After a year of extensive scientific review and public input, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved an application from Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to farm all-female, sterile (triploid) rainbow trout/steelhead in the Puget Sound.
Cooke applied to locally raise trout in January of 2019 in the company’s existing Puget Sound net pens. WDFW approved a five-year permit after conducting a review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
In the fall of last year, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe announced a joint venture with Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to rear sablefish (black cod) and sterile triploid, all-female rainbow trout. The two partners are working together to sustainably rear species native to northwestern US waters, which will require investment in new equipment and technology while supporting local jobs.
“This approval to farm trout through marine aquaculture supports our Council’s commitment to diversified economic development as strong stewards of our environment,” said Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Chairman/CEO W. Ron Allen. “The Cooke team deserves credit for persevering through a rigorous permitting process and never lost sight of our joint goal to demonstrate to state regulators and the public how scientifically sound fish farming is safe. We’re proud to partner with Cooke and look forward to producing top quality seafood for consumers in Washington and across the US.”
Washington’s fish farms have operated in Puget Sound since the 1980s under an assortment of owners throughout the years. In 2016, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific purchased the farms, retained all its rural workforce and began investing to modernize the operations.
“Since coming to Washington as a Canadian family-owned company, caring for our local employees and environmental sustainability have remained our top priority,” said Glenn Cooke, chief executive officer of Cooke Aquaculture Pacific. “We are very pleased the state approved our trout permit and by working together with the forward-thinking Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, we will continue to provide a fresh supply of healthy seafood and contribute to the local economy.”