800,000 more farmed Atlantic salmon coming to Puget Sound

Nearly 1 million more Atlantic salmon are headed to Puget Sound, a year after a catastrophic fish escape caused by the same company that now is stocking more pens.

The Washington State Legislature last session passed and the governor signed into law a phase out of the open net pen Atlantic fish-farming industry in Washington. But the industry is continuing to operate under its existing permits until  valid leases expire, by 2022 at the earliest.

To continue its operations, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific sought and received permission this week from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to restock two of its farms, one at its Orchard Rocks facility in Rich Passage off the south end of Bainbridge Island, and the other at Hope Island near the mouth of the Skagit River. Cooke is stocking the farms with 800,000 young Atlantics to grow to harvest size in about 16 months.

The department in May denied a similar permit for Cooke after testing revealed an exotic strain of piscine orthreovirus (PRV) in the fish.

The department had no basis under which to deny the new permit because testing by both Cooke and the department showed the fish in this batch to be free of PRV, said Ken Warheit, director of fish health for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

LINK (via: The Seattle Times)

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