Salmon aquaculture issues and regulations
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Salmon Aquaculture: Issues and Regulations. Hadley Greene Erika Harris Peter King Jason McKinney Matt Stock. Aquaculture: The cultivation of plants, shellfish, and finfish in the water. 31 million tons produced worldwide

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Salmon Aquaculture: Issues and Regulations

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Salmon Aquaculture: Issues and Regulations

Hadley Greene

Erika Harris

Peter King

Jason McKinney

Matt Stock

Aquaculture: The cultivation of plants, shellfish, and finfish in the water

  • 31 million tons produced worldwide

  • 12 million pounds of Atlantic salmon and steelhead produced in Washington state annually

A Net-Pen

Net-Pen Salmon Aquaculture

  • Floating net-pens

  • Hatchery-born Atlantic salmon

  • Fishmeal

  • Antibiotics

Net-Pen Salmon Aquaculture Operations

  • Norway

  • Chile

  • Washington State

  • British Columbia

Washington and B.C

The Economics of Salmon Aquaculture

  • Farmed fish vs. Wild fish

  • Aquaculture contributes $30 million in wholesale income to Washington coastal communities

Net-Pen Salmon Production

Net-Pen Salmon Issues: Three Umbrellas

  • Net-pen salmon, effects on wild stocks

  • Human health risks

  • Environmental implications on proximal communities

First Umbrella: Farmed and Wild Stock Salmon

  • Reduction in gene pool, accelerated “evolution;” two possible effects

    Result:  competition with wild stocks

First Umbrella: Farmed and Wild Stock Salmon

  • High stress conditions

  • High escapement

    Result:  transfer of disease

Second Umbrella: Human Health Risks

  • Less healthy

  • Transfer of disease

  • Antibiotics



Aeromonas in Humans

Bullous lesions


Cellulitis of the forearm

Third Umbrella: Env. Implications on Proximal Communities

  • Bio-deposits

  • Heavy metal accumulation

  • Therapeutic compounds

  • Dioxin bioaccumulation and transfer up through food chain

Federal Regulatory Framework: National Aquaculture Act of 1980

  • Expansion of industry a “national interest”

  • Sought to eliminate “diffuse legal jurisdiction”

  • USDA lead agency in charge of oversight

Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA)

  • National Aquaculture Development Plan

  • Identify all constraints to future industry expansion

  • Identified respective roles of USDA, DOC, DOI


  • Development of criteria for environmental protection

  • Encourage industry development

  • NMFS: ESA/MMPA adminstration

State Regulatory Framework

  • Departments of: Ecology, Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife, Agriculture

  • Tribes

  • Local Jurisdictions

Washington Department of Ecology

Regulates facilities and implements federal regulations

  • Atlantic salmon classified as a pollutant by the Pollution Control Hearings BoardEcology must grant NPDES permits to net-pen facilities

  • All new net-pen facilities must conduct a study of the project’s impact on the env. under SEPA

  • In accordance with SMA, DOE must issue a Coastal Consistency Determination (CCD)

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Caretaker and proprietor of submerged lands

  • Washington state is a “non-riparian” state

  • DNR issues an Aquatic Lease Permit authorizing net-pen operators to use state-owned aquatic lands


Atlantic salmon as “private sector cultured aquatic products

  • Aquaculture Disease Control Act

  • Finfish Import/Transfer Permit


Responsible for “food fish” regulations

  • WDFW manages all food fish in state

  • Prohibits the deliberate release of exotic species (Atlantic salmon)

     currently revising these rules


Hydraulic Code

  • Limits impacts on aquatic habitat

  • HPA required before construction of net-pen facility


  • Operators must register with WDFW

US Army Corps of Engineers

  • Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1971

  • Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899

Section 404 of the CWA

  • Created to protect all wetlands from the dumping of dredged fill material

  • 1972 Congress passed Federal Water Pollution Control Act amendments

  • Section 404 of the CWA established a permit program

  • 1974 Corps adopts regulations to implement the program

  • 1975 Federal Court decides the Corps should revise/expand role

  • 1977 Corps issues final regulations which are upheld by Congress

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act

  • Created to protect navigable waters from the placement of obstructions

  • Act also precludes filling and dredging

Washington State Department of Agriculture

  • Legislation in 1985 declared “aquaculture as agriculture

  • Fish regulated as a commodity

  • DOA in charge of marketing the product

  • Co-manages the Disease Inspection and Control Program

Local Jurisdiction’s Shoreline Master Program

  • Shoreline Management Act of 1971

  • Delegates authority to local jurisdiction

  • Substantial Use Permit for construction over $2,500


  • New industry, new regulatory setting

  • Potential conflict of interest

  • Probable ESA considerations


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