Jamestown Tribe, Cooke Aquaculture still plan fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC are still planning to float a sterile-steelhead fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor despite the site having been left off the Canadian company’s pending list of aquaculture-related permits, tribal and company officials said this week.

A lease application for fish pens, which would be located west of the former site of Cooke’s Atlantic salmon farm off Ediz Hook, will be submitted to the state Department of Natural Resources within the next two weeks, Jamestown Seafood CEO Kurt Grinnell predicted Thursday, Sept. 17.

Grinnell, a tribal council member, said the $12 million facility could be in operation by 2022.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC are still planning to float a sterile-steelhead fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor despite the site having been left off the Canadian company’s pending list of aquaculture-related permits, tribal and company officials said this week.

A lease application for fish pens, which would be located west of the former site of Cooke’s Atlantic salmon farm off Ediz Hook, will be submitted to the state Department of Natural Resources within the next two weeks, Jamestown Seafood CEO Kurt Grinnell predicted Thursday.

Grinnell, a tribal council member, said the $12 million facility could be in operation by 2022.

The ban on non-native farmed fish species goes into effect in 2022.

Steelhead are native to Washington waters.

Last week, the state Department of Ecology announced a public comment period ending Oct. 26 for updated water quality permits that Cooke requested to raise the steelhead, or anadromous rainbow trout, at four facilities at Hope Island in Skagit Bay and Rich Passage in Kitsap County.

Last October, the tribe and Cooke announced the joint fish-farm venture that will soon apply for an aquatic lands lease.

Cooke spokesman Joel Richardson said in an email last week that those efforts are ongoing.

“We are working with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to establish trout aquaculture operations in Port Angeles Harbor which will require investment in new equipment and technology while supporting local jobs,” he said.

Tribal Chairman Ron Allen said last week the tribe and Cooke have been in close touch with DNR and Ecology on a permit application.

“I don’t know when it will be, but they know it’s coming,” he said.

Obtaining the lease could be complicated by ongoing litigation between Cooke and DNR.

Tribal officials said last October in announcing the partnership that they are seeking reinstatement of Cooke’s former lease “in exchange for significant investment by the venture in new infrastructure and local jobs in the area.”

DNR aquatic lands spokesman Joe Smillie said Sept. 17 that the agency has discussed a potential sterile-steelhead net-pen lease with tribal officials.

Grinnell said ecological and other concerns over fish farms should not be an issue.

“It’s a natural stock, so there’s no longer an issue of non-native salmon, which are no longer legal,” he said.

“The technology and integrity of the pens are better than ever.

“The steelhead are sterile steelhead, and they can’t breed.”

Grinnell said the Colville Tribe is successfully raising steelhead.

“There’s lots of permitting to do,” Grinnell added.

Allyson Brekke, director of the Port Angeles department of community and economic development, said Thursday she was unaware of the proposal.

“If a development is proposed within the city’s shoreline jurisdiction, then yes, a shoreline review would occur,” she said in a text message.

“I’m not comfortable saying what type of review until I see a proposal.”

State authority over the four proposed sterile-steelhead farms is held in part by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which regulates the ecological impacts of marine aquaculture to prevent disease in wild stocks, Ecology said in a prepared statement on Cooke’s water quality permit application.

Ecology protects water quality through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, while DNR manages the aquatic lands leases.

Ecology has determined that switching species will not change potential impacts on water quality but has added requirements that include clarifying that net-pen fish cannot be released, according to the statement.

Requirements were added on notifying state agencies “of events that could potentially lead to fish escape,” Ecology said.

Additional measures include increased monitoring and reporting of fish escape during stocking and harvesting, monthly reporting of fish feed consumption and additional details on net maintenance.

Cooke also would be required “to study new technologies and propose alternatives that reduce waste from feed,” Ecology said.

Grinnell is familiar with opposition to fish farming.

“We feel there is a middle ground with aquaculture, whether we are raising finfish or shellfish or macroalgae [seaweeds],” he said.

“We feel there is a way of producing clean, sustainable protein.”

The key is using “best practices,” he said, adding that most seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 80 percent of seafood is imported, half of which is from aquaculture.

“We feel this will take pressure off of our wild stock, that we can produce fish or shellfish that we can get to the consumer and our own tribe of people,” Grinnell said.

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe eyes Point Hudson oyster nursery

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe wants to grow young shellfish in Point Hudson Marina.

The proposal to install a small float as an oyster nursery at the facility will be discussed by Port of Port Townsend commissioners at their meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The public can watch the proceedings via digital media.

Port commissioners also will review the 2021 port budget and rate adjustments.

The tribe is interested in leasing one of the Point Hudson buildings for a possible seafood market and oyster bar, the port said in a meeting announcement.

The floating upweller system, or FLUPSY for the first two letters in each word, would be located in a corner of Point Hudson, the announcement said.

The tribe operates a larger array of FLUPSY floats inside John Wayne Marina in Sequim, which port commissioners have visited.

“Locating a FLUPSY inside a marina protects the juvenile oysters from predators and allows it to be used for educational purposes,” the port said.

When the oysters are mature enough, they would be relocated to another facility.

“The Jamestown S’Klallam are working with the port to explore the possibility of returning seafood commerce and tribal culture to Point Hudson,” Kyle E. Johnson, the tribe’s Economic Development Authority executive director, said in the announcement.

For information on the meeting, visit portofpt.com. Under “Governance,” go to “Meeting Schedule” then to “Sept. 23.”

More in News

Long-term care facility reaches 22 COVID-19 cases; peninsula hospitals restricting visitors

The number of COVID-19 cases on the North Olympic Peninsula continued to… Continue reading

Officials: Avoid gathering with non-household members for holiday

North Olympic Peninsula health officials are urging residents to not gather and… Continue reading

Man in Carlsborg collision earlier this month dies

A driver who was in a three-car wreck on U.S. Highway 101… Continue reading

x
Lighting up the season

A group of volunteers were busy this past weekend adorning Sequim with… Continue reading

x
Sequim schools to close buildings, revert to remote learning

Students in the Sequim School District will return to all remote learning… Continue reading

Peninsula COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise as Clallam adds 58 since Nov. 19

Clallam and Jefferson counties added 13 COVID-19 cases combined as the North… Continue reading

Decision on MAT hearing expected by Dec. 18

Update editor’s note: The hearing for the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic closed… Continue reading

Sequim chamber, city partner to provide more small business relief funds

The City of Sequim and the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce are… Continue reading

Community news briefs — Nov. 25, 2020

Tractor Parade modified for 2020 Organizers with the Sequim Museum & Arts’… Continue reading

Most Read