GOODBYE COOKE - Washington State denies Cooke new net-pen leases in Puget Sound
The Wild Fish Conservancy celebrates a massive victory of their 5 year long campaign to end industrial net-pen fish farming in Puget Sound.
This week, Washington state took the bold action to end commercial net pen aquaculture in Puget Sound, where Cooke is the sole commercial net-pen operator.
Cooke has until December 14th to harvest any remaining fish and completely remove all of their facilities and debris from the public waters.
“Since the catastrophic Cypress Island net pen collapse in 2017, I have stood tall to defend the waters of Puget Sound. This effort began by terminating finfish net pen operations due to lease violations. Despite years of litigation – and a company that has fought us every step of the way – we are now able to deny lease renewals for the remaining net pen sites.” - Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, November 14, 2022
"The importance of this decision for wild fish, water quality, and the greater health of Puget Sound cannot be overstated. Immediately, this action will cease the chronic untreated pollution that has been discharged every single day by this industry over the past thirty years. Finally, these heavily polluted and degraded sites will have the opportunity to heal and begin the process of natural restoration as part of the largest passive restoration project in Washington’s history.
Wild fish will migrate freely through Puget Sound without the risk of exposure to viruses, parasites, and diseases amplified and spread at unnatural levels by massive densities of farmed fish, and Washington will never face the risk of another catastrophic net pen collapse ever again.
"Today, we are returning our waters to wild fish and natural habitat. Today, we are freeing Puget Sound of enclosed cages. This is a critical step to support our waters, fishermen, tribes, and the native salmon that we are so ferociously fighting to save.” - Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, November 14, 2022
"We also cannot emphasize enough the importance of this for the public’s use and enjoyment of Puget Sound. For the first time in three decades, DNR’s decision will restore the public and Tribal access to over 130 acres of Puget Sound that have been restricted and degraded by this industry for far too long."
Read the full article of Wild Fish Conservancy's overview of this historic win here.
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