In August 2017, at least 263,000 farmed Atlantic salmon escaped from Cooke Aquaculture’s net pens at Washington’s Cypress Island into Washington state waters. The incident launched a legislated process to phase out nonnative finfish farming in Washington by 2025, and a $332,000 fine for Cooke Aquaculture, a Canadian multinational seafood company.
As Cooke sunsets its Atlantic salmon farming in the state, it has experienced at least two viral outbreaks impacting more than 1 million fish; and was fined for more water quality violations.
But not quite two years since the disaster, Cooke Aquaculture is exploring something that has put environmental activists on alert: the possibility of transitioning its remaining net pens to farm native steelhead trout.
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