The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC are teaming up to relaunch a dormant fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor, one of seven Puget Sound bays off the coast of Washington State.
The Tribe and Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture recently announced the joint fish-farm venture to rear black cod and sterile triploid, all-female rainbow trout-steelhead. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the purpose of introducing “mono-sex and sterile” rainbow trout, which are native to Washington, serves to reduce potential genetic integration with the natural population.
The parties plan to raise the species in Port Angeles Harbor once the aquatic farm lease there is reinstated, according to a press release issued by the Tribe on October 3.
“Our Council is committed to pursuing our self-reliance goal through diversified economic development and education, and we believe this partnership with Cooke Aquaculture Pacific will contribute to meeting that goal,” says Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Chairman/CEO W. Ron Allen. “We, along with our sister Tribes, are strong stewards of our environment. And we firmly believe we can implement net pen aquaculture consistent with our tribal heritage and cultural values. By working together, combining our history and experience fishing on the Olympic Peninsula with Cooke’s experience and expertise in aquaculture, we are confident that we can raise a sustainable supply of trout and sablefish and contribute to our local economy.”
This partnership with Cooke augments the well-established working relationship between the Tribe, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Manchester Research Laboratory and the University of Washington, who have worked together since 2015 on black cod aquaculture research.
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is the second largest employer in Clallam County, providing jobs for over 750 people in its Tribal government and businesses. In addition to the businesses that provide revenues for Tribal programs and services, the Tribe is an active partner in many community projects focusing on protection and restoration of natural resources and habitat, improving health and wellness for the Olympic Peninsula, public safety, and promoting quality education.
“The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is known for being progressive and forward-thinking in its approach to resource management and economic development,” says Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture Pacific. “We look forward to working together to produce top quality seafood for consumers in Washington and across the U.S.”
Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture has been given a five-year permit to grow trout in open-net farms in Washington’s waters. A ban on ocean-based fish farms exists in British Columbia. Cooke’s staff of 60 full-time employees presently raise 800,000 Atlantic salmon in Washington.
The Tribal and corporate partners are expecting to start up the operations in the fall of 2019.