A native chinook salmon, top, and this farmed Atlantic salmon, bottom, show the differences between the native species compared with the farm-raised fish in this photo taken Tuesday, 22 August 2017. The Lummi Nation is trying to mop up thousands of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon, and the Swinomish tribal chairman has called for a shutdown of the industry as the fish reach the Skagit River and Alki Point. Photo: Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

By Lynda V. Mapes
24 August 2017

(The Seattle Times) – The Lummi Nation is marshaling a mop-up of thousands of fugitive Atlantic salmon in the tribe’s territorial waters, and the Swinomish chairman has called for a shutdown of the farmed-salmon industry in Puget Sound after last weekend’s spill.

Swinomish fishermen caught farmed Atlantic salmon in the Skagit River on Wednesday night, as the fish continued to disperse through the Puget Sound, said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. He also received a report of an Atlantic salmon caught off Alki Point on Thursday afternoon.

The fish were thick at Lopez Island Thursday, where fishermen out for smelt instead hauled in Atlantic salmon, and the fish were jumping in bays and coves all around the island.

“These fish are headed to every river in Puget Sound,” Cladoosby said. “We have been saying all along it was not a question of if, but when, this would happen.

“The wild salmon stocks are already endangered. It is time to shut these operations down. Period.”

Meanwhile, the Lummi Nation has declared a state of emergency and is paying fish buyers to take the Atlantic salmon brought in by their fishermen, said Merle Jefferson, director of natural resources for the tribe.

Jefferson declined to say how much the tribe is paying. “It is not going to be cheap, that is all I can say,” he said. “It’s just like an oil spill, we are trying to contain it as best we can.” He said the tribe would be testing some fish for disease, and freezing the rest. [more]

Farmed salmon ‘heading to every river in Puget Sound’

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