Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline



Friday, September 23, 2016

Here Come the Chinese: Lust for Big Clams Brings Largest Shellfish Facility on the West Coast

Hummingbird Cove Shellfish Hatchery
Small bird, big hatchery, big numbers, big impact.

365,000 square feet:  A lot of space costs a lot to produce big clams in big numbers.
The Powell River Peak writes about a Chinese aquaculture firm, Pacific Aquaculture, which has followed the path set by Chinese energy firms who have invested in the west and elsewhere to ensure a steady supply of carbon based fuels far into the future. Pacific Aquaculture has currently invested $10 million in a shellfish hatchery which opened on the 19th. They plan to invest an additional $40 million over the next five years to create a shellfish facility which, at 365,000 square feet, will dwarf anything on the west coast, or most likely in the world. The project, in conjunction with Hummingbird Cove Lifestyles, was first described in Hatchery International in October of last year but was then far smaller.

US Shellfish Companies: Now just
big clams in a little tank?

We used to be the big clams here
In comparison to Pacific Aquacutlure's 365,000 square foot facility, Taylor Shellfish - purported to be the largest shellfish producer in the United States - has a hatchery on Dabob Bay estimated to be 30,000 square feet in size. Production facilities in Shelton are estimated at 27,000 square feet, with those at Samish Bay being estimated at 9,000 square feet. As noted, Pacific Aquacutlure's will be 365,000 square feet.

Aloha from Goose Point Oyster in Hawaii.
We'll always have the condo.
20,000 square feet is big?

Is that Aloha a hello or goodbye to profits in the shellfish industry?
Unlike the Taylor hatchery in Dabob Bay being able to adapt to what is currently felt to be problems caused by ocean acidification, the Nisbet family's Goose Point Oyster simply scaled back their "Whiskey Creek" hatchery facility in Willapa Bay and built a new 20,000 square foot facility in Hawaii. As the article in the Seattle Times notes,  only a handful of hatcheries supply West Coast farmers, including Whiskey Creek and Taylor Shellfish. With a facility now in operation, which at 365,000 square feet will dwarf anything on the west coast, flooding the market with shellfish seed, including geoduck, how long can the profits in the shellfish industry be expected to last?

They said I'd make money. Why should I care?

I never promised you a shellfish garden.
Because shellfish companies no longer have tidelands to use, they lease tidelands from private individuals and promise "great" returns in exchange for encumbering their property, in some cases for decades. Any concerns about their role in the creation of these point sources of plastic pollution, loose nets, and fractured tideland ecosystems, along with fractured relationships with neighbors, many nurtured over generations, are diminished by the salve made from promises of monetary cream being rubbed onto these tideland owners' palms. The Chinese, however, through Pacific Aquaculture, will no longer be beholden to shellfish companies in the northwest supplying artificially constrained supplies, and inflated prices, of geoduck. Revenues will drop and the gravy train will stop. As investments in energy failed when supply overtook demand, so too will investments - and promises of riches - in the shellfish industry fail when oversupply drives prices down and the Chinese are able to supply themselves with geoduck. Leaving behind plastic tubes and structures, as Drakes Bay Oyster Company did when they walked away from Drakes Estero, leaving the taxpayers to clean up the remains.

Chinese do not like 
paying artificially inflated prices
for geoduck so will grow their own.

Sorry, I don't think that was part of the permit.
Who will pick up what's left behind when companies are no longer profitable? This bubble is no different than any bubble which has preceeded it. It will pop. Pacific Aquaculture is a big pin with a strong hand pressing on the bubble. And when it pops, Puget Sound will be left with PVC, nets, and plastic to cleanup.

Get involved. 
Demand that bonds be required for all shellfish farms currently permitted to guarantee Puget Sound is not left in the state Drakes Estero was when Drakes Bay Oyster Company decided it was best to just walk away, leaving taxpayers to pick up the mess.



Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 13, 1PM: Army Corps' Update on Regulatory Oversight

Update September 13: In January, Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish and Vicki Wilson inserted an absurd definition of what an "existing" aquaculture activity is into the proposed SMP update for Mason County. They defined an existing activity as being any tidelands sold in Washington under the 1895 Bush and Callow Act. Even if nothing was planted over 120 years ago. Politics pays and profits flow.

Paving a Fallow Brick Road 
With PVC and Plastic

Contact, by Monday afternoon, for Web and/or audio participation on September 13
Patricia Graesser, Public Affairs Chief
phone: (206) 764-3760
e-mailpatricia.c.graesser@usace.army.mil

Where are we and how did we get down this road?
September 13 the Army Corps of Engineers will hold a meeting to discuss their current situation as it relates to regulating the shellfish industry in Washington. A similar meeting was held on April 20 (click here for a pdf overview of that meeting).

The preliminary agenda is as follows:
1:00 p.m. Welcome By Col. John Buck, District Commander, Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1:05 p.m. Brief overview of the Corps aquaculture regulatory program
1:15 p.m. Update on ongoing activities:
Status of the programmatic Endangered Species Act consultation for shellfish activities in Washington
Permit tools for 2017
Upcoming milestones and opportunities for involvement

• 1:45 p.m. Questions & Answers
• 2:45 p.m. Closing Remarks

Politics pays - and when you have lots of money it helps move the process in your direction
Related to the ongoing Army Corps' oversight of this industry which wishes to greatly expand its footprint in Puget Sound and elsewhere are Biological Opinions released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In 2015 the Corps asked each to provide their opinions on information provided to them by the Corps, in turn largely provided by the shellfish industry, on whether acres of aquaculture proposed and anticipated would have an impact on Puget Sound's habitat and species of concern.

Zangle Cove: Fallow or never planted?
Not "historically used for aquaculture" as claimed
in a permit application for a new geoduck farm.

Fallow me down the golden brick road
A summary document explaining the past history, which in part exemplifies the challenges with gathering information from the shellfish industry, may be found by clicking here. One of the primary issues relates back to 2007 permits which included ‘areas that are periodically allowed to lie fallow as part of normal operations’ in the public notice. This gaping door left open, by not defining what "fallow" means, was taken full advantage of by the industry, claiming huge numbers of acres not planted currently were simply lying fallow, implying they had been used at some undefined time in the past. Current proposals for the Nationwide permits call for defining "fallow" as tidelands not having been planted for as long as 100 years. As seen below, this has led the Corps to believe over 14,000 acres not planted were not done so simply because they were "fallow".


Put on the BiOp focals to review the opinions
Currently, "fallow" areas are included in the information presented to FWS and NMFS, asking them to rely on that information and to issue opinions on what the Corps should do. Those Biological Opinions are located here:
Click here for NMFS Biological Opinion
Click here for FWS Bilogical Opinion

You're going to need these to get through those opinions.

Read along with me and get involved
Currently the Corps is in the process of reviewing the opinions submitted by FWS and NMFS. As it is unknown at this time whether any changes or refusals to accept what each say it is best not to comment. But what is clear is the Corps and services have been put under immense political pressure to help promote this industry. Good intentions can get lost when politics get involved. Hoping for the best when industry is driving a process will not result in the best interests of the public. Get involved. The shellfish industry is and what they want is not good for Puget Sound and species dependent on the integrity of its habitat.



