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:

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

California to Consider Aquaculture Industry's Development of Best Management Practices Plans

When: July 17, 1 PM to 3 PM
Where: Marconi Conference Center, Buck Hall
18500 Shoreline Highway (SR 1)
Marshall, CA 
*Note building change due to large interest.
(See map below)
What: Consider development of "Best Management Practices Plans" (BMPP)
Why: Currently, amending leases is considered to be an "excessive administrative burden" by agencies and growers.

allow different species to be cultivated 
or culture method to be changed
Should changing from growing clams in the sediments
to oysters in suspended cages require an
amendment to the lease or merely 
industry developed BMP Plans?

PIA - Politics in Action: BMPP's
California's Natural Resources Agency (CA Fish and Game Commission and the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife) will hold a meeting on July 17 from 1 PM to 3 PM to consider whether they should allow the aquaculture industry (and possibly public - if involved) to develop "Best Management Practices" (BMP) plans (BMPP). These broad based plans would be reviewed, perhaps every 5 years, and allow for changes in species grown and methods used without lease ammendments. Currently, when an operator wishes to change a species grown or a method used, a lease must be amended. The analysis which precedes the amendment has been described as being "an excessive administrative burden" (EAB).

California Aquaculture
without BMP Plans
(Tomales Bay, 2014 before public pressure rose 
forcing growers to clean up derelict gear.)
From the Coastodian

Washington Aquaculture 
with BMP and ECOP

Public resources will only be protected if the public is involved.
Get involved. This is a political process which can be easily bent to placate an industry's desire for expansion with less oversight. BMP's in Washington's Puget Sound result in loose PVC pipes, despite 10 years of "BMP" and "Environmental Codes of Practice" (ECOP). Navigational hazards continue to impact the public's use of navigable waters in areas of Puget Sound. Nighttime noise continues to disrupt residential neighborhoods, despite "good neighbor" plans. This is an industry made up of a few large corporations which is motivated and well funded, who wants to expand into critical marine ecosystems. If they are allowed to develop "BMP Plans" without public involvement there will be irreversible impacts. Get involved. Washington's residents weren't and are now picking up the pieces.

California - Consider these examples of the shellfish industry in CA. Then act.
One merely need look to Drakes Estero for an example of what happens when an operator's lease ends, leaving taxpayers to clean up the mess. One only need look to Humboldt Bay to see what the industry wants with Coast Seafoods' proposed expansion (a permit denied) into the native eelgrass beds to grow non-native oysters, and the cleanup the state is requiring because Coast was unable to on its own. Consider these examples and that actions now being taken elsewhere are only being done as the direct result of public pressure from a few. 

Meeting Location

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Puget Sound Is Under Stress: Help Protect Native Species and Preserve and Restore Puget Sound

"Don’t buy the lies and bullying tactics of the industry spokesmen who sit on our local boards and collect their paychecks while trying to buy us off with a few clams, like their forefathers did with the Tribes over the centuries." Olympic Peninsula Environmental News

2/3 of killer whale pregnancies fail -
because of low availability 
of Chinook Salmon.

Our Sound, Our Salmon - Stop Net Pen Expansion in Puget Sound
While a fitting quote to why the intertidal tidelands are being allowed to be transformed into industrial facilities requiring little regulatory oversight, the above quote is in reference to another threat to Puget Sound: Salmon net pen farming. These large enclosed pens concentrate non-native salmon in densities so high that threats from disease and sea lice raise the risks to our native salmon, and the Orca who depend on them, to an unacceptable level. As with shellfish aquaculture, painting these operations as being nothing more than "farming" ignores the very real differences between terrestrial farming (on land) versus activities taking place in a marine ecosystem.

Washington is the only West Coast State to Allow Net Pen Farming
Alaska, Oregon and California have banned net pen farming. Our Sound, Our Salmon is now demanding that Governor Inslee stop following industry's lead and instead take a stand with those who believe there is more to Puget Sound than its ability to generate profits for corporations in the aquaculture industry. [Sign the petition here] They write:
"Puget Sound is our Sound. The salmon that swim in its waters are our salmon. They have been the lifeblood of our past, and they will be the lifeblood of our future.

"Cooke Aquaculture, an Atlantic salmon net pen conglomerate, is threatening the health of Puget Sound with their plans to further transform it into an epicenter of Atlantic salmon net pen production. We cannot risk putting our Sound, our salmon, and our future into the hands of an industry with a long history of negative environmental, social, and economic impacts - impacts that led California, Oregon, and Alaska to wisely ban this industry.
"It’s time for us to stand up for our Sound. It’s time for us to stand up for our salmon. And it’s time we stand up for our future by stopping the expansion of destructive Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca." Our Sound, Our Salmon
Infected fish? Just dump them. After they've
been shedding virus for months.  
Get involved and get educated
"In Puget Sound, the potential for catastrophic damage to wild fish populations as a result of Atlantic salmon net pens has already been demonstrated. In 2012, an outbreak of Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV) caused the death of over 1 million pounds of net pen salmon. Worse still, this outbreak occurred during the time of year juvenile salmonids are migrating out to sea through Puget Sound." (KING5 - see video clip of news here)

Land based systems exist.
"The quality of the fish is extraordinary, the taste is great,
the look of the fish is fantastic."
Ned Bell, Chef at Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver BC

You don't need pesticides, antibiotics, nor Puget Sound's open waters
"Kuterra is proof positive that you can grow Atlantic salmon on land in a sustainable and economical way. If Washington wants to increase farmed salmon production, we should do it by helping pioneer a burgeoning, environmentally responsible industry of land-based systems like Kuterra." (See Vimeo clip of Kuterra's upland operation here
Upland operations, currently operating profitably, separate the "farmed environment from the wild environment." At the same time they also provide a product which is free from pesticides and antibiotics which most consumers do not believe should be in seafood they consume. (See public response when pesticides in Willapa Bay in 2015 were proposed by shellfish growers here

Genetics at its best.
Disease at its worst.
from Alexandra Morton)

Is this really what you want to be eating? 
"On August 23, 2016, Alexandra Norton put a GoPro on a pole and submerged it for ten minutes in a salmon net pen run by Marine Harvest. This video is a compilation of what she saw – large numbers of farmed salmon likely suffering from viruses and Atlantic salmon preying on juvenile wild fish." To get a sense of what the reality of "open net pen" salmon are, look at the short clip taken by Alexandra Morton when cruising on the Sea Shepherd in British Columbia

Get involved so future generations
are able to experience Puget Sound.
Photo: Heather MacIntyre/The Pacific Whale Watch

Get involved. Tell Governor Inslee there is far more to Puget Sound than the ability to make a profit from open water net pens growing non-native salmon. If you don't 
Sign the Our Sound, Our Salmon petition here:
or, Email the Govenor directly:

Friday, June 30, 2017

Imidacloprid Pesticide in Willapa Bay Again: The Dirty Dozen (or so) Who want to Apply Pesticides to Shellfish Beds in Willapa Bay

These are not terrestrial farms.
These are tidelands
over which public waters ebb and flow.
WGHOGA wants to apply neurotoxin
into those waters.

Get out or our way and let us spray pesticides into Willapa Bay's waters and on shellfish beds.
The Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) has asked the Department of Ecology to move forward on their application to apply the pesticide Imidacloprid, a neonicotnoid, into Willapa Bay again. A public outcry stopped the ill thought proposal in 2015 (see May 3, 2015 Seattle Times article on cancellation of permit here). Should promoters of clean water also be promoting the application of pesticides (Imidacloprid) and herbicides (Imazamox to kill Japanese eelgrass) into Willapa Bay? The growers below see nothing wrong with that dichotomy. (Click here for DOE public notice of moving forward with permit.)

