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Cooke Aquaculture Apologizes For Incidents At Fish Hatchery

Cooke Aquaculture is apologizing for “unacceptable” incidents at its fish hatchery in Bingham, Maine.

A video posted online by animal advocacy group Compassion Over Killing appears to show fish being stomped on and hit against posts.

Mike Wolf, Director of Investigations, Compassion Over Killing, said in a statement on the organization’s web site that farmed fish at facilties like this are being mistreated.

“While the aquaculture industry sells itself as a solution to the state of our overfished oceans, there’s a big catch: Millions of farmed fish are subjected to conditions at industrial aquaculture facilities like the one we investigated, where we found widespread cruelty: being slammed, stomped on, and thrown long distances, in addition to languishing inside filthy tanks where they are overcrowded and underfed,” he said.

Glenn Cooke, the CEO of Cooke Aquaculture, said the treatment of the farmed fish documented by Compassion Over Killing is unacceptable.

“I am disappointed and deeply saddened by what I saw today,” said Cooke in a statement.

Cooke said the company was contacted by the Maine Department of Agriculture in September about an animal welfare complaint.

He said the complaint, made by an “activist veganism organization,” included hidden camera footage from the hatchery.

“Based on information received from the department, and after reviewing the footage issued today by the activist veganism organization, it appears that unacceptable fish handling incidents have occurred at the Bingham hatchery,” Cooke said.

“These are not our standards and will not continue.”

Cooke said the company is putting measures in place to ensure this will not happen again, including a “rigorous re-training program” at their Maine facility.

“In addition to a rigorous global employee training and operational standards training program, we encourage employees to speak up when they have any questions or concerns, or if they feel that practices are not being adhered to,” he said.

Brad Perry is the news director at CHSJ/Country 94, a Huddle content partner.