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Final Reminder: Help Protect Willapa Bay's Habitat for the Threatened Green Sturgeon

It is not time to relax habitat preservation for a species in the process of rebuilding its population. Make a difference and get involved.
Reminder: Comments on Green Sturgeon Habitat Due Sept. 6

Retain all of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor
as critical habitat for the threatened Green Sturgeon

Comment here by September 6: 
http://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001 

Read Pubic Notice here: 
http://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001

Become engaged in the public process. Tell NMFS and NOAA you support Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor being retained, with no exclusions, as critical habitat for the Green Sturgeon. Shellfish growers do have alternative methods of growing oysters and do not need to spray pesticides onto shellfish beds to kill a native primary food source (burrowing shrimp) for this endangered species.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Reminder: Comments on Green Sturgeon Habitat Due Sept. 6

Retain all of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor
as critical habitat for the threatened Green Sturgeon

Comment here by September 6: 
http://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001 

Read Pubic Notice here: 
http://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001

Become engaged in the public process. Tell NMFS and NOAA you support Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor being retained, with no exclusions, as critical habitat for the Green Sturgeon. Shellfish growers do have alternative methods of growing oysters and do not need to spray pesticides onto shellfish beds to kill a native primary food source (burrowing shrimp) for this endangered species.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Willapa Bay - Critical Habitat for Endangered Green Sturgeon: Study supports longline oyster growing method and retaining all of Willapa Bay as critical habitat

Willapa Bay: Critical Habitat for Green Sturgeon
Burrowing Shrimp: Critical food source

Kim Patten, WSU with longlines


Get involved. The Department of Commerce through NOAA/NMFS are performing a "regulatory review" of listings, one of which includes listing Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor as critical habitat for the endangered southern Green Sturgeon. Comments must be submitted by September 6 and must be done in writing or through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. 
Comment here by September 6: 
http://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001
(or CLICK HERE)

Read Pubic Notice here: 
http://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001
(or CLICK HERE)

Tell NMFS and NOAA you support Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor being retained, with no exclusions, as critical habitat for the Green Sturgeon. Shellfish growers do have alternative methods of growing oysters and do not need to spray pesticides onto shellfish beds to kill a primary food source for this endangered species.

Willapa Bay: Critical Habitat for Green Sturgeon, a
threatened/endangered species under the 
United States Endangered Species Act.

Change is hard - stop living in your father's shadow and make a difference.
A study by Kim Patten with Washington State University has shown strong support for the use of the longline ("off bottom") method to grow oysters in beds which have burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay. Willapa Bay was listed in 2009 as critical habitat for the endangered southern distinct population (SDP) of the Green Sturgeon, once far more abundant. Unlike salmon who pass through this important estuary on their way to the open ocean, the Green Sturgeon relies "...heavily on estuarine habitats over their lifespans." (from 2009 listing) Included is reliance on burrowing shrimp as a food source.

Damien Schiff
Tried to get the southern resident Orca
de-listed as an endangered species.
PLF - a danger to the 
endangered species act

2009 Habitat Listing Challenged by Pacific Legal Foundation
Earlier this year the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) asked the Supreme Court to review whether regulators had the discretion to determine whether to not exclude areas from being considered critical habitat. The court ruled those decisions are not subject to judicial review. It is unlikely the Supreme Court will consider Mr. Damien's case during the Long Conference, scheduled for September 26. (see here for PLF's response brief)

Not to Exclude is still discretionary.
While not involved in the lawsuit, in comments to NMFS on the then proposed 2009 decision, shellfish growers in Willapa Bay did ask for shellfish beds to be excluded from being considered critical habitat during the comment period. In response to that request, the National Marine Fisheries Services responded:
"Telemetry data show that tagged green sturgeon disperse widely throughout these estuaries, most likely for foraging. In addition, anecdotal accounts have noted observations of sturgeon in intertidal aquaculture beds in the past, likely when populations of sturgeon were more abundant in these estuaries."
 Sturgeons like long lines and shrimp beds.

Can oyster growers, an endangered species, and that species' food source co-exist?
According to Mr. Patten's recently published study, yes. His study finds an abundance of "foraging pits" in areas using longlines to grow oysters with burrowing shrimp >10/square meter. In fact, it was only in areas with no shellfish activity the forage pits were in greater density. Further, in a study published in 2007, it noted that "... these large predators [Green Sturgeon] may have performed an important top down control function on shrimp populations in the past when they were more abundant."

