April 4, 2017
Meeting was called to order at 7:30am. Peggy Norris led the flag salute.
Vince Cooke and Adele Arneson.
Sam Phillips moved and Jerry Austin seconded acceptance of the minutes from March 28. Motion passed.
Matthew Rainwater reminded members of the “Pennies for Quarters” Q&A and Fundraiser on Saturday, April 15.
George Bergner drew everyone’s attention to the article in today’s PDN about Nature Conservancy’s logging practices in the Cle Elum area.
Dan Gase announced that now that he has retired from the real estate business, he is working for the Port and Fairchild Airport on Aviation and Space issues.
Steve Bierman said a Software Data Network Group will be meeting soon in Sequim.
Innes Weir, General Manage of Cook Aquaculture Pacific, LLC, said he has 30 years experience in fish farming. He said his company may not be the biggest, but it is one of the BEST in Salmon Farming. He presented a powerpoint program entitled, “A world of seafood at your fingertips.” He then traced the history of Salmon Farming in Norway to Washington State. Early efforts in the state in the 1950’s were discontinued due to disease and environmental restraints. Starting in the 1970’s with Tim Joiner at Bainbridge, eggs were raised and then released up and don the sound. Eggs grown to pan size were sold to the public due to demand and were never released. East Coast fisheries became involved and a million Atlantic Salmon were ready for transfer and then “the whole thing was called off”.
No Pacific Salmon have been raise because Atlantic are domesticated to the point they can be raised easier in pens. Between 1951 and 1981, 5 million fish were released but none of them back back. They usually stay near their source of food. By the 1990’s, wile catch was down and aquaculture was up, in fact, it has doubled in the last few years. Atlantic Salmon, small trout, large trout, have increased for domestic use, while wild fish are usually sent to China. The United States is the third largest market for seafood but is 15th in aquaculture raised fish. Imports are in the billions of dollars, while exports are only in the millions.
Innes said there is a market for Washington State salmon, and Cooke is going to produce the best they can. They have purchase Icicle Foods and now have operations in South America, Spain, Canada and Scotland. Cooke is the only sea farm company in the United States working to provide a sustainable yet tasty product.
Salmon Farms take eggs through four tests, to check for problems and disease, before transporting eggs to pens. Cages are monitored, checked and cleaned constantly whether full or not. Professional veterinarians, party audits and Fish and Wildlife Departments also monitor the business. Cooke follows the Best Practice Policy since the United States has no standards. Cooke says they are not a fish lot. The Department of Ecology is updating its standards and will chart Cooke’s practices. The Company has its own divers since most of the pens/cages are underwater and need to be checked for algae, oxygen and turbidity. The nets do not contain any copper and are checked daily for dead fish. Any dead fish are removed and noted. Underwater cameras are also used.
Why relocate from the Spit? The US Navy Submarine work necessitates it. The move will be a good time to change to special plastic netting and space the pens for better flow of water. The new pens will be white but will be harder to see. A small barge for food will be the only thing seen. There will be a navigation lights but most of the business will be “site unseen”.
Many permits will need to be obtained from the County Shoreline Act, the US Army Corps, Department of Ecology (UPDES) and State DNR. Expected costs have risen from the 2014 estimate of $7.5 million to $9 million now.
** John Brewer moved and Steve Bierman seconded extending the meeting for 15 minutes. Motion carried. **
Permitting process and hearing will allow public comments. The whole move – off Morse Creek – is now scheduled for 2019.
Mr. Weird was proud to say that some of their employees have been with the Company for 15 – 30 years. Salaries total half a million dollars, as do local services.
Q & A
A: Seals and Sea Lions are the worst. Nets are doubled and inspected daily to keep them out.
Q: Escaped fish?
A: None have escaped from Port Angeles but since they are not river fish, they probably would just “hang around”. Pens are watched to make sure recreational fisherman do not steer into them.
Q: Is US Navy helping with the funding?
A: TAFY will pay for the test which is taken at Peninsula College. THey also pay for food handling permits, union cards, CPR training and CDL.
Q: What can be done to break the cycle?
A: NO! There seems to be more of an understanding then in the past, but Navy is not allowed to support financially or even with public support.
A: There are now 10 employees and several more could be added, after the move, if a warehouse is added. The warehouse would be used for mending nets and for storage of supplies.
April 11: Tourism in Forks
Meeting adjourned at 8:34am.