Cooke to pay state $156K over multiple fish pen violations

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Salmon farmer will fund wild salmon restoration effort following multiple violations of its operating permits, as part of a consent agreement with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Bangor Daily News reports that Cooke violated its operating permit by having too many fish in one or more pens, failing to conduct environmental sampling, and failing to follow a variety of clerical procedures that include timely filing of complete and accurate pollution sampling reports and timely submissions of fish spill prevention plans.

To resolve the violations, the State are making Cooke pay more than USD 156,000 to fund a state-led program called The Marine Rearing Atlantic Salmon Machias River Project.

The project will raise 900 native Atlantic salmon in ocean net pens, then deliver them to the Machias River when they reach adulthood.

“While net pens are not new in Maine, utilizing net pens for conservation goals is a relatively new science-based idea that is showing promise in the Bay of Fundy through the Fundy Salmon Recovery partnership,” Cooke spokesman Joel Richardson un a statement. “The disappearance of [wild] Atlantic salmon poses a real environmental issue and threatens the culture, history, and economy of Maine and Indian tribal communities.”

The consent agreement is unrelated to allegations of animal cruelty at its Bingham hatchery earlier this month.