to be infected with sea lice and viruses than those in regions furthest from net pen facilities.
  • Send waste and contaminants into the ecosystem.  Open water facilities contaminate the surrounding water and ocean floor with feces, medicine, pesticides, and wasted food.
  • Outcompete and displace native salmon.  Atlantic salmon escaped from net pens in Canada have been found established and successfully reproducing in British Columbia rivers.  They compete with local endangered salmon for food, habitat, and spawning grounds.

The critically endangered Southern Resident orcas are already suffering from a lack of food.  We need to restore wild Pacific salmon populations to ensure the Southern Residents have an abundant and reliable food source.  After the Cypress Island net pen disaster in the summer of 2017, stakeholders have rallied to ban net pens in Washington State.  Help us protect wild salmon and the Southern Resident orcas.

Email, write, or call your Washington State lawmakers and ask them to take action to protect wild salmon and orcas from the harmful impacts of Atlantic salmon net pens. 

This action is for residents of Washington State only.  Legislative offices will not respond to or count out-of-state calls.  If you are not a resident of Washington State, please keep following #MigrationNation for updates and future actions on how you can help salmon, rivers, and the Southern Residents.  WDC is part of the Our Sound, Our Salmon coalition working to end Atlantic salmon net pens in Washington State.