Conservation Group Challenging Cooke Aquaculture for Area Leases

PORT ANGELES – As the 15-year leases held by Cooke Aquaculture to operate net pen facilities in Port Angeles Harbor and elsewhere in the Puget Sound approach their expiration date, a conservation group has formally submitted a proposal to lease those same sites themselves and restore them for public use.

On Wednesday, Wild Fish Conservancy submitted applications to the Department of Natural Resources and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz ahead of next year’s expiration of Cooke’s four existing leases on state-owned aquatic lands. Cooke will also have to reapply.

The state banned any further raising of Atlantic salmon after a net pen collapse at Cooke’s Cypress Island facility released hundreds of thousands of the non-native fish in 2017.

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