Anti-salmon farming groups file lawsuit against Washington authorities’ decision to allow Cooke Aquaculture to farm steelhead in Puget Sound

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Lawsuit filed by Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth.

In a press release, Conservation and environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging a recent decision by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife permitting Cooke Aquaculture to rear domesticated steelhead in Puget Sound net pens, Northwest of the U.S. state of Washington.

In January, authorities greenlit a five-year permit applies to existing net pens in Puget Sound where Cooke holds valid aquatic land leases with the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

This includes four pens currently operating near Rich Passage and Skagit Bay, but may later extend to three other net pens owned by Cooke.

The lawsuit filed by Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth charges that the decision to permit this change in species poses “significant environmental risks and that it depends on mitigation measures that will not prevent the well-documented environmental harm this proposal poses to Puget Sound”.

The state fined Cooke USD 332,000 for its 2017 escape, WFC’s lawsuit over those same violations and others resulted in a USD 2.75 million settlement.

The conservation groups bringing this challenge are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC and by attorneys at the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity.