Tag Archives: Wild Fish Conservancy

Judge hears lawsuit over fish farms in Puget Sound

Whether Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to raise native steelhead at fish farms in Puget Sound is a simple business transition or a complex threat to the marine ecosystem is being debated in King County Superior Court. Judge Johanna Bender heard testimony Thursday over Zoom in a lawsuit environment groups brought against the state Department of Fish & Wildlife for granting a permit to the seafood company to raise steelhead. “Did the department make a mistake in comparing the impacts of one type of stock to another, as opposed to comparing it to Puget Sound without fish farming at all?” she said.,, , the state Legislature passed a law that phases out Atlantic salmon net pen aquaculture by 2022 >click to read< 15:48

A win for Alaska trollers – Judge denied request for injunction to keep season closed

Magistrate Judge Michelle Peterson, of the US District Court of Western Washington, ruled on Tuesday (6-9-20) that an injunction petition filed by a Washington state environmental organization to protect killer whales circumvents established fisheries law. During oral arguments before her in May (5-28-20), Judge Peterson put hard questions to counsel for the Wild Fish Conservancy about whether the federal court had jurisdiction over the case, when the matter had not been tested before the Alaska Board of Fisheries, or the National Marine Fisheries Service — organizations which have regulated fisheries for the last four decades under the overall umbrella of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. So Judge Peterson’s ruling wasn’t unexpected. Nevertheless Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Conservancy,  says he’s disappointed. >click to read< 08:14

Judge weighs shutting down Southeast Alaska Chinook fishery

Fishermen in Southeast Alaska could see their season cut short if a federal judge issues an injunction requested by a Washington environmental group to protect the food supply of a subpopulation of orcas. The Wild Fish Conservancy filed a lawsuit against NOAA,,, “We are getting blamed for harvesting their food source, which really isn’t the cause of the problem,” Amy Daughery, executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association said. “The problem as we see it, is the exponential population growth in Seattle, which has lead to a lot of toxicity and pollution and habitat loss in that area. And so these whales are really struggling, this one population. The Northern killer whales that we see off the coast of Southeast Alaska are doing very well. In fact they’ve increased.” >click to read< 10:19

Destroying a fishery will not save Southern Resident Killer Whales – Scientists say feed starving whales farmed salmon

In less than two weeks, a Seattle-based federal judge will decide the fate of some 1,600 Southeast Alaska salmon trollers—fishermen who are already looking at the lowest allotment of Chinook in 20 years, largely due to the past three Pacific Salmon Treaty agreements that have cut, by two-thirds, their allocation of these high-value, sought-after fish. If you haven’t been following the trade press or Alaska media in the past few weeks, you may not know that this group of largely rural Alaska fishermen are today facing the unthinkable: being put out of business—collateral damage as the result of a lawsuit filed by a Washington state-based NGO, the Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC), against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In the lawsuit, WFC seeks a Preliminary Injunction to stop the Southeast Alaska summer troll fishery, alleging that NMFS has failed to allow enough king (Chinook) salmon to return to Puget Sound to feed endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales,,, >click to read< 08:16

Feed starving whales farmed salmon, say scientists – “You could use well boats to deliver the farmed fish to where the whales feed.” >click to read<

SE Alaska Chinook controversy attracts more user groups

A controversy over whether NOAA Fisheries is properly managing Chinook salmon stocks in Southeast Alaska, with consideration for a hungry whale population in decline, has been joined by sport and charter fishermen who say Alaska is not the problem. The environmental organization SalmonState, along with the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Alaska Trollers Association said on Monday, April 27, that sport and charter harvesters have joined them in support of NOAA Fisheries in a lawsuit brought by Wild Fish Conservancy, of Duvall, Washington. The group characterizes as misguided the decision of WFC to sue NOAA Fisheries in federal court to halt Chinook salmon trolling in Southeast Alaska effective July 1. >click to read< 16:15

Trollers side with NMFS in Chinook litigation – Endangered whales compete with increasing populations of seals, sea lions

Litigation to halt the Southeast Alaska king salmon fishery to provide sustenance for Southern Resident Killer Whales is prompting commercial trollers to intervene in the lawsuit brought by the Washington state based Wild Fish Conservancy. The Alaska Trollers Association in Juneau voted on Tuesday, April 21, to insert itself into the defense of the lawsuit filed in mid-March against the National Marine Fisheries Service and the subsequent injunction against king salmon fishing and the troll fishery specifically. >click to read< 15:41

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sued Over Steelhead Farming in Puget Sound

