Have you decided to take a few extra hours on the Puget Sound to catch some Atlantic salmon?

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is encouraging anglers who catch Atlantic salmon that escaped from a salmon farm near the San Juan Islands last Saturday to report their catch online.

Although anglers are not required to log Atlantic salmon on their catch record cards, state fish managers are requesting anglers report their catch online in an effort to track fish being caught.

"We're hoping to track how many Atlantic salmon have been recovered by sport anglers and how far those fish have dispersed," said Ron Warren, head of WDFW's fish program. "If you've caught one of these fish over the last few days, or if you catch one in the near future, please let us know."

Warren noted the escaped Atlantic salmon are 8 to 10 pounds in size and are safe for people to eat.

WDFW also is deploying additional employees to assist with creel checks in the Bellingham Bay area to help collect data on encounters with Atlantic salmon.

Cooke Aquaculture notified the department of a net pen failure Aug. 19 that allowed Atlantic salmon to escape from the company's Cypress Island location. The net pen held 305,000 salmon but the number of escaped Atlantic salmon is still undetermined.

Several tribes have said they plan to file suit against the aquaculture company and the state has halted all new fish farms.

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