On October 1st, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) advanced a proposal to allow farmed steelhead to be planted in Cooke’s existing Puget Sound net pens, determining that environmental impacts were likely to be non-significant. For public review, all that was provided was a paltry 30-day comment period.
We cannot allow this fish farm bait and switch to become a reality, so it is critical we speak up today and send a loud and clear message to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife that the state needs to conduct a more thorough environmental review process. This review is especially needed since the state’s current analysis relies on a decades-old EIS with limited supplemental information, which is absurd and totally insufficient for an inherently high-risk project operated by a company with an abysmal safety record.
Steelhead net pens could have major repercussions on Washington’s wild steelhead populations. Not only would these net pens be a massive source of pollution and have the potential to spread deadly diseases and viruses to wild fish, but escaped farmed fish could interbreed with wild steelhead stocks and dilute the genetic pool. While the project calls for the use of triploid (sterile) steelhead, this sterilization is not 100 percent successful, making the risk of interbreeding very likely in the event of a catastrophic spill.
Please take a minute to tell the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct a full environmental review of this perilous proposal. Our iconic state fish are far too important to Washington’s people, economy, and ecosystem to risk them by dangerously rushing through this important environmental review process.
LINK (via: Wild Steelhead Coalition)