A judge has ruled that Washington State Commissioner Hilary Franz’s ban should not be considered a final decision or action by a government agency.
A recent legal hearing in Washington State addressed the ban on commercial netpen aquaculture in state-owned waters imposed last year by the state’s Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz,
The court room battle came about after the ban was challenged in court by the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe.
During the hearing, a Washington state superior court judge made an important clarification. The judge stated that Commissioner Franz’s ban should not be considered a final decision or action by a government agency.
To make it official, the state will need to go through a formal rulemaking process.
This would typically involves several steps, including public notice, public comment, analysis, and decision-making. This process would allow stakeholders and the public to provide input and feedback on proposed rules before they become official.
The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe is seeking an exception to the ban. They wish to continue their tribal commercial netpen aquaculture ventures, including a joint venture with Canadian seafood company Cooke called Salish Fish Company aiming to establish a steelhead farm in Port Angeles, Washington.
While the court clarified that the ban is not a definitive government action, it remains uncertain how this will affect the tribe’s aquaculture plans.
The ban, despite being not officially final, has already had significant implications for the aquaculture sector in Washington state.