Who is WGHOGA?
The following are either members of WHGOGA or are companies, families or individuals who have Willapa Bay shellfish beds onto which which they will be applying Imidacloprid, directly or in the waters above them. 

They include:
Goose Point Oyster and Nisbet Oyster - The Nisbet family
New Washington ShellfishWiegardt BrothersWiegardt and Sons, Wiegardt Oysters and Jolly Roger Oysters - The Wiegardt family
Heckes Oyster Company, Heckes Clam Company - The Heckes family
Bay Center Mariculture - Dick Wilson
Olson and Son - Phil Olson
Willapa Fish and Oyster - Eric Petit
Herrold Fish and Oyster - John Herrold
Willapa Bay Shellfish - Warrnen Cowell
Long Island Oyster and Station House Oyster - The Kemmer family
Kim Patten - WSU scientist who has supplied a vast amount of information to support this project will be a direct beneficiary through profits from shellfish grown on his tidelands.
*Taylor Shellfish and Coast Seafoods both claim not to be involved, yet still remain members of the WGHOGA.

Parcel ownerships below are based on Pacific County and DOE information. Based on County records it is believed to be accurate. Not all owners are shown.

North Willapa Bay - 100 acres 
(click on image to enlarge)
Central Willapa Bay 1 - 335 acres (1+2)
(click on image to enlarge)
Central Willapa Bay 2
(click on image to enlarge)
South Willapa Bay 1 - 50 acres (1 and 2)

(Note: Kim Patten is the WSU extension agent
who has performed numerous studies
which support the use of Imidacloprid
on shellfish beds.)

It's not dirt. These are tidelands supporting native species and threatened Green Sturgeon over which public waters ebb and flow.
These are not terrestrial farms - this is a critical marine habitat over which public waters ebb and flow. It is a habitat which supports native species, including burrowing shrimp, which are a food source for many other species, including the Green Sturgeon, a species considered "threatened" and whose protected habitat includes Willapa Bay. The oyster the growers wish to grow is an invasive species from Japan, the Pacific oyster, called a "weed" by Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish (“The Pacific oyster is kind of the weed oyster of the world,” Bill Dewey, crosscut.com, June 6, 2016). This habitat is no less critical than  wetland and should be recognized as such. 

Make a difference - Don't buy oysters from Willapa Bay or from those who support this proposal or who are members of WGHOGA. There are alternatives.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hot Weather, Lowest Tides of the Year Raise Risk of Vibrio in Puget Sound Oysters

Get out and enjoy the low tides.
But be careful what you eat.

Saturday (June 24) and Sunday (June 25) will see tides 3.9 feet below average in south Puget Sound. Temperatures are forecast to be 90 and 93 degrees, respectively. The combination, however, leaves oysters out of water, exposed to the hot summer heat for so long that the naturally occurring bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp), filtered from the water by the oysters, grows at an accelerated rate inside of them. 

Historical outbreaks of vibriosis traced to oysters harvested from Washington state has already lead the Department of Health to issue its "vibrio advisory" warning for shellfish harvested from Hood Canal, Oakland Bay, Hammersley Inlet*, Totten Inlet, Eld Inlet, Pickering Passage, northern Case Inlet, North Bay and Burley Lagoon. It has also lead to more stringent rules surrounding harvesting, ranging from "time to ice" to complete closure of growing areas if water temperatures reach a certain level.

The Department of Health recommends you eat only well-cooked shellfish, especially in summer months, going further to say: "Do not consider shellfish to be fully cooked when the shells just open; they need to cook longer to reach 145° F." For additional information see the DOH website on vibriosis.

Get out and enjoy the low tides and warm weather this weekend. It won't get much better.

