Cooke Aquaculture loses license for Washington salmon farm

A Cooke Aquaculture fish farm in Port Angeles, Washington has had its license revoked after a series of violations, the Seattle Times reported.

The farm, which has been in existence since 1984, was causing a hazard to private and public lands, with decomposing Styrofoam breaking off from the farm’s floats. Additionally, the pens in such a condition that it was distinctly possible that another non-native fish escape would occur, similar to the one which occurred near Cypress Island in August, when more than 150,000 Atlantic salmon escaped into the waters of Puget Sound. 

Hilary Franz, state commissioner of public lands, said that the decision was final and that there was “no room for negotiation.”

Franz commissioned inspections during the first week of December, during which the violations were discovered at the Cooke branch, which contains more than 700,000 Atlantic salmon.

“As we have already seen with Cypress Island, a weakened facility poses significant threat to the Puget Sound,” Franz said.

Cooke was not expecting the move.

“Cooke Aquaculture Pacific just received a notice from the Department of Natural Resources and we are evaluating their request,” Joel Richardson, vice president of public relations for Cooke Aquaculture wrote, “This came as a surprise given the extensive improvements we have been undertaken to the site to ensure compliance and our efforts to work … to address self-identified issues in a cooperative manner.” 

Cooke may run into even more issues in the state of Washington, where multiple pieces of legislation have been introduced to terminate the company’s leases as they expire by 2025. 


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