Atlantic salmon

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

A local wild-salmon advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against Cooke Aquaculture in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The Wild Fish Conservancy says the Canadian company must be held responsible for the collapse of its net pen in Deepwater Bay off Cyprus Island this summer.

Overcast: What's Going On With Salmon In Washington?

Oct 13, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Washington's local ecosystems have been through a lot recently.

First, there was the release of more than 100,000 non-native Atlantic Salmon this summer into the Salish Sea. Now, scientists are also reporting alarmingly low numbers of young salmon from the Columbia River system out in the Pacific Ocean.

Clallam County, Washington, has put a temporary hold on an aquaculture company's application to relocate and expand a salmon farm near Port Angeles. This comes as the company is cleaning up after a mass escape of non-native Atlantic salmon from a different net pen it owns to the east at Cypress Island.

Opponents of salmon farming are seizing the moment.

Why Are Atlantic Salmon Being Farmed In The Northwest?

Aug 29, 2017

Earlier this month, a net pen broke apart near Washington state's Cypress Island. The pen held 305,000 Atlantic salmon, a non-native fish.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

This story was updated at 3:09 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25.  See correction below.

Along with cooling the air and dimming skies in the region, this week’s solar eclipse caused high tides. The resulting currents damaged a net pen and released unknown numbers of farmed Atlantic salmon into open waters south of the San Juan Islands.

Would you be able to tell if the wild Alaskan sockeye salmon you ordered for dinner was swapped out for a less expensive piece of farm-raised salmon?

For the observant, the color difference between the two would likely be the first giveaway. (Sockeye has a deeper red-orange hue.) Or maybe you'd notice the disparity in the thickness of fillet. (Sockeye is flatter and less steaky in appearance.)

Don Taylor / Flickr

A new study of genetically-modified Atlantic salmon shows they can breed with their wild counterparts. Critics worry escaped farmed fish could weaken wild stocks.