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Cooke Aquaculture farm. (Photo: Cooke Aquaculture)

Cooke not allowed to restock salmon in Cypress island farm

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 02:50 (GMT + 9)

A Thurston County Superior Court Judge, at Washington state, has denied authorisation for Cooke Aquaculture to restock its Cypress Island net-pen farm with Atlantic salmon.

The company’s license to operate the farm came to an end after last August’s collapse leading to the release of more than 300,000 Atlantic salmon.

Cooke had sought a preliminary injunction to restock the pen while it was working to overturn the termination with a lawsuit against Washington's Department of Natural Resources (DNR), presented in February.

The company wanted to restock the farm with nearly 800,000 more juvenile Atlantic salmon but Judge John Skinder sided with the department, who insisted the farm remain fallow.

“Today’s decision is a win for the people and waters of Washington,” said Hilary Franz, commissioner of public lands in a prepared statement.

“When I terminated Cooke’s lease, I did so based on clear evidence that the company failed to properly clean and maintain its facility, in violation of its lease,” the commissioner added.

A report compiled by the state’s departments of fish and wildlife, ecology and natural resources said that Cooke Aquaculture Pacific had failed to adequately clean nets holding farmed salmon, leading to the net pen failure.

“Once again, I encourage Cooke to drop this baseless lawsuit and work with us to safely and quickly wind-up its operations and vacate the site,” Franz said.

Franz recalled that in December, she terminated the state’s lease with Cooke in Port Angeles, saying the company violated the terms of the lease, which the company challenged at Court.

In March, Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation that will phase out marine farming of Atlantic salmon and other nonnative fish, with no new leases allowed after the current ones expire by 2025.

After its approval, the company announced it will assess what to do with its operations in Washington.

Related articles:

- Washington passes Atlantic salmon farm ban law
- Washington State cancels Cooke lease on Cypress Island


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