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

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But Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, and Friends of the Earth are appealing to the Washington Supreme Court.

Anti-salmon farming groups write that they are challenging a November court ruling that rejected that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) acted in a cursory way in issuing a permit to Cooke Aquaculture.

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. The fish farmer aims to rear domesticated steelhead in Puget Sound net pens, north-west of the U.S. state of Washington.

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

In a press release on Monday, conservation and environmental groups Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth wrote that they filed an appeal directly to the Washington Supreme Court challenging the ruling. They challenged the initial ruling in February.

“The question at the heart of this lawsuit is whether or not the agency’s environmental review of the science sufficiently considered the risks posed by Cooke’s new project,” said Executive Director of Wild Fish Conservancy Kurt Beardslee.

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