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PLB Invites you to make comments to Washington Department of Ecology re Cooke's application

Protect Liverpool Bay invites you to make comments on the application from Cooke Aquaculture Pacific currently before the Washington Department of Ecology.  They would like to ‘farm' Trout in open net-pens instead of non-native 'Atlantic Salmon'. If you need any background information before making comments, google “Washington State and Cooke” (also check the Articles archive page here on PLB's website under LEARN MORE) otherwise, knowing them as a tenant here in Nova Scotia and the global shift to move farms to ON LAND closed containment please state your wishes for Washington State.  

As subscribers to their news updates on Cooke's applications in Puget Sound, we recently received the following notice from Laurie Niewolny, of Washington Department of Ecology:


RE: Applications to Modify Net Pen Water Quality Permits to Raise Steelhead

The Washington Department of Ecology received applications from Cooke Aquaculture Pacific requesting to modify its existing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for four Puget Sound net pens – three in Rich Passage in Kitsap County and one near Hope Island and Skagit County.

The company wants to raise all-female, sterile rainbow trout, also known as steelhead, which are native to Washington, instead of non-native Atlantic salmon. As steelhead are native to Washington, they are not part of the 2018 law phasing out non-native species in marine fish farming by 2022.

We want your feedback by May 22, 2020

We invite you to comment on the applications and supporting documents. All documents can be found on our Salmon Net Pen Water Quality Individual Permits webpage.


The deadline for submitting written comments: is 11:59 p.m. on May 22, 2020. You can submit comments:

· Using the online comment form

· By mail:

Laurie Niewolny, Water Quality Program

Washington State Department of Ecology

P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504

Multi-agency Process

We follow the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW's) issuance of its Marine Aquaculture Permit allowing Cooke to farm this native salmon in Puget Sound. WDFW regulates ecological impacts of marine aquaculture to prevent disease and deleterious effects to wild fish stocks. Our role is to consider how the new species affects the discharges from the operation and what is required to protect water quality as a result. The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides state aquatic land leases to Cooke.

A decision by Ecology to modify the current permits will not extend the permit length, which expire in 2024. The permits were originally issued to allow for two years of closure activities and monitoring after Cooke’s aquatic lands leases from the Department of Natural Resources expire in 2022.

Next Steps

Following this application comment period, we will review the public feedback make a determination on modifying the permits. If Ecology decides to modify the existing permits, we will make the drafts available for public review and feedback.

Honoring public participation

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, we realize your attention may be divided. We’re working to stay on track with our work to protect water quality where we need to make decisions and move projects forward in a timely manner, while also respecting your right to learn about and comment on decisions affecting your community.

Right now, we’re at the beginning of the decision making process. However, we need to move forward now in order to allow time to consider any feedback we receive. There will be more opportunities to engage with us before a final decision is made. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together during this time.


Laurie Niewolny

Phone: 360-407-7666


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