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Tuesday, June 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Group to sue after farmed salmon spill into Puget Sound

In this Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 photo, Riley Starks of Lummi Island Wild shows three of the farm raised Atlantic salmon that were caught alongside four healthy Kings in Point Williams, Wash. A marine net pen holding 305,000 farmed Atlantic salmon collapsed recently, releasing thousands of fish into Puget Sound and renewing concerns that a new proposed salmon farm could harm wild salmon stock and cause other environmental damage. (Dean Rutz / AP)
In this Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 photo, Riley Starks of Lummi Island Wild shows three of the farm raised Atlantic salmon that were caught alongside four healthy Kings in Point Williams, Wash. A marine net pen holding 305,000 farmed Atlantic salmon collapsed recently, releasing thousands of fish into Puget Sound and renewing concerns that a new proposed salmon farm could harm wild salmon stock and cause other environmental damage. (Dean Rutz / AP)

SEATTLE – A conservation group plans to sue after net pens at a salmon farm in Washington state collapsed, spilling thousands of Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound.

The Wild Fish Conservancy says it gave Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture notice Friday that it will sue for violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The company’s salmon farm off Cypress Island held 305,000 Atlantic salmon, a non-native species. Cooke has said it doesn’t yet know how many fish escaped.

The conservation group says the release poses a threat to struggling wild fish populations and the ecosystem. It alleges the fish spill violates federal pollution laws because it sent farmed salmon, dead carcasses and other debris into the water.

Cooke has blamed high tides for the disaster. A company spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the legal action.

State and tribal fisheries managers are urging anglers to catch as many as possible to protect native fish species.

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