*Earlier in the year, oysters harvested from Hammersley Inlet were declared to be the source of norovirus, causing multiple illnesses and closure of commercial harvesting in the area. While the source has not been discovered, shellfish growers point to Shelton's waste water treatment facility which discharges directly into Hammerlsey Inlet and Oakland Bay. The City of Shelton denies its facility was the problem, claiming to have met all Department of Ecology standards.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Changing Times: Pyrosome "Explosion" off of the West Coast is Unprecedented and Unexplained

From one...
..come many.

Colonizing the waters of the world.
In a little noticed article written by northwest environmental reporter Chris Dunagan and published in the Kitsap Sun in July of 2016, he described the little known pyrosome. Consisting of colonies of zooids, Pyrosome are able to clone themselves and to create giant tube like structures, some as large as that seen in the image above. Typically found in the tropics, they have until now simply been interesting but little seen and little heard about in the northwest. Until now.

Those aren't worms
being used for bait.

More than flowers blooming in the northwest.
Both National Geographic and Northwest Sportsman have written, on June 13th and 14th respectively, of a massive bloom and increase in pyrosomes now occurring off of the west coast and as far north as southeast Alaska. The Northwest Sportsman writes that "...this spring [it] appear to be everywhere off the Oregon Coast to the point they are clogging fishing gear by the thousands." NOAA's research biologist Rick Brodeur is quoted in the National Geographic article as saying, "It's just unbelievable how many of them there are."

Climates change and so do we.
The National Geographic article notes, "In 2014 and 2015, when a warm water blob temporarily transformed the eastern Pacific, animals of all stripes appeared where they didn't belong. Warm-water sharks and tunas were caught in Alaska. Tropical sea snakes appeared off California. The longest and most toxic bloom of algae ever recorded poisoned crab, anchovies, and seals and sea lions. And a handful of pyrosomes began washing ashore." As the waters cooled in 2016, species present returned to their historical locations - except pyrosome. They remained and for reasons unknown began to multiply. Currently, nobody seems to know why. As biologist Laurie Weitkampt with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center is quoted as saying:
"For something that's never really been here before, the densities are just mind-boggling. We're just scratching our heads."
What do they eat - and what eats them?
Currently the impact of the sudden increase - both on what they eat and on what eats them - is not known. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center simply says:
"Some bony fish, dolphins and whales are known to eat pyrosomes, but scientists know little about their role in the offshore ecosystem or how they may affect the food web in areas where they are now appearing in such high densities."
Times are changing and so is the ocean. 
Get involved and become aware of what's happening to our marine ecosystems. Whether along the entire coast or within Puget Sound, things are changing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

For President Trump to Consider: Massive Fish Kill on Puget Sound Blamed on Hot Weather

KOMO reports on a massive fish kill in south Puget Sound being blamed on hot weather.

(KOMO photo)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend Brings Good Weather and Lowest Tides in Years

Get out and see what's happening at low tide.

This coming Memorial Day Weekend's weather is forecast to be sunny and warm. Along with the weather will come the lowest daytime tides Puget Sound has seen in years. In the table below is the anticipated weather and the low tides for the day (tides and time are at Olympia).

For other locations in Puget Sound, visit NOAA's web site. Below is an example for McMicken Island for the dates of May 26, 27, 28 and 29. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 21: Association of Bainbridge Communities Environmental Conference on Industrial Aquaculture Impacts

Is this what Puget Sound's intertidal
ecosystem should become?

The Association of Bainbridge Communities' Annual Environmental Conference discusses the current and future impacts to Puget Sound ecosystems from industrial aquaculture.
(Note: The conference is free. However, due to space limitations, registration is required.)

