OLYMPIA, Washington – September 11, 2020 – The Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) has released draft revised water quality permits at four net pen facilities that will allow Cooke Aquaculture to raise rainbow trout, also known as steelhead. The four facilities include Hope Island in Skagit Bay and three in Rich Passage in Kitsap County. The public has until October 26, 2020, to review and comment on the permits.
“Cooke Aquaculture Pacific is now seeking the Department of Ecology’s approval for updated water quality permits and we believe the state’s additional requirements in the draft permits are workable and will allow for sustainable marine aquaculture to continue and the environment to be further protected,” said Joel Richardson, Vice President of Public Relations for Cooke.
In January, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific and joint venture partner Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe welcomed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) approval to farm trout in Puget Sound. The partners are working together to establish trout aquaculture operations in Port Angeles Harbor.
“In 2018 the Legislature determined that they preferred the farming of native fish. Since we have always strived to be a good regional partner, steelhead were chosen as the native fish suitable for the Puget Sound and for customer markets,” Richardson said. “Our partnership with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to provide a fresh supply of locally farmed seafood will require investment in new equipment and technology while supporting local jobs.”
Cooke Aquaculture is a vertically integrated, science-based marine farming corporation ‘from egg to plate’. The family-owned company is a world-leader in sustainable fish farming having invested heavily in breeding programs, fish feed production, eco-friendly fish health treatment technologies, and innovative sea farming equipment.
In addition to having a corporate sustainability policy, Cooke Aquaculture regularly validates best practices through voluntary third-party audits of it’s operations to ensure the company is meeting global standards on four separate links in the chain of production: freshwater hatcheries, feed mills, sea sites and processing plants.
The Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (NWAA), which advocates for finfish and shellfish aquaculture producers and supply chain businesses, has stated that the region will benefit greatly from further responsible development of a strong aquaculture sector to help boost the economy, promote food security, and reduce the country’s reliance on imported seafood. Washington has several aquatic farms including finfish, molluscan shellfish, and aquatic plants.
Globally, aquaculture production has now surpassed wild catch and will continue to play a critical role in protecting wild fish populations as demand for seafood continues to rise. Aquaculture is recognized as being environmentally sustainable with the smallest carbon footprint of any meat protein production, creating rural career opportunities, and provides healthy, locally produced seafood.
Read the Ecology news release here:
Sept. 9, 2020
Ecology is accepting comments on draft permits for Cooke Aquaculture
All documents and information can be found at ecology.wa.gov/NetPenPermit.
Vice President, Public Relations
Cooke Aquaculture Inc./ for Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, LLC.
40 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB, Canada E2L 3H3