OLYMPIA – Critical legislation that protects the Salish Sea by banning leases for Atlantic salmon net pen operations was signed today by Gov. Inslee.

“The economic, cultural, and recreational resources of these incredible waters will no longer be jeopardized by the negligent actions of this industry,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker, prime sponsor of the Senate companion bill. “We’ve invested so much in trying to recover our wild pacific salmon populations, there is no sensible purpose for allowing non-native species into the Salish Sea. The day-to-day impact of invasive aquaculture — feces, disease, loose food pellets or lice — could have serious impacts. The state ban is a strong stance to ensure the protection of our marine environment and native salmon populations in the Salish Sea. I was proud to work with my seatmate, Rep. Kristine Lytton to advance this legislation to protect our precious Salish Sea.”

The legislation bans future leases for Atlantic salmon net pen operations and ends current leases when they expire, as well as creating a heightened inspection process for the current Atlantic salmon net pens. The Commissioner of Public Lands canceled leases at Cypress Island and Port Angeles. The current Hope Island and Rich Passage leases end in 2022.