Draft Cooke Aquaculture permit modifications to raise steelhead
We drafted revised permits at four facilities to allow Cooke Aquaculture to raise all-female, sterile rainbow trout, also known as steelhead. As steelhead are native to Washington, they are not part of the 2018 law phasing out non-native species in marine fish farming by 2022. However, this draft permit modification does not extend the life of the permits, which expire in 2024. The current permits were originally issued to allow for two years of closure activities and monitoring after the facilities aquatic lands leases from the DNR expire in 2022.
Comment period: Sept. 9 - Oct. 26, 2020
We invite you to comment on draft modifications to water quality permits for four net pens — one near Hope Island in Skagit Bay, and three in Rich Passage in Kitsap County (see maps below).
Since the change from Atlantic salmon to steelhead is not likely to change the effect to water quality we have decided to move forward and hold a comment period on the draft permits. In the draft permits, we included all water quality related WDFW mitigations and took the opportunity to further strengthen the permit to protect water quality. Changes to the permits include:
- Clarifying that any fish reared in Cooke’s net pens are prohibited from release.
- Adding requirements and details on how to notify state agencies of events that could potentially lead to fish escape.
- Increasing monitoring and reporting of potential fish escape during stocking and harvesting.
- Adding monthly reporting for fish feed consumption.
- Adding details on how nets must be maintained.
- Adding a requirement to study new technologies and propose alternatives that reduce waste from feed.
Submitting written comments
You can submit comments until Oct. 26, 2020:
- Online via the online comment form
- By mail:
Laurie Niewolny, Water Quality Program
Washington State Department of Ecology
PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504
Online public workshop and hearing
We invite you to attend an online public workshop followed by a formal hearing to accept oral comments on the permit modifications.
Oct. 14, 2020
Starting at 6 p.m.
Register to attend the event
Applications to modify permits
Cooke started this process by first submitting applications requesting to modify their permits. We held a public comment period on those applications in Spring 2020. Read the comments we received on the applications or read the full application materials below.