Register herehttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/changing-the-nature-of-puget-sound-the-impacts-of-industrial-aquaculture-registration-30991093194
May 21, 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Where: 4450 Blakely Ave NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Weather: 🌞A good excuse to take a trip to Bainbridge Island.
The Association of Bainbridge Communities' annual Environmental Conference will cover the impacts to Puget Sound from industrial aquaculture. From the announcement:
"Speakers for this regional conference will cover ecosystem impacts, science and policy of aquaculture, legal aspects of the industry, food safety and health issues, problems with Atlantic salmon netpens, and experiences of neighbors living with this industry on their shorelines."
12:30 pm - Registration/Exhibits at IslandWood Welcome Center
1:00 pm - Introduction to Conference
1:10 pm - Overview of Impacts of Industrial Aquaculture
1:30 pm - Dispelling the Myths of Aquaculture
2:05 pm - Legal Aspects including Shellfish Initiative
2:35 pm - Regulatory Gaps in Permitting
3:00 pm - BREAK to visit exhibits
3:20 pm - Specific Aquaculture Topics: Atlantic Salmon Feedlots and Spraying and Health Issues
4:20 pm - Panel of Puget Sound Homeowners impacted by Industrial Aquaculture
5:20 pm - Next Steps: getting involved
5:30 pm - Adjournment

It's time for Governor Inslee 
to think of more than free oysters.

(Credit: Scott Terrell, Skagit Valley Herald)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Source of Norovirus in Puget Sound: Shellfish Grower Says "Too Much Poop" in Puget Sound Making Shellfish Unsafe

Whose poop is to blame?

South Sound Mariculture Oyster
Declared unsafe.*

Time to consider oysters grown on the East Coast for now?
Tacoma's The News Tribune writes about a Puget Sound shellfish grower saying there is too much "poop" in Puget Sound causing oysters grown there to be unsafe to eat. John Hansen, owner of South Sound Mariculture, has spoken before both the City of Shelton's City Commission and Mason County Commissioners. There, he expressed his belief that the source of norovirus which caused his and other shellfish farms in south Puget Sound's Hammersley Inlet to be closed, is the City's waste water treatment plant. That plant discharges directly into Oakland Bay and Hammersley Inlet. The City of Shelton strongly disagrees with Mr. Hansen's claim.

Humans aren't the only mammals
increasing in population around Puget Sound.

Whose poop is it that the oysters are filtering and in turn making humans sick?
Through the shellfish growers, focus is being placed on septic systems and, in the case of Mr. Hansen, the City of Shelton's waste water treatment plant as being the source of norovirus his and other's oysters are contaminated with. However, norovirus is not limited to humans, and humans are not the only mammal increasing in population in or around Puget Sound, a point noted by Tristan Baurick in 2016, who wrote, "...the harbor porpoise is making a startling comeback after a nearly complete disappearance from local waters more than 40 years ago." More to the point, a January 2017 paper published by the Center for Disease Control notes:
"...the fact that noroviruses infecting marine mammals closely related to human noroviruses have been found infecting harbor porpoises and contaminating oysters raises the question of whether HPNV could infect humans through contamination of oysters or other shellfish."
He did it! No, it was her! Not me, it was him! 
Porpoise are not the only mammals
making their presence known.

Norovirus in northwest shellfish was not limited to Hammersley Inlet, but covered a wide geographic area.
This year, the number of illnesses contracted through the consumption of northwest oysters was not limited to Hammersley Inlet and numbered in the multiple hundreds. This was considered to be a widespread outbreak, ranging from Willapa Bay in the south to the waters of British Columbia*. After months of trying, the source, despite Mr. Hansen's belief, is still not known. In fact, given the wide geographic area and multiple shellfish operations implicated, it seems more likely the disease is being spread through means other than the City of Shelton's waste water treatment plant or on site septic systems. Whether the wide ranging pods of porpoises, sea lions, or even Orca are the source is not known, but cannot be discounted.
*The article in The Globe and Mail on oyster illnesses from British Columbia also notes in a short clip at the end the Humpback Whale population increasing from 6,000 to 21,000 since 1993. Shown is a drone capturing "whale snot" being exhaled to test for pathogens.
Send in the Orca to clean up the mess.
But don't they "poop" too? 

