The battle over fish farming in Puget Sound is not over yet.
Whether Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to raise native steelhead at fish farms in Puget Sound is a simple business transition or a complex threat to the marine ecosystem is being debated in King County Superior Court. Judge Johanna Bender heard testimony Thursday over Zoom in a lawsuit environment groups brought against the state Department of Fish & Wildlife for granting a permit to the seafood company to raise steelhead. The environment groups — Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth — contend Fish & Wildlife did not meet the requirements of SEPA, the State Environmental Policy Act, before issuing a mitigated determination of non-significance for Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to move into the production of steelhead following a state-mandated phase-out of non-native Atlantic salmon. The state Office of the Attorney General and Cooke Aquaculture disagree. Kimberly Cauvel report. (Skagit Valley Herald)