"Cultivation of aquatic organisms in a manner that has a high potential to impact natural ecosystems, such as net-pen fish farming in coastal waters, should be discouraged." (from Sierra Club's Agricultural and Food Policy, Farming of fish and other aquatic organisms)
Ecology extends public comment period for draft net pen guidance (June 18,2021)
Ecology is extending the deadline for accepting public comments on draft guidance designed to improve how commercial marine net pens are authorized, overseen, and managed in Washington. We are now taking public comment on the document until Aug. 5, 2021. Read details.
Ecology extends public comment period for draft net pen guidance (October 11, 2019)
VICTORY! Army Corps' shellfish aquaculture permit is unlawful in WA!
Great News for the Protection of Puget Sound and Our Coastal Waters,
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound is pleased the Federal judge agreed with them that the Army Corps shellfish aquaculture permit is unlawful in Washington State. The Coalition has said all along that the Army Corps should not have been issuing aquaculture permits without first doing more analysis to determine the potential impacts on the Sound and its inhabitants. Click here to read the judge's order.
Cooke Aquaculture files a lawsuit againt DNR (January 4, 2018)
Cooke Aquaculture Pacific has filed a lawsuit seeking to continue running its Atlantic salmon farm in Port Angeles. The suit, filed January 4, 2018 in Clallam County Superior Court, declares that Hilary Franz, commissioner of public lands, erred in revoking the company’s lease to operate the Port Angeles farm. Commissioner Franz on Dec. 15 demanded Cooke shut down the farm and remove the fish and equipment.
Cooke Aquaculture's Atlantic salmon net pen lease terminated in Port Angeles (December 15, 2017)
Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands for the Department of Natural Resources, announced her intention to terminate Cooke Aquaculture's Atlantic salmon net pen lease in Port Angeles harbor. This is due to concerns over the placement of the pens and poor maintenance of the net pens. According to Commissioner Franz, the pens present environmental and navigational hazards. Cooke Aquaculture will be required to remove the unsafe and illegal net pens from Port Angeles harbor.
Sierra Club Washington State Chapter sends letter to Governor Jay Inslee regarding the Cooke Aquaculture Atlantic salmon spill (September 7, 2017
Hearing on New Atlantic Salmon Net Pens Postponed (August 31, 2017)
We previously announced a planned hearing on September 7 about Cooke Aquaculture's shoreline permit for the new Atlantic salmon net pens east of Port Angels in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Because of the release August 19 of thousands of Atlantic salmon from Cook Aquaculture's Cypress Island fish farm, Cooke officials requested the delay. Read more.
Comments on the permit application will continue to be accepted. See information below titled Cooke Aquaculture Salmon Farming Relocation Coming to read our comments and learn how to submit your own comments.
State Puts Hold on New Pens for Farmed Atlantic Salmon after Mass Escape in Puget Sound (August 28, 2017)
A planned expansion of Atlantic salmon net-pen operations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca is on hold and no new operations will be allowed under a permit moratorium imposed after a mass escape of farmed salmon.
Cooke Aquaculture Pacific had planned to move and expand its operations near the Ediz Hook. But its failure to safely operate and maintain its existing Cypress Island Farm, allowing about half the 305,000 farmed Atlantic salmon there to escape, caused Gov. Jay Inslee and Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands, to jointly issue a moratorium on any new or pending permits for fish farming in Washington. Read more.
Cooke Aquaculture Salmon Farming Relocation Coming (August 21, 2017)
In light of plans by the U.S. Navy to expand the Coast Guard pier located at Ediz Hook in Port Angeles Harbor, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC is proposing to move its current Salmon Farming (Aquaculture) operation. Cooke fears that turbulence generated by the naval vessels could collapse the existing pens, allowing the Atlantic salmon to escape. The new location is 3.8 miles east of Ediz hook, 1.8 miles north of Morse Creek, and approximately 1.5 miles north of Green Point in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and outside of the shipping lanes.
The new facility will contain fourteen (14) floating circular cages, each 126 feet in diameter, and a feed barge. This proposal requires a Shoreline Substantial Development (SHR 2016-00002) and SEPA Threshold Determination.The new pens will be made of plastic and will cover 9.7 acres of surface water. The DNR aquatic lands lease will increase from 22 acres to 52 acres. They are to accommodate up to 1.1 million salmon, an approximate 20% increase of the current operation. Cooke has filed for the 11 permits required by the various governing agencies.
Critics have worried for years that pen-raised salmon will escape, leading to competition and even interbreeding with wild populations. They also worry that captive fish will infect wild salmon with disease. In addition, they point to the wastes that can build up in water and sediment below the pens and can cause algae bloom. The prospect of new pens in the Strait may bring increased attention to some of these concerns. Sierra Club will be tracking this closely, as will other organizations opposed to net pen aquaculture in open waters.
Click here to read NOG's comments sent on August 21, 2017 to the project manager of the Clallam County Director of Community Development.
Click here to submit comments and read the details of Cooke Aquaculture's request for a Type III Shoreline Substantial Development Permit at Clallam County's permit page on their website.
- Atlantic Salmon Net Pen Information Sheet. The Wild Fish Conservancy's Our Sound Our Salmon campaign developed this Fact Sheet on net pen pollution, escapes and establishments, and disease.
- Atlantic salmon escape fans opposition to company’s proposed new fish farm (KTOO Public Media). A capacity crowd packed into a meeting hall in Sequim August 29, 2017 night for a forum organized by the Sierra Club North Olympic Group.
- Washington state officials form a multiagency response team to oversee and coordinate containment and recovery efforts of escaped Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound. Governor Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz also said the state will not issue new leases or permits for net pens until a full review of the incident is completed. Read the Seattle Times article (August 26, 2017).
- Wild Salmon Advocates Protest Fish Farms Outside of DFO Offices in Vancouver, B.C. (The Tyee, August 23,2017)
- Thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon were accidentally released into the waters between Anacortes and the San Juan Islands (Seattle Times, August 22,2017)
- Officials try to blame eclipse, tides for Atlantic salmon spill in Puget Sound (KUOW Radio, August 22, 2017)
- A fishy excuse? Tribes say eclipse did not cause Atlantic salmon to escape (Crosscut, August 22, 2017)
- Aquaculture awash in controversy (Puget Consumers Co-op, April 2017) State and ocean waters targeted for expanded fish farming
- Our Sound, Our Salmon website - Take Action and Sign the Petition - Say No to Atlantic Salmon Net Pens