Employees from the US Pacific coast arm of Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture, wearing rubber boots and their work clothes, packed a hearing room in the state of Washington on January 9, the Seattle Times reports. The workers were there, paid as if they were on company time, to protect their jobs raising Atlantic salmon. 

The hearing, in Olympia, was to discuss Senate Bill 6086, a measure that would phase out the state’s aquaculture industry by – among other changes — blocking any new leases for new facilities and the renewal of existing permits as they expire, with all permits terminated by 2025. The bill was introduced by Democratic senator Kevin Ranker following the escape last summer of more than 160,000 fish from Cooke’s Cypress Island farm.

“The risks of these invasive species with vaccines, antibiotics and color dye have been with us for too long,” Democratic senator and co-sponsor Maralyn Chase reportedly said. “If we want to make any return on the investments in projects to save native fish, we need to remove competitive, invasive species from wild fish habitat.”


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