Environmental and conservation groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife over the agency’s recent decision to allow Cooke Aquaculture to rear farmed steelhead trout in Puget Sound. The suit, filed in the Superior Court of Washington, alleges that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a permit to allow steelhead fish feedlots, a type of fish-farming practice, to operate in the complex waterways of Puget Sound without any consideration of the consequences they would have on the environment. >click to read< 13:01

Suit targets Alaska salmon management to protect southern killer whales

The Wild Fish Conservancy filed notice on January 9, stating its intentions to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for violating the Endangered Species Act, and jeopardizing the existence of Southern Resident Killer Whales. The Conservancy argues that an important food supply of the whales, endangered stocks of chinook salmon originating in Puget Sound, the lower Columbia River, the Willamette River, and Snake River is being depleted by the commercial troll and sport harvest in Southeast Alaska. >click to read< 20:51

Cooke Aquaculture agrees to pay $2.75M to settle lawsuit over salmon net-pen collapse

Cooke Aquaculture has reached a settlement to pay $2.75 million in legal fees and to fund Puget Sound restoration projects, putting an end to a Clean Water Act lawsuit that followed the 2017 collapse of one of the fish-farming company’s net-pen structures.,,, The legal settlement, which awaits federal officials’ review and a judge’s signature, bookends a contentious and litigious chapter in the fight over fish farming in Washington waters that resulted in the termination of some of Cooke’s leases, a $332,000 fine to Cooke from state regulators and a ban on farming nonnative fish, >click to read< 12:09

An experiment on the river – Researchers hope fish trap will be safer for wild fish

Fish traps have been outlawed in the Pacific Northwest for decades, but researchers plan to test an experimental trap in the Columbia River in hopes that it will be safer for wild fish than traditional fishing methods. Adrian Tuohy, a biologist and project manager for the Wild Fish Conservancy, said the proposed fish trap, also called a pound net, would be put in the Oregon side of the river so biologists can monitor how many fish are in the river and how many wild fish survive after being released. >click to read< 16:36

Canadian firm’s steelhead trout farm plan under the microscope after salmon escapes

Last month, a net pen used for fish farming and operated by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific began to dip below the surface off Bainbridge Island. A hole in a pontoon left the structure’s southeast corner partially submerged. Repairs were eventually made. But now as the New Brunswick-based Cooke seeks to farm steelhead trout — instead of the nonnative Atlantic salmon that state law will soon ban — the incident has caught the attention of state regulators. >click to read<  12:58

Charter fishing fleet casts wary eye toward possible fishing cutbacks to save orcas

Pacific Northwesterners are undeniably fond of their endangered resident killer whales. Many locals are also fans of salmon fishing, a hobby that sustains charter fishing fleets in coastal harbors from Neah Bay, Washington, to Brookings, Oregon. But now there is a chance future fishing trips on the ocean could be curtailed to leave more food for the killer whales. Regulators are preparing to reassess the Pacific salmon harvest and an environmental lawsuit seeks more action to save orcas. >click to read<

Environmental groups sue to restrict salmon fishing for Northwest orcas

The Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a lawsuit nearly two decades ago to force the U.S. government to list the orcas as endangered, and the Wild Fish Conservancy asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday to order officials to reconsider a 2009 finding that commercial and recreational fisheries did not jeopardize the orcas’ survival. >Video, click to read<10:09

Conservation groups threaten lawsuit against Trump administration over salmon fishing

Two conservation groups say the federal government is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider how salmon fishing off the West Coast is affecting endangered killer whales. The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity and the Washington state-based Wild Fish Conservancy on Tuesday notified President Donald Trump’s administration that they intend to file a lawsuit within 60 days unless officials reevaluate whether the fishing further jeopardizes orcas that frequent the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. Video, >click to read<15:39

Columbia River commercial fishery could hinge on century-old method

A series of nets strung between pilings just off the Columbia River shore may offer a glimpse of the future of commercial fishing in the river, even though it harkens back to the fishing practices of a century ago. But some gillnetters say that the experimental fish trap, also known as a pound net, is just another unworkable idea for catching salmon that threatens their livelihoods. One morning last week, researchers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Wild Fish Conservancy worked the fish trap set in the Columbia a few miles upstream of Cathlamet, near Nassa Point. >click to read<09:34

