The Strait of Juan de Fuca is considered ideal for the project. (Photo: Stock File/Pacific Seafood/FIS)
Seafood company pitches fish pen proposal to government agencies
Thursday, November 03, 2011, 19:40 (GMT + 9)
Oregon-based seafood company Pacific Aquaculture presented its case at a preliminary meeting with government agencies this week in Port Angeles to build a new fish farm in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
A division of Pacific Seafood, Pacific Aquaculture made its presentation to local, state and federal agencies at the private pre-application meeting for a joint aquatic resources permit.
“We don’t have any announcement,” said John Bielka, general manager of Pacific Seafood, after exiting the meeting. “We were just there to listen.”
“We gave a presentation on what we kind of envision. This is all very preliminary,” he added, Peninsula Daily News reports.
Attendees at the meeting included state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials, the US Army Corp of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Clallam County Planning Manager Steve Gray, Bielka said. It took place at the Clallam County Courthouse.
Pacific Seafood is analyzing how feasible it would be to raise steelhead trout and Atlantic Salmon in 24 circular net pens one or two miles offshore, more specifically between the Lyre and Twin rivers 20 mi northwest of Port Angeles.
Bielka has said the Strait of Juan de Fuca would be ideal for the project because of the cool, nutrient-rich water and constant tidal action that runs through and would flush away the aquaculture waste.
Pacific Seafood said its fish farm could raise 5,000 tonnes of fish per year and would lead to as many as 80 job openings if a processing facility were constructed in Clallam County.
However, no future meetings with regulators have been set so far, Bielka said, and no application for the fish farm has been submitted to the county.
Something for fish farms to consider is the recent discovery of a potentially lethal salmon virus in two juvenile sockeye salmon caught from the central coast of Canada’s British Columbia (BC).
The fish infected with infectious aalmon anemia (ISA) actually came from Fraser Valley -- one of the world's greatest salmon streams -- not too far from the border with Washington state, Seattle PI reports.
Harmless to humans, the virus has caused massive losses to aquaculture ventures in Chile and could have a devastating effect on wild salmon and other Pacific Northwest species, researchers have cautioned.
John Kerwin, who supervises the fish health unit at the state Fish and Wildlife, noted that the virus has not been detected in the 56,000 hatchery and wild fish that the state tested in 2010.
American Gold Seafoods is currently the only company growing Atlantic salmon in Washington and it has not detected the virus. The company runs one of its operations in Port Angeles.
Pacific Seafood assured that all its fish would be vaccinated and tested for diseases.
- Pacific Seafood wants to raise steelhead, salmon in Washington
By Natalia Real