Cooke Aquaculture is refuting claims made Friday by Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz that she has talked to Cooke about farming salmon on land in Washington state.

At a press conference Friday during which Franz announced she was permanently banning finfish farming from anywhere in state waters, she said, "I believe there are huge opportunities for land-based aquaculture We’ve had conversations with Cooke as well as other potential builders that are doing that work..."

However, Joel Richardson, a spokesman for Cooke, told IntraFish those conversations never happened.