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Media Advisory: Fate of Puget Sound Commercial Fish Farms to Be Decided at Thursday's Virtual Hearing

September 22, 2020
Center for Food Safety

Fate of Puget Sound Commercial Fish Farms to Be Decided at Thursday's Virtual Hearing

SEATTLE, WA— A challenge to permits allowing continued commercial fish farming in Puget Sound will be heard via Zoom on Thursday in King County Superior Court. The complaint, filed in February by Center for Food Safety and allies, demands the repeal of the permits and robust environmental review of this harmful practice. The decision could potentially affect seven commercial fish farms. 

The Washington legislature banned all net-pen farming of non-native fish in the state in 2018 in response to the catastrophic collapse of Cooke Aquaculture's Cypress Island facility, which resulted in the release of more than 250,000 non-native Atlantic salmon infected with an exotic virus.

New permits issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in January exploit a loophole by allowing Cooke to raise partially sterile, triploid steelhead trout in lieu of Atlantic salmon. The permits were issued without adequately considering the scientific evidence that these floating feedlots would harm wild, endangered steelhead trout, salmon and Southern Resident killer whales, degrade water quality, and damage the overall health of Puget Sound.

Thursday's hearing will determine whether the project can go forward without more environmental analysis or the department needs to further consider the impacts net pens will have on water and wildlife.  

WHAT: A virtual legal hearing to determine whether a project to farm steelhead in Puget Sound net pens can move forward.

WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, 9 a.m.

WHERE: https://kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/directory/judges/bender.aspx

WHO: The hearing is open to the public. Organizational contacts are available for interviews before and after, please email pr@centerforfoodsafety.org with any inquiries.

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