Washington State Senator Wants to Ban Fish Farming and Urges BC to Do the Same

Washington state senator Kevin Ranker will introduce a bill to ban open net-pen fish farming in his state, reports the Times Colonist. Ranker represents Orcas Islands, where more than 100,000 Atlantic salmon escaped from a fish factory farm in July.

The Democratic state senator said that if his legislation passes, fish farms will be out of Washington waters by 2025, with current leases expiring within seven years. The bill ensures job training for any displaced workers.

Senator Ranker is calling on elected officials in British Columbia to take action as well. “Washington state and British Columbia have to work together to protect the Salish Sea and all the economic resources that depend on it, he says.

Earlier this year, a net at a fish factory farm in Washington failed, allowing thousands of nonnative Atlantic salmon to get loose. The director of the Wild Fish Conservancy Northwest called the incident an “environmental nightmare that put native species at risk of disease.

A disturbing video from a diver in BC has raised concerns that a nearby fish slaughterhouse is dumping blood and guts into waterways. Collected samples of the red water tested positive for pathogens potentially harmful to wild fish populations.

Undercover footage from earlier this year of salmon factory farms off Vancouver Island revealed unimaginable horror: blind, emaciated salmon swimming in their own feces. What’s more, a 17-year report discovered that sea lice from one of the fish farms had been killing young wild salmon.

Fish factory farms are filthy and overcrowded, making them perfect breeding grounds for parasites. Last year an outbreak of sea lice stretched from Scandinavia to Chile. Now nearly half of Scotland’s salmon farms are infested with the parasite, which feeds on blood, skin, and slime.

Salmon farming is not only filthy and dangerous but incredibly cruel. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology found that salmon bred and raised at fish factory farms grow at such an accelerated rate that more than half of them go partially deaf. Another study found that many farmed salmon suffer from severe depression. Known as “drop outs, depressed salmon float lifelessly.

After their miserable lives at factory farms, fish face a gruesome death. Despite their capacity to feel pain, the seafood industry treats fish as mere objects.

In 2011 Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation at a fish slaughter facility and exposed fish being skinned alive. They thrashed and fought to escape the workers’ knives. As the fish gasped for oxygen, workers ripped off their skin with pliers.

We can withdraw our support from the cruel seafood industry by leaving fish off our plates and switching to a compassionate vegan diet. Click here to learn more. And check out these cruelty-free, sea-inspired recipes.