The Wild Steelhead Coalition is deeply disappointed in the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s recent decision to permit Cooke Aquaculture to transition its banned Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound into steelhead net pens. Fortunately, we still have the opportunity to stop these steelhead pens from becoming a reality, but we need your help to make that possible.
This Thursday, the state Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee is holding a work session to discuss fish farming. We expect Cooke and their allies to testify, and we need senators on the committee to know the public is deeply concerned about these private polluters receiving new permits to operate in Puget Sound. With all of the work Washington is doing to recover steelhead and salmon stocks, as well as the species that rely on them like orcas, it is critical these state senators understand how these net pens will undermine these critical efforts.
WDFW could have demonstrated much-needed leadership by denying these permits. While we are deeply disappointed they did not, we hope other public officials in Washington will step in and take into account the desires of Washingtonians and the legitimate, science-based concerns about how these net pens will impair the health of Puget Sound and push endangered wild salmon and steelhead further down the path to extinction.
Please use this link to send senators on the committee a message by noon on Thursday 2/6 expressing your desire for Washington to more thoroughly scrutinize Cooke’s proposed steelhead net pens. We’ll have more information on the fight to phase out commercial fish farms in Puget Sound soon as we work with partners to strategize next steps, including calling on Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Governor Jay Inslee to block the leases required for Cooke to continue operating in Washington’s public waters.
Thank you for taking action today and please stay tuned for opportunities to take action in the weeks ahead.
The Wild Steelhead Coalition Board of Directors