Cooke given 60 days to settle salmon net pen flaws
2017-10-12 18:09:24   copyfrom:    hits:

Net cage at a salmon farming centre (Photo: Stock File)UNITED STATESWednesday, October 11, 2017,00:30 (GMT + 9)Th

Net cage at a salmon farming centre. (Photo: Stock File)


Click on the flag for more information about United StatesUNITED STATES 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 00:30 (GMT + 9)


The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued a default notice giving Cooke Aquaculture 60 days to make repairs to the facility after finding flaws in the firm’s Atlantic salmon net pens in Rich Passage, off Bainbridge Island.

The DNR informed that an inspection it contracted returned information that some of the surface structures of the Rich Passage net pens fail to meet that standard and explained that inspectors found a hole in netting and severe corrosion on several components of the facility's above-water infrastructure.

If the company cannot make those repairs in that time, its lease for the state-owned aquatic lands on which the facility sits can be terminated.

It must be reacalled that in August Cooke Aquaculture net pens off Cypress Island collapsed, releasing tens of thousands of Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound.

"Given the failure of the Cypress Island facility, we have to be extra vigilant in making sure Cooke's other existing aquaculture facilities are structurally sound," said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. "We cannot tolerate any risk that more Atlantic salmon will be released in Washington's waters."

Lummi Nation chairman Tim Ballew called the DNR notice a critical step to protect the tribe’s fishery.

“Cooke’s negligence has put our native salmon stocks at significant risk,” Ballew said. “We may never know the full devastation to our treaty fishing rights.”

The DNR pointed out that the Cypress Island incident remains under investigation, and efforts to recover the escaped fish continue. About half of the 305,000 fish from the collapsed pen are thought to have escaped.

The DNR notice came a week after Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife approved a permit for Cooke to stock its net pens at Rich Passage with 1 million juvenile Atlantic salmon.

Cooke told The Seattle Times it would proceed with stocking the fish.

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