Mussels played part in Cooke pen collapse: report

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Investigators looking into why Cooke Aquaculture’s net-pen array in the Salish Sea off Washington State collapsed last summer appear to have zoned in on weighty marine growth as a probably cause, judging by an article in the Seattle Times.

The feature-length article pointed to pictures seen of cage netting lowered onto to a dock and nearly completely covered in muscles, kelp and algae. According to the report, the Cypress Island farm, one of three, had faced the current (unlike the other two), and Cooke was about to correct the extra drag created by the angle but was holding out to harvest 30,000 t of fish in September.

Read Defiant Cooke loses Washington permit

The Times also came upon company notes that showed two of three net-cleaning machines were out of service.

“Net washing machines were down. This kept them behind on keeping up with removing mussel growth,” notes were reported as saying. Several employees are understood to have attested to problems with maintenance.