Aquaculture

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Cooke Aquaculture pays $156,213 for exceeding biomass limits in its salmon pens

Company is also required to set out a new plan and submit it to the Maine Environment Agency.

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The Maine Department of Environment Protection has settled with Cooke Aquaculture for $156,213 (€140,000) for a number of violations concerning its netpen facilities, an amount which will go to the funding of the Marine Rearing Atlantic Salmon Machias River Project.

Cooke violated the terms of the Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES) general permit for netpen aquaculture -- which was attained in 2014 -- by exceeding the maximum biomass in its pens and failing to submit a number of required notices and pieces of documentation.

The company is also required to submit a plan outlining its strategy to reduce fish density within the next 30 days and will continue to be reviewed by the environmental agency.

Last week, during a US Senate hearing on the the growth of aquaculture and a proposed bill for regulating offshore aquaculture farms, Cooke Aquaculture was called out by those who opposed the bill for the company's 2017 netpen salmon disaster in Washington state.

"We would be remiss if we didn’t address some of the challenges," said Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, calling Cooke's escape event "an act of gross negligence."

Earlier this month, the company's practices also spurred controversy when animal rights group Compassion Over Killing (COK) went undercover at Cooke Aquaculture's operations in Bingham, Maine -- an Atlantic salmon hatchery that supplies to Martha Stewart's True North Seafood line -- and published troubling footage that, among other things, showed workers abusing salmon.

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