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Over 100,000 released Atlantic salmon still in local waters

Staff Writer |
Despite the efforts of local fishing fleets, more than 100,000 Atlantic salmon are estimated to still be roaming West Coast waters after a fish farm's net pen belonging to Cooke Aquaculture collapsed August 19 and release thousands of fish.

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It has been revealed that the Lummi Nation estimated they had caught 43,522 Atlantic salmon but 114,000 were still out in the waters, The Bellingham Herald reported.

“Washington state law considers this invasive species a pollutant, and our hard-working fishermen have carried the burden of the cleanup efforts,” said Timothy Ballew II, chairman of Lummi Nation, in a news release.

“They continue to do all they can. The remaining Atlantic salmon have spread out well beyond Cypress Island. At this point many in the local commercial fishing fleet have quit targeting the Atlantic salmon and begun focusing on the local fish again,” said Riley Starks of Lummi Island Wild.

The organisation complained that neither Cooke Aquaculture nor the state has offered to buy back the fish caught by commercial fishing fleets.

“The company and state are expecting (local fishing fleets) to clean up their mess,” Starks said, adding he is still hopeful Cooke would eventually buy the fish back.

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