Bad conclusion to a good study - there is not a "surplus of foraging habitat". There are lower numbers of Green Sturgeon. It's why they're endangered.
As highlighted in the comments quoted above, sturgeon used to be more abundant. So much so one of the studies believes Green Sturgeon may have both played an important role in controlling shrimp populations and, contrary to Mr. Patten's observations, included shellfish beds in their foraging (something which would seem to support the grower's statement that shellfish beds improve the habitat). One of the stressors which reduced their population has been the past use of the pesticide Carbaryl by shellfish growers. Loss of spawning habitat and over-fishing no doubt also played roles as well. But the important point is the population of Green Sturgeon is not what is was. That is why there appears to be a "surplus of foraging habitat" and, more importantly, why they are considered endangered.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Imidacloprid in Willapa Bay: Public Relations Effort to Spray Pesticides in Willapa Bay Begins

"Abandon ship!"
Did you have that boat inspected
before you bought it?

Easier to give up than change.
The Chinook Observer has published an article on why Goose Point Oyster (owned by the Nisbet family) is in desperate need to spray imidacloprid onto one of its Willapa Bay oyster beds. With a picture of their farm manager seeming to sink into a pool of quicksand, Dave Nisbet tells a story of why they are abandoning a parcel near the mouth of the Cedar River, done in by a 2" shrimp. Tidelands which were part of a $1.9 million transaction in 2015 which, had they been inspected, may have shown them to be incompatible with Goose Point's growing technique. And perhaps why tidelands at the mouth of a river with clear cut logging within its watershed may not have the firmest sediments.

Good shrimp, bad shrimp
Good duck, bad duck
Geoduck farming's "happy side": ecosystem services?

"Psst - I think we're giving a mixed message here."
Ironically, the Pacific Shellfish Grower's Association chose to show a diver harvesting geoduck feeding one of the dreaded shrimp to a Scoter, declaring the picture of what they consider to be two of their "pests" the winner of June's ecosystem system photo contest. The winged "pest" is kept off of shellfish beds - and away from the burrowing shrimp - by nets and hazing. Shellfish growers propose to rid the burrowing shrip - the clawed pest - by spraying the pesticide imidacloprid onto the oyster beds, hoping a permit application from the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) will be approved by the Department of Ecology. Editorials claim it doesn't kill the shrimp, it just "only makes them susceptible to suffocation." Kind of like propofol and benzodiazepine made Michael Jackson only go into a really really really deep sleep. (See a copy of what the shellfish industry considers to be "pests" by clicking here.)
Good eelgrass, bad eelgrass
It's a weed. No, it's a support.

Irony becomes steely
In the Chinook article, the irony continues to grow as the article points out that on the eastern side of the parcel eelgrass provides "...a support system of roots under the surface that allows oysters to sit above the mud during high tide." This would be eelgrass which WGHOGA, in some cases, is currently spraying with the herbicide imazamox. To be fair, it is not clear whether the eelgrass referred to is the native or non-native. But it is clear Goose Point's Mr. Nisbet speaks highly of the "economic services" it provides to his ability to grow oysters. Not mentioned were the other species which benefit from its ecosystem services.

"Get out of my way
and let me do what I want,
how I want, when I want."

Trust us, we're oyster growers and Willapa Bay is not what you think. We aren't either.
In a follow-up Chinook Observer editorial titled "Get out of the way and let oyster growers survive", the public relations push evolves further. In the editorial, Governor Inlsee is described as throwing oyster growers "under the bus in order to notch a symbolic win for environmental purity." Those who believe Washington shellfish can be - in fact should be - grown in unpolluted waters are "urban activists" standing in the way of oyster growers wanting to spray herbicides and pesticides into marine waters for their beneifit. How do they see themselves when they complain of urban runoff and sediments from logging operations running into Willapa Bay? Are "rural activists" pursuing clean and healthy waters so they may profit less pure than urban activists?

