For years, Atlantic salmon have been raised in floating net pens Cooke Aquaculture owns in Rich Passage off the south end of Bainbridge Island. Following a state ban on nonnative fish farming in 2018, the company is now eying a shift to raising native fish in Puget Sound.
In January, Cooke submitted an application to the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife for a permit to begin raising all-female, sterile rainbow trout, also known as steelhead, at the company’s facilities in Rich Passage and near Hope Island in Skagit County. Earlier this month, the agency issued a mitigated determination of nonsignificance decision on the environmental impact of Cooke’s proposal, with a swath of requirements for how the company operates the pens. A public comment period for the environmental review of the proposal is open through Nov. 1.
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