NWAA Applauds the Washington Dept. of Ecology for Giving the Green Light to Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to Raise Steelhead


January 6, 2021– The Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (NWAA), a leading voice for responsible aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest, applauds the State of Washington Department of Ecology for making a science-based decision in approving the permit modification application from NWAA member company, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, LLC, making it possible for the company to raise steelhead at four of its sites previously used to raise Atlantic salmon.

NWAA Executive Director Jeanne McKnight noted that, in addition to the Department of Ecology’s review of water quality permits—which took one year to complete—the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) previously spent one year analyzing potential impacts to Puget Sound, during which WDFW analyzed more than 150 studies on marine aquaculture. In they end, WDFW concluded that farming steelhead posed no significant risk to the marine environment.

“This decision is a victory, not only for science, but also for food security and job creation in rural areas,” said McKnight. “Despite the concerted misinformation campaign that some anti-aquaculture ENGO groups have waged against marine aquaculture, in the end, such groups failed to prove any negative impacts of fish farming on the marine environment.  We appreciate the professionals who work for our state agencies for seeing past the misinformation campaign and letting science rule the day.”

“As an industry, aquaculture is a job-creator, bringing much-needed employment to rural areas where jobs are scarce. It also attracts a range of support businesses that also provide direct and indirect economic benefits. Giving the green light to Cooke to raise much-needed protein and to do so in a responsible manner is great news for the Blue Revolution—aquaculture—in this region.”

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