Dredging for ecosystem services

(screen shots from 
"Oyster Dredging" in Willapa Bay)

Dreading ecosystem services in Willapa Bay
In the final piece of irony, the public relations editorial printed in the Chinook Observer speaks highly of the habitat services provided by oyster beds: "...more crab, more fish, more birds." Unfortunately, not described is the devastation those oyster growers bring to those oyster beds and habitat at harvest time. In the images above it is clear that not only is eelgrass being ripped from the tidelands of Willapa Bay, but that whatever "habitat" those oyster beds provided is destroyed when harvesting takes place. It's the kind of ironic story which happens when people who sit in urban offices direct how a public relations campaign in a rural area should unfold - it folds up on itself.

Get involved - tell the Governor and your elected officials it is time to stop spraying chemicals into Willapa Bay and oyster growers to move into the future.

Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hood Canal Experiences Bloom of Coccolithophores - If they can do it why can't I?

Coccolithophore - Emiliania huxleyi 
The great calcifiers.

The Lake Louise of Puget Sound
Satellite images from last week caught what a few may have seen while driving along Hood Canal - an immense bloom of phytoplankton, believed to be Coccolithophore. While generally known for turning vast areas of the oceans a milky white, they may also at times cause the waters to be turquoise in color, similar to the color of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. They are made up largely of calcium carbonate shields.

Non-native Pacific Oysters:
Not so great calcifiers.

You're getting warmer
As the Coccolithophores are made up largely of calcium carbonate it is unclear why Taylor Shellfish and Coast Seafoods are having such difficulty growing non-native Pacific oysters in their hatcheries. Seen in the picture above is the concentration of the phytoplankton, located in Dabob Bay. It is the same area where non-native Pacific oyster larvae die-offs in hatcheries have caused large amounts of taxpayer dollars to be spent in an attempt to understand why. Currently, a low pH level believed to be caused by CO2 altering the chemistry of the water is believed to be the cause. A recent paper in Ocean Acidification discussed the possibility that global warming helped Coccolithophores adapt relatively quickly to the changes in chemistry brought about by lower levels of pH.

Why oh why can't I?
Native Olympia oyster on the left,
non-native Pacific oyster on the right.

Sometimes bigger isn't better.
In addition to discovering the currently accepted cause of this hatchery failure, taxpayer funding has also discovered the smaller, and native Olympia oyster appears to fare much better in this lower pH environment. Added to that list of native species which appear to be able to adapt to this environment is the Coccoliothophore phytoplankton currently thriving in Hood Canal. In the case of the shellfish industry, the non-native Pacific oyster is the oyster of choice, as it grows faster and larger than the native Olympia oyster which was over-harvested to near extinction. It may be, in the end, that being bigger isn't always better.

The big picture.

Get a larger perspective on things.
Seen in the satellite image above, taken in late July, the area of Hood Canal affected by the bloom is clearly seen. What the long term implications of the bloom are remain to be seen, except that things change, sometimes faster than we know.







Monday, August 1, 2016

Reminder: Comments on Nationwide Permits on Aquaculture Due August 1

[Update: The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Friends of Burley Lagoon have submitted comments which may be viewed here:

Lobbying Pays


Reminder: Comments on proposed Nationwide Permits for 2017 are due today. Changes to Nationwide Permit 48 which permits aquaculture activities (or not) are briefly discussed below. It is apparent the lobbyists have been active.
email: NWP2017@usace.army.mil
Include " COE–2015–0017" in the subject line.
Complete agency notice and reasoning is here:
http://www.usace.army.mil/…/nwp2017_proposed_fedreg_01june2…
[Note 1: Nationwide Permit 48 regulating aquaculture and proposed changes and reasoning is found on page 35202. A summary follows the end of this post.]
[Note 2: The Seattle District will add additional conditions in the near future, providing an additional opportunity to provide comments.]
"Hey now, just because this baby hasn't been 
driven in 20 years and it's over 30 years old
doesn't mean it's not as good as new. Right?"

