Since 2017, Wild Fish Conservancy has led and facilitated the Our Sound, Our Salmon campaign, a broad-based grassroots coalition, with the shared objective of ending commercial open water finfish aquaculture in Puget Sound to improve water quality, protect threatened and endangered species, and restore greater ecosystem health. In 2018, with partial support from the Rose Foundation, this diverse coalition successfully advocated for a landmark law phasing out all Atlantic salmon net pen aquaculture in Washington by 2022. Following the legislation the coalition continued to work together to drive important policy changes to better regulate this industry through the phase out including actions to protect water quality and prevent the spread of pathogens to wild stocks.
In 2020, WFC is continuing to lead the Our Sound, Our Salmon campaign in an urgent, new initiative, Taking Back Our Sound, to prevent the net pen industry from expanding in Puget Sound by transitioning their permits and leases to allow for the commercial propagation of highly-domesticated steelhead not prohibited by Washington’s recent law. Employing a broad outreach strategy, WFC will work to renergize and grow the highly-effective OSOS coalition and direct the campaign’s momentum toward efforts to stop this expansion by preventing the renewal of Cooke Aquaculture’s leases. On behalf of the public, WFC will use our scientific and legal expertise to submit a technically rigorous application to lease all public lands currently used by the company that effectively argues protecting these public waters for the restoration of water quality, salmonids, orcas, and the greater ecosystem is ecologically, scientifically, and financially in the best interest of the public. WFC will work in collaboration with the coalition to replicate our legislative success and demonstrate widespread public support necessary to demand the State lease these lands back to the public, ending net pen aquaculture in Puget Sound.