Saturday, January 29, 2022

WA Supreme Court Fixes Cook Aquaculture Steelhead Farming | Nation World News

SEATTLE ( Associated Press) — The Supreme Court of Washington state on Thursday unanimously upheld the permit that would allow Cook Aquaculture Pacific to cultivate steelhead trout in Nat Penn in Washington waters.

The decision cleared the permit barrier for the international aquaculture giant to change its operations from Atlantic salmon farming to Steelhead in Washington, the Seattle Times reported.,

That’s good news for Cook and the Jamestown S’Kllalam tribe, which in 2019 announced a joint venture with Cook Aquaculture Pacific to rear native steelhead trout.

“Aquaculture allows us to develop our traditional industries and use best practices in protecting the environment while still gathering marine-based resources,” tribe president W. Ron Allen said in a prepared statement.

Joel Richardson, vice president of public relations for Cook, said the Supreme Court’s opinion was “the array of misinformation about marine aquaculture being irresponsibly disseminated by active groups.”

In 2018 the Washington State Legislature abolished Atlantic salmon farming following an outbreak of nearly 263,000 nearly mature Atlantic salmon from Cook’s Pen on the island of Cyprus in 2017.

In response, Cook is turning to Steelhead, a native species farm, in which the fish is turned into a hatchery to sterilize it.

Other opponents of the Wild Fish Conservation and Permit sued to prevent the change of fish species from Atlantic salmon to steelhead trout.

Opponents argued in King County Superior Court that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife did not adequately review the permits under state administrative procedures or that adequate environmental reviews were not required. Opponents, who lost the case, wanted the court to overturn the permit and require an environmental-impact statement.

The state and Cook argued that the review met all legal requirements — and now the two courts have agreed.

The Swinomish Indian tribal community joined the opponents as a friend of the court, arguing that the net pen in Hope Island interferes with the exercise of tribal fishing rights, and that it is an insult to the integrity of a place of immense cultural importance. Is.

The tribe also argued that the fish posed a threat to the native steelhead.

WDFW Director Kelly Susswind said in a prepared statement that she was pleased with the decision.

“The Court comprehensively reviewed the arguments against WDFW’s permit decision and environmental analysis, and it unanimously held that the WDFW review was ‘more than sufficient.’ It stands as a strong endorsement of WDFW’s handling of permits, Susswind said.

While Net Penn is not a “zero-risk” operation, “we need Cook Aquaculture to direct the operations of its facilities, prevent and report potential disease, and reduce the risk of fish avoidance and reporting. in case of escape.”

Kurt Beardsley, director of the Wild Fish Conservancy, called the decision “disastrous.”

The real battle will intensify this year when the state’s Department of Natural Resources begins deciding whether to renew state leases for the tidelands on which the pens are placed. It will be a more comprehensive review, Birdsley said, which considers everything from tribal treaty rights to endangered species concerns.

DNR has already told Cook that he would like to think twice before stocking his pens.

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