Two weeks ago, we shared a story about farmed Atlantic salmon escaping from their Washington state net pens due to tides influenced by the solar eclipse. It turns out that the tides were not especially high that day. Some of our readers were vocal in their outrage over the very fact that Atlantic salmon were being farmed in Pacific waters. Yesterday, NPR reported what Atlantic salmon was doing in the Pacific Northwest in the first place.
According to NPR, Atlantic salmon have been cultivated in Washington State since 1951 when the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife create wild salmon runs in the area. The fish are cheap and easy to raise, always on demand and despite their name, largely commercially farmed. Washington is one of the country’s largest producers of Atlantic salmon.
As for the estimated 3 million pounds escaped, experts are not as worried. NPR reports that crossbreeding among Pacific and Atlantic salmon is unlikely because Atlantic salmon are more closely related to brown trout than Pacific salmon. Additionally, because these fish were farmed, they’re not equipped with the survival savviness compared to their wild counterparts.