Gov. Jay Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz this week responded
to Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to transfer one million Atlantic salmon smolts from
Rochester to an existing net pen in the Puget Sound.
are very concerned about Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to transfer up to one million
Atlantic salmon smolts to a net pen in Clam Bay across from Bainbridge Island.
This is disappointing and frustrating, coming on the heels of the August
collapse of Cooke’s net pen near Cypress Island that held 305,000 fish,"
both Commissioner Franz and I have directed our respective state agencies not
to issue permits or leases for any new net pens until we can review the results
of the Cypress Island investigation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife does
not have the means, based on current state law and regulatory rules, to
prohibit the transfer into an existing pen.
office has asked Cooke to do the right thing – for our tribes, for our
citizens, for our environment and for the industry’s long-term prospects – and
withdraw their request."
we cannot stop the transfer of these fish, the three agencies had the pens
inspected by a licensed structural engineer to identify any deficiencies in the
net pen structures at the Rich Passage facility. The Department of Ecology
inspected the Clam Bay facility and did not find violations of the current
water quality permit, but Ecology also requested that Cooke not move forward
with its plans. We've had DNR staff on hand for that inspection, and we will
continue to maintain a presence at the facilities," said Franz.
will also be conducting inspections by a licensed structural engineer at all of
Cooke's operations in Washington while the investigation into the Cypress
Island incident is ongoing,” said Franz. “The broad public outcry surrounding
this net pen failure is understandable. So is the lack of confidence in how
Cooke responded to the emergency, the recovery of fish and the management of
future operations the company may pursue here in our waters.”
and Franz were responding to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s
authorization for Cooke Aquaculture to transport about one million juvenile
Atlantic salmon from the company's hatchery in Rochester, Wash., to an existing
net-pen facility in Puget Sound.
Kinne, manager of WDFW's hatchery division, said the transport permit is not
related to the company's Cypress Island net-pen facility near the San Juan
Islands, where one of Cooke's pens collapsed on Aug. 19 and released tens of
thousands of Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound and nearby waters.
which operates net pens at eight locations in Puget Sound, applied in late August
for permission to move about one million 2-year-old smolts from the hatchery to
its Rich Passage facility in south Puget Sound. The move is expected to take
place through the fall.
issued the fish transport permit late Monday, Oct. 2, after working to ensure
the company's facilities at Rich Passage met structural, water quality, and
fish health requirements. Staff from WDFW and the departments of Natural
Resources and Ecology visited the net-pen site last week. Ecology staff
inspected the facility and did not find violations of the current water quality
permit. Divers hired by DNR examined the net pens and support structures below
the surface at Clam Bay along Rich Passage. The inspection did not yield
grounds to deny the permit.
Cypress Island incident remains under investigation, and efforts continue to
recover the fish that escaped. About half of the 305,000 fish from the
collapsed pen are thought to have escaped.
CBB, Sept. 22, 2017, “Escaped Atlantic Salmon Continue To Be Caught; WDFW Says
Fish Not Expected To Establish Themselves” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439602.aspx