Cooke Aquaculture permitted to continue net pen operations

  • Sat Oct 14th, 2017 6:54pm
  • News

Submitted by WDFW

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has authorized Cooke Aquaculture to transport 1.8 million Atlantic salmon eggs from its facility in Iceland to the company’s land-based hatchery in Rochester, Washington to continue net pen operations.

WDFW issued the transfer permit late Tuesday, Oct. 10, after ensuring Cooke met all the fish health standards required under state law to import Atlantic salmon eggs.

Cooke operates net pens at eight locations in Puget Sound, including at Cypress Island, where one pen collapsed on Aug. 19 and released tens of thousands of Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound and nearby waters.

The incident at Cypress Island, near the San Juan Islands, remains under investigation. About half of the 305,000 fish from the collapsed pen are thought to have escaped.

After the net pen collapse in August, Gov. Jay Inslee directed that no permits be issued for new aquaculture net pens while the incident was being investigated. However, WDFW does not have the authority under current regulations to deny Cooke’s request to import healthy Atlantic salmon eggs, which will mature at the hatchery into juvenile fish and eventually be used in net pen operations.

Cooke applied in mid-September for permission to move about 1.8 million Atlantic salmon eggs from its hatchery in Vogar, Iceland, to the company’s Scatter Creek hatchery in Rochester. The move is expected to take place later this week.