Half baked ideas are as bad as half cooked oysters contaminated with norovirus.
Before agencies chase ghosts attempting to make waters clean enough for shellfish growers to make (quoting Mr. Hansen) "$10,000 per month" from his small tideland parcel, they should first confirm just exactly what the source of the problem is. If they are wrong, and illnesses continue, the east coast shellfish growers will be able to take market share which will be very difficult to re-acquire. 

Is a drainfield this close to 
a shellfish farm a good idea
if you're worried about norovirus?
Does that green grass
in August
indicate anything?

Edited May 10: The Department of Health has declared portions of Hammersley Inlet open to commercial harvesting again. (see below - red/brown closed)

City of Shelton 
Portions of Oakland Bay and Hammersley Inlet

Edited May 11: The Department of Health has declared the area at the end of SE Mell Road open to commercial harvesting. Portions of the north shore and west end where the waste water treatment plant discharges into Oakland Bay and Hammersley Inlet remain closed.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Thurston County Commissioners Hear Appeal of Geoduck Operation Permit Approval

[Edited: Regarding the point made that Thurston County is not considering the larger picture - In addition to the 10 acre Chelsea operation noted below, Geoducks Unlimited has been issued a SEPA determination by Thurston County for another geoduck farm. Comments on the Mitigated Determination of Non-significance decision were due May 5. Appeal deadline is May 12. Geoducks Unlimited is operated by Gregory Reub, a scientist with Environ and previously Entrix, which created much of the foundation on which the perception that geoduck operations have minimal impacts is based on. During his involvement with Environ he operated another geoduck operation nearby. The current project description may be found by clicking here.]

On May 3, Thurston County Commissioners heard an appeal of the approval of a shoreline permit for a geoduck operation in Zangle Cove. Historically, this cove has never been used for industrial aquaculture, with tidelands sold by the state as being unsuitable for aquaculture. Recently, a property owner and Taylor Shellfish proposed an industrial geoduck operation within these tidelands, which Thurston County approved a permit for. One of the Commissioners recused himself due to prior contact with parties involved. Should the other two be unable to agree on a decision he will step in to break the tie.

Appellants presented to the Commissioners testimony on eel grass restoration efforts taking place by the Department of Natural Resources and impacts to safety and aesthetics by those opposed to the operation. It was stressed by appellants that the Shoreline Management Act does not give aquaculture priority or overriding preference to use of the shorelines, but is only one of may uses. It was also pointed out there are minimal benefits to growing geoduck, whether it be in the form of tax revenues or long term jobs, whereas recreational benefits are significant through such things as property taxes paid and taxes received on revenue from the rental of water craft for recreational use. Appellants summarized by saying that while aquaculture has a place in Washington, that place is not in Zangle Cove.

Of unique significance, a question by one of the Commissioners asked about the county's awareness - or lack thereof - of current and proposed geoduck operations in Thurston County. The appellant suggested that at a minimum, without permitting of all geoduck operations by the county, there is no way to know what sort of an overall impacts Thurston County's tidelands and waters are experiencing.
[Note: It was recently announced that Chelsea Sea Farms is proposing a 10 acre geoduck operation in Gallagher Cove. This farm's application was submitted to county staff on November 10 of last year, two months before the final hearing but was never mentioned by county staff. Information on that application is found on the Department of Ecology's SEPA website by clicking here.]
In response, applicants stressed the perceived importance of aquaculture over all other uses of waters and tidelands. They pointed out these were private tidelands, the eel grass present is a great distance from the proposed farm, a great deal of science has been created showing there is minimal impact to the environment, and that as proposed, industry's "best management practises" will mitigate other concerns. Finally, they stressed the SMA does not require a cumulative impacts analysis. [It should be noted a recent decision did affirm that in some cases a cumulative impacts analysis should be considered.] They concluded by noting the overwhelming number of comments are in opposition to the project and approval of the permit, but that is not a reason to deny the permit.

Testimony before the commissioners may be heard here:

Letters and comments in opposition, as well as other exhibits, may be found on Thurston County's website, here: