(Canadian Press photo)

20,000 farmed Atlantic salmon company says escaped due to eclipse now caught

Salmon had escaped a fish farm just south of U.S.-Canada border

A native American band says its anglers have caught about 20,000 fish following the collapse of a commercial net pen rearing farmed Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound.

The Lummi Nation say its fishermen have brought in about 90,700 kilograms of the non-native species since it declared a state of emergency Thursday.

READ: Thousands of U.S. salmon escape near B.C., company blames solar eclipse

Cooke Aquaculture’s marine salmon farm in the San Juan Islands off Washington state failed over a week ago, releasing thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon into waters.

Band and state officials have urged people catch as many as possible.

On Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee directed the Department of Ecology to put on hold any new permits for net pens.

State officials also announced the formation of a response team comprised of the departments of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, the Office of the Governor and Emergency Management Division.

It’s not yet clear how many non-native Atlantic salmon escaped into Puget Sound from New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture’s salmon farm off Cypress Island. Officials say the pens held about 305,000 fish.

Cooke Aquaculture has said high tides and currents damaged the salmon farm and led to the escape of fish.

The release at Cooke Aquaculture’s facility comes as the company is proposing a new expanded commercial facility in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington.

The company operates five salmon farms in Washington that it acquired last year, and would build 14 floating circular net pens about 1.6 kilometres offshore. It would move current operations from Port Angeles Harbor and increase production by 20 per cent. The project is in the permitting phase.

But Inslee’s directive halting new permits for net pens appears to put that project in jeopardy.

Washington has the largest marine finfish aquaculture industry in the U.S. with farms producing more than 7,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon each year, the state says.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

Photos: Rivermen sink Clippers

Game went into double OT

Hands-on history during Douglas Day at historic Fort Langley

Satchel and foot stool owned by Sir James Douglas put on display

Douglas Day celebration honours Langley’s pioneers

Theme of 159th anniversary celebration was history of transportation in the region

VIDEO: Langley bottle drive helps families fighting cancer

Team Keian event honours memory of six-year-old

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Heavy rains, winds hit B.C.’s south coast

Localized flooding, gusts up to 70 km/hr expected for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Most Read