Cooke Aquaculture Communications Manager : ‘It’s been very busy here, as you can imagine’

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Cooke’s communications manager, Chuck Brown, does not hide the fact that it has been a busy time since one of their fish farms collapsed in August.

On Saturday 19th of August, a fish farm belonging to Cooke collapsed at the Cypress Island farm site #2 off the state of Washington on the US Pacific Coast.

Chuck Brown/Cooke Aquaculture. PHOTO: Private

“It’s been very busy here as you can imagine. As of today we remain in a serious cleanup operation. We continue to remove fish from within the damaged enclosure and we have begun removing some of the nets. We’ve removed a small walkway section of the cage structure. This work is ongoing and getting this done safely remains our focus,” Chuck Brown told SalmonBusiness.

“The Unified Incident Command”
The Unified Incident Command, which is made up of state and other agencies, has been set up to coordinate investigations into why the fish farm collapsed.

In a press release, Gov. Jay Inslee and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz say that the state will not issue any new leases or permits for marine Atlantic salmon net pens until a full review of this incident has been completed.

160,000 fish still on the loose
The total number of fish recovered from the damaged farm site is 142,176. The site is now clear of fish. That means over 160,000 fish escaped from the farm, as the total number was orignally 305,000 fish.

Repairs at the farm were carried out during the summer.

“I don’t have details on who built the cage or who specifically worked on the farm in July. I do know this cage was due for replacement and reorientation and we had submitted permit applications to do this work. The farm system was to be replaced after this group of fish was harvested – which was scheduled for this fall,” says Chuck Brown.