The new new (or, what lobbying can buy you)
Proposed: "We are proposing to define a 'new commercial shellfish aquaculture operation’ as an operation in a project area where commercial shellfish aquaculture activities have not been conducted during the past 100 years."
Should an area in which some undefined form of "commercial aquaculture " occurred over the past 100 years be automatically approved? The shellfish industry has been lobbying intensely in Washington DC to lessen Army Corps oversight and to "..to further streamline the authorization process." Included is anything giving an operator a "...legally-binding agreement which establishes an enforceable property interest for an operator." [What does that mean? Does a 1901 tideland deed from the state of Washington create an enforceable property interest which can be passed on to an operator by a new owner?]
As noted, one of the results is to change the definition of what a "new commercial operation" is, pushing the "bar of activity" back 100 years. Is it realistic to say that because great-grandpa threw some shells on tidelands in 1930, but then stopped in 1950 when he died, that a geoduck farm proposed today by a new owner who holds a deed to the tidelands is not a "new commercial operation"?
As an added bonus, is this: " The presence of submerged aquatic vegetation should not prevent the use of NWP 48 to authorize commercial shellfish aquaculture..." Eelgrass? Not so important now. IF there is any questions on impact, PCN's "...should be EXPEDITIOUSLY reviewed by the district engineer." (Put another way, "Hurry up and approve it because I want to start dredging in eelgrass for oysters.")
As noted, the Washington shellfish industry has been busy lobbying in Washington DC and the results are apparent. Below is a brief summary of proposed changes. Details are at the link above.
Get involved. The shellfish industry is.
Summary of proposed changes to Nationwide Permit 48 (aquaculture):
Project areas include lands where
other legally binding agreements
establish enforceable property
interests. Define “new commercial
shellfish aquaculture operation”
as operating in an area where
such activities have not occurred
during the past 100 years.
Remove the PCN threshold for
dredge harvesting, tilling, or
harrowing in areas inhabited by
submerged aquatic vegetation.
Does not authorize activities that
directly affect more than 1/2-acre
of submerged aquatic vegetation
beds in an area that has not been
used for commercial shellfish
aquaculture during the past 100
years. PCN must include all
species that are planned to be
cultivated during the period the
NWP is in effect. PCN must
specify whether suspended
cultivation techniques will be used
and indicate the general water
depths in the project area.

Friday, July 29, 2016

City of Bainbridge SMP Revision Prohibits Non-Biodegradable Material Use In Aquaculture, Attorneys and Spokeswoman Testify in Opposition


An English Major and Marine Biologist Disagree

Bainbridge Island
Puget Sound

What two years of effort gets you: attorneys and promoters of aquaculture saying no.
July 26th the City Council of the City of Bainbridge Island held a hearing on a proposed revision to its Shoreline Master Program (SMP); a revision which was the result of over two years' effort to address concerns over how to regulate aquaculture (shellfish and net pen fish farming). Two years spent negotiating a balance between agencies, the aquaculture industry, and environmental groups who all had various needs and concerns the Council attempted to address. (See the revision here with words of concern on page 2, point 6.)

We don't know any other way.

Too many watched The Graduate: "One word: Plastics"
Within that SMP revision regulating aquaculture was one line which caused the aquaculture industry great concern: the prohibition of using non-biodegradable materials in aquaculture. That prohibition resulted in industry's attorneys and spokeswoman to testify and write in opposition. In response, others noted the "can't be done" sounded simply like any other industry being told it must stop polluting the environment. (To hear the complete hearing, click here. Ms. Peabody speaks at 1:05:40.)

