DNR partners with Sustainable Blue to identify opportunities for On-Land Aquaculture for State Lands
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz signed a partnership agreement with Nova Scotia-based Sustainable Blue, a zero discharge, land-based salmon farming company, to identify opportunities for siting sustainable finfish aquaculture in Washington State.
“I’m excited to bring this partnership to Washington,” said Commissioner Franz. “This agreement represents an important step toward restoring finfish aquaculture in a sustainable, healthy way that does not pit farmed fish against the native salmon we all work so hard to sustain.”
The 2017 collapse of finfish aquaculture net pens off Cypress Island made clear the dangers that open water commercial finfish aquaculture facilities pose to native salmon and their habitat. Citing this event and other operational and maintenance issues that have been documented from the four open water net pen aquaculture facilities in Washington’s waters, Commissioner Franz last year announced such commercial facilities would no longer be leased on state-owned aquatic lands.
With this letter of intent, Commissioner Franz and DNR signal their continued commitment to sustainable, market-based solutions that benefit the citizens of Washington while protecting the state’s natural capital. The agreement also represents the first step in a long-term partnership to explore multiple facility locations that are not reliant on marine or watershed environments.
Commissioner Franz plans to begin site exploration later this spring. “We know finfish aquaculture can be a great source of food and employment. But we have to balance those benefits with protecting our significant investments in restoring salmon and their habitat,” said Commissioner Franz. “I’m excited by this opportunity to do both.”