On May 17th, WDFW issued a press release announcing that sampled juvenile Atlantic salmon in Cooke Aquaculture's Rochester, WA hatchery tested positive for what the agency calls an "Icelandic form" of Piscine Reovirus (PRV). Due to these positive test results, the agency has denied permission for Cooke Aquaculture to transport 800,000 juvenile Atlantic salmon to a vacant net pen in Rich Passage.
In the release the agency reported that the samples were collected by an independent licensed veterinarian under contract with Cooke and subsequently tested at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University. The test results were confirmed at the U.S. Geological Survey's Washington Fisheries Research Center.
No matter the results of the testing, we stand firm by the stance that allowing Cooke Aquaculture's private consultant to be the party responsible for sampling and/ or testing represents both a broken chain of custody and a clear conflict of interest that undermines the public's trust.