Cooke Aquaculture Approved to Farm Steelhead in Puget Sound

Yes, that’s the same Cooke Aquaculture, who’s net-pens collapsed in the very same body of water, releasing hundreds of farmed Atlantic Salmon into the Puget Sound in 2017. Following that incident, Washington State slapped Cooke Aquaculture with a $332,000 fine, and then went on to pass legislation banning non-native species from being farmed in net pens. So, Cooke Aquaculture has pivoted its business to farm steelhead and, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) just issued Cooke a permit to farm.

Opponents of fish farming in the Puget sound are worried about the parasites, disease, sea lice, and viruses that commonly occur in fish being raised in close-quarters pens. They’re rightfully questioning the structural capabilities of Cooke’s pens, which again, collapsed in 2017.

“Disappointed is an understatement,” Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Tribe, said of the state’s decision. “Our salmon and steelhead are on the brink. Potentially introducing more diseases or genetic defects into our native steelhead is very disappointing.”

For more in-depth coverage, check out this article from the Seattle Times.

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