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Cooke pays hefty fine for salmon escape

1 May 2019, at 9:40am

Cooke Aquaculture has agreed to pay $332,000 in fines after the collapse of pens at its Cyress Island facility in Washington state in 2017 led to the escape of 250,000 non-native Atlantic salmon into the Puget Sound.

Washington State’s Department of Ecology announced on Monday that Cooke Aquaculture had dropped its appeal and agreed to pay the full fine for the escape.

Following the incident, which Cooke blamed on unusually strong tides, the state’s legislature decided to ban the production of non-native fish by 2022, while Cooke’s remaining salmon sites in the state are subject to increased surveillance in the meantime.

According to the Department of Ecology about 80 percent of the fine will be spent on regional salmon enhancement or habitat restoration projects. The rest will go to the state's Coastal Protection Fund.