Washington Supreme Court upholds Cooke Aquaculture steelhead farming permit
By ANA staffNews Regulations Cooke Aquaculture Pacific State Environmental Policy Act Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously ruled (9-0) to uphold the company’s permit to farm Pacific Steelhead trout after a group of environmental organizations expressed concerns about its facility’s environmental impacts.
The Wild Fish Conservancy, Centre for Food Safety, Centre for Biological Diversity, and Friends of the Earth alleged that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s permitting process violated the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), as well as the Fish and Wildlife Code.
The groups expressed concerns of possible adverse environmental impacts including arguments about disease.
However, the court ruled that the groups’ allegations “unsupported in the record” and that Washington’s fish and wildlife department relied on “multiple studies” to support the continued conclusion was consistent with SEPA’s requirements.
“This State Supreme Court opinion lays to rest the array of disinformation about marine aquaculture being irresponsibly circulated by activist groups,” said Joel Richardson, vice president of Public Relations for Cooke Aquaculture Pacific.
“The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022) for a reason – because fish farming and other forms of aquaculture are the most environmentally sustainable forms of protein production and can help solve world hunger.”
In 2019, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe announced a joint venture with Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to rear native steelhead trout. Salish Fish, LLC is a unique partnership of The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Cooke Aquaculture Pacific.
Based in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula, Salish Fish LLC will be raising native steelhead in the clean and natural waters of the Salish Sea.
“The Tribe has two interwoven goals in everything we do – to be stewards of the environment in protecting the unique ecosystems of our homelands and the Salish Sea and continue to gather our treaty resources to fund programs and services for our tribal citizens. Aquaculture allows us to utilize best practices in protecting the environment while continuing our traditional industries growing and gathering marine-based resources,” said W. Ron Allen, Tribal Chairman and CEO, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.
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