Betsy Peabody
Executive Director PSRF,
President of Pacific Shellfish Institute

Time to think outside of the plastic bag.
Both verbally and in writing, the industry's spokeswoman, Betsy Peabody (a Stanford graduate with a degree in English) stated there was "no current alternative" to HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic bags. She compared aquaculture taking place in the critical marine habitat to terrestrial farming and wrote that were it not for aquaculture people would have no "connection to the very resources that help define and sustain" Bainbridge Island, believing somehow that plastic growout bags in the intertidal area was all that made people aware of this incredible ecosystem. 
(Ms. Peabody's letter may be found here.)
Jim Brennan

Plastic in Puget Sound is not restoration nor sustainable.
In response to Ms. Peabody, marine biologist Jim Brennan (with a Master of Science Degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs) wrote in support of the ban. Point by point Mr. Brennan addresses the concerns of Ms. Peabody (no alternatives, the ban would end resident's connection to the tidelands, etc.) ending by noting her using "...her status and organization [Puget Sound Restoration Fund] to lobby for allowances of aquaculture and the use of harmful plastics in the marine environment of Puget Sound." He goes on to note: "It is unconscionable for an organization that claims to be promoting conservation and restoration to also promote practices that degrade, pollute, and are destructive of the marine environment."
(Mr. Brennan's letter to the Council may be read here.)
City of Bainbridge Island Contact Information
http://www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us/217/City-Council
Let Council members know how you feel.

Background Information

Jim Brennan – Marine Biological Consultant
Fish Biologist
Jim has a Master of Science Degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and 33 years of work experience. The majority of his work has focused on marine fisheries and habitats on the west coast of the U.S. (California, Oregon, Washington), but ranges from Antarctica to Alaska. Jim has worked in both the private and public sectors with responsibilities that include research, education, environmental assessment, watershed planning, restoration, regulatory, and policy programs. The last 24 years of his career have been spent working in Puget Sound on marine resource management issues with a focus on marine nearshore habitats and species. Jim has served on numerous technical assessment and advisory committees for federal, state, and local entities and as President of the Pacific Estuarine Research Society (PERS) and Governing Board Member of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), an international science organization. Jim is currently self employed, providing technical assistance, education and outreach, and other marine consulting, restoration, and technical services.
Betsy Peabody 
Ms. Peabody is also the President of the Pacific Shellfish Institute. PSI is, in large part, an organization using public funds to support the shellfish industry. Projects have included publicly funded surveys to determine attitudes in Washington, Oregon and California about shellfish aquaculture and how best to promote the industry and its expansion. Recent grants have included: $224,000 to study non-native manila clam farm management and harvesting "tools" (a "repurposed" tulip bulb harvester); $295,000 to help expand shellfish culture in seagrass with data to "inform regulatory decisions"; and $392,000 to culture overharvested sea cucumbers, in part to determine if they are able to help mitigate waste from a mussel farm in Totten Inlet and a sablefish farm in Alaska. She is also the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and a resident of Bainbridge Island.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hundreds of Dead Sea Birds Reported In Eastern Portion of Strait of Juan de Fuca

Why are you dying?

The Peninsula Daily News has reported up to 300 rhinoceros auklets have washed up onto the eastern shorelines of the Strait of Juan de Fuca since May. The cause of death is unknown, with theories ranging from starvation to possible contagions, poisons or toxic algae blooms.

An earlier report from KLCC noted that autopsies in Wisconsin showed "zero body fat" indicating starvation and a probable lack of food. In the recent Daily article, Julia Parrish, executive director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team notes 72,000 of the birds are successfully breeding, indicating food appears to be relatively plentiful, and is quoted as saying, “That actually is the information we're using to decide it's not a general lack of food.”

While a concern, KLCC also notes: It's a tiny toll compared to the dieoffs of other species of seabirds in 2014 and 2015. Common murres and Cassin's auklets washed up by the hundreds of thousands up and down North America's west coast.

In the end,assuming the marine waters will remain a safe source for sea food with no action remains a risk.