Atlantic Salmon Farming Ban

In this Aug. 28, 2017 photo provided by the state Department of Natural Resources, a crane and boats are anchored next to a collapsed net pen used by Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to farm Atlantic Salmon near Cypress Island.

The state has again extended the opportunity to comment on Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to move from farming Atlantic salmon to farming native steelhead trout.

The deadline to comment is now 5 p.m. Nov. 22.

Cooke Aquaculture proposes raising sterile female steelhead at its various fish farms, or net pens, in the Puget Sound region, including at Hope Island near the Kukutali Preserve portion of Deception Pass State Park.

The company is being forced to consider new options for its farms due to a decision from the state Legislature to phase out Atlantic salmon farming through 2022, in response to the collapse of one of Cooke’s farms in August 2017.

That farm was located at Cypress Island and its collapse — deemed through a state investigation to have been caused by the negligence of the company — allowed hundreds of thousands of the nonnative fish into area waters.

Cooke applied for permits for steelhead farming from the state Department of Fish & Wildlife, which is taking public comment as part of an environmental review process.

Fish & Wildlife opened public comment Oct. 1 and has twice extended the deadline due to the amount of public interest.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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