Waste Generated by Washington Fish Farms

The PR spin on fish farming continues. There was an article in the Bainbridge Island paper.
This is the basis for the amount of pollution that flushes from the salmon farms into Washington waters, which I sent to the reporter:

Arthur Whiteley, using information from the Dept. of Ecology, calculated that the 6 active salmon farms in our state released 4,919,739  lbs. of fish waste into Puget Sound waters in 2005. According to Whiteley, there are 8 licensed farms, and two of these (Site 1, Deepwater Bay and Fort Ward) were fallowed (not used) in the year 2005.  The 4,919,739 lbs of feces came from the farms owned by American Gold Seafoods, LLC.  These are : Clam Bay, Orchard Rocks, Site 2 Deepwater Bay, Site 3 Deepwater Bay, Site 4 Hope Island, Pt. Angeles,   The owners report that they used 7,986,590 kg of feed (17,570,498 lbs) in 2005:  28% of this is 4,919,739 lbs of feces.

Whiteley compares this to 4,009,900 lbs of Total Suspended Solids released by the Seattle West Point Treatment Plant, the facility that treats the sewage of 830,000 residents of Seattle. The Treatment Plant process includes settling, bacterial digestion, re-settling, chlorination to kill the bacteria, dechlorination and then release into Puget Sound.  The cost was $530,000,000 to build the treatment plant, and $80,000,000 a year to operate it, which are valid costs for us to pay to clean up and maintain our aquatic environment.

The six fish farms release 123% as much TTS into Puget Sound marine waters as does the treatment plant.  Whiteley says that “TSS” really should read “Total Solids”, because it includes both suspended solids and the bulk of the feces, which settle rapidly. This material is released untreated and unsterilized directly into Puget Sound. There is no cost to the company for this use of Puget Sound to absorb the pollution flushing from their open cage feedlots.

By Anne Mosness

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