State Agencies Initiate Incident Command to Address Atlantic Salmon Net Pen Escape

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OLYMPIA – The Washington state departments of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife and Ecology, along with the Office of the Governor and state Emergency Management Division, signed on to a Memorandum of Agreement, standing up an Incident Command structure to respond to the escape of an unknown number of Atlantic salmon from net pens on Cypress Island this past weekend.

The Incident Command structure creates a unified command of the resources and leadership of the three agencies, in collaboration with local tribes and the company responsible for the collapse of the net pens, Cooke Aquaculture. The goal of the Incident Command structure is to manage the multi-agency response as efficiently as possible and to work with tribes and the company to achieve containment of the Atlantic salmon as soon as possible.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz say that the state will not issue any new leases or permits for marine Atlantic salmon net pens until a full review of this incident has been completed.

The Incident Command will be located in Anacortes. Incident Command resources from all three agencies will begin to arrive in Anacortes today. Incident Command will also involve the establishment of a Public Information Officer who will handle all media inquiries regarding the escaped salmon from 12 p.m. on Saturday, August 26 until the Incident Command structure is dismantled. Media inquiries will be routed through the PIO to a Joint Information Center made up of public affairs leads from DNR, DFW and ECY. Additionally, a joint information website about the incident can be found at

Please see PIO information below:


Cori Simmons
Incident Command Public Information Officer
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office