Fish traps of past may help future of Columbia salmon

The once-outlawed commercial fishing technique has been generating fresh interest in the face of declining wild salmon runs and might offer a less lethal way of handling wild salmon while harvesting hatchery fish for the consumer. Fish traps were once used broadly in the Northwest during the early part of the last century to harvest salmon for the canneries, but they were eventually outlawed because they caught too many fish.,, Jim Wells is a member of the lower Columbia River gill-net fleet, and after the conservation group published its findings on the traps he did a little bit of research. Using the catch data from the trap, he figured just how many sell-able fish they had caught during this last season. click here to read the story 14:52

Fish traps for Columbia River salmon get another look

More than eight decades after their demise, fish traps are getting a fresh look from researchers convinced they offer a more sustainable way to catch Columbia River salmon. These traps are formed by nets attached to pilings that gently guide the fish into a kind of underwater corral. Wild fish protected under the federal Endangered Species Act can be released to resume their upstream journey, while their more abundant hatchery brethren are sent to the processors. These traps are formed by nets attached to pilings that gently guide the fish into a kind of underwater corral. Wild fish protected under the federal Endangered Species Act can be released to resume their upstream journey, while their more abundant hatchery brethren are sent to the processors. click here to read the story 12:55

Protest seeks shutdown of Atlantic salmon farms in Washington state

Activists in Washington state plan to launch a protest flotilla on Saturday in the Pacific Ocean’s Puget Sound over the accidental release of tens of thousands of farm-raised Atlantic salmon that they say threaten dwindling stocks of wild fish. The afternoon protest, which seeks to shut down farms that raise the non-native salmon in underwater pens, is expected to draw dozens of boats, kayaks and canoes on a route along the San Juan Islands where the spill happened.  That raised fears they would compete with wild fish for food, prey on the young, and expose them to disease. Protesters said native fish like Chinook salmon and steelhead trout were already struggling before the spill. click here to read the story 13:26

Marine feedlots and the tide against wild fish

In a time of eclipse, for the People of the Salmon the moment was catastrophic. At the height of their season for the most prized of wild salmon in the Salish Sea, Lummi fishermen south of Cypress Island hauled in several flaccid, broken-mouthed farm fish, the first of thousands of Atlantic salmon that had escaped from a failed pen. They knew something was terribly wrong. Days would pass before Cooke Aquaculture, a subsidiary of the international company responsible for the pen, would stop blaming the sun and moon, and admit to the full scale of the collapse.  click here to read the story

First Nations, environmentalists occupy salmon farm in British Columbia – A group of First Nations and environmentalists are occupying a salmon farm near Alert Bay, B.C., and say they won’t leave until the provincial and federal governments revoke permits for the facility. click here to read the story 10:43

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program – 2017 Awards

NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million to partners around the country to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects through its . Bycatch of various species–fish, marine mammals, or turtles–can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts. Preventing and reducing bycatch is a shared goal of fisheries managers, the fishing industry, and the environmental community. click here to read the notice 14:10

Wild fish advocates threaten to sue over Columbia hatcheries

Funding of chinook, coho and steelhead fish hatchery programs throughout the Columbia River Basin is being challenged by wild fish advocates who contend that hatchery fish adversely affect struggling native fish stocks. On Wednesday, the Wild Fish Conservancy based in Duvall, Washington, issued a 60-day notice of intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Department of Commerce for funding. Columbia Basin hatchery programs under the Mitchell Act without complying with provisions of the Endangered Species Act. Read the article here 10:22

Salmon Farms Blamed for Virus Outbreak

salmon-face2Commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound are harming wild salmon but the federal government refuses to act, the Wild Fish Conservancy claims in court. A virus outbreak in 2012 at farms off Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound “likely had significant adverse effects on the wild fish,” but the government will not reconsider a 2011 determination that commercial farms do not significantly impact threatened wild salmon, according to the Nov. 4 lawsuit in Federal Court. Read the rest here 08:51

Conservation group sues to stop commercial salmon farms

The Wild Fish Conservancy filed a lawsuit Wednesday against federal environmental and fisheries managers for allowing . The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle claims that infectious viruses in salmon farms are threatening wild fish in the region. The National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded in 2011 that commercial salmon farms are not likely to have an adverse effect on wild salmon, the lawsuit said. But the following year, it said, there was an infectious virus outbreak,,, Read the rest here 15:04

Who Let the Fish Out: Fish Hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest – vigilante fisherman? or some eco crazed fanatic?!!

Early in the morning of May 13th, 2014, an unknown fish vigilante stole into the Tokul Creek Fish Hatchery in the suburbs of Seattle and cut the padlocks on the juvenile steelhead trout pens, opening the passage between the hatchery and the river.  Read more here 10:20