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:

Friday, July 26, 2019

End of July, Beginning of August Bring Minus Tides and Warm Weather

Get out and experience Puget Sound

The low minus tides of late July and early August bring one of the last opportunities to experience Puget Sound's low intertidal habitat. It is an area unique to Puget Sound which supports diverse species unique to Puget Sound which is worth protecting and preserving.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Vibriosis Infections From South Puget Sound's Hammersley Inlet, Now Closed to Harvesting

Vibriosis Closes Hammersley Inlet 
Shellfish Growing Area

Washington's Department of Health has notified shellfish growers the Hammersley Inlet growing area is closed due to multiple cases of vibriosis traced to oysters harvested from that area. Warming temperatures and minus tides contributed to the cause of the increase. Being able to trace illnesses to specific areas, in this case, pointed to Hammersley Inlet.

Over the past years, illnesses from oysters harvested from Hammersley Inlet have caused a variety of closures, some related to vibriosis, some related to noro-virus. Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacterium, the cause of vibriosis, occurs naturally in Puget Sound. As water temperatures rise it becomes more abundant. Because oysters are filter feeders, they retain this bacteria within their systems. If left in warm temperatures, the oyster becomes a petri dish which causes this species of bacterium to grow rapidly.

Food safety is important. The Department of Health does not recommend consuming raw oysters from south Puget Sound during the summer and instead suggests boiling, baking or broiling in order to kill any bacteria.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Growth Management Hearings Board Rejects DOE and Pierce County Restrictions on Aquaculture

Taylor  Shellfish/Foss Family Prevail:
GMHB Tells DOE and Pierce County 
it must
"plan for, foster and give preference 
to aquaculture as a preferred use"

Presidential Candidate Governor Inslee
and Taylor Shellfish's Bill Dewey
China's elite pay a lot of money.
Taylor Shellfish makes a lot of money.
A few waterfront tideland owners 
make a lot of money.
Is that bad for the marine ecosystem Governor?

Aquaculture as a fosster child.
Washington's Growth Management Hearings Board has told the Department of Ecology and Pierce County the purpose of the Shoreline Management Act is to "plan for, foster and give preference to aquaculture as a preferred use". It is not to prevent the fragmentation of the intertidal area which the SMA describes as part of "the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources." As such it has returned Pierce County's updated Shoreline Master Program to them telling them to remove many  regulations the county and its citizens put in place to control aquaculture.

China doesn't care about Puget Sound habitat.
They care about geoduck grown in PVC pipes.
48,000 per acre

A concern then, a bigger concern now.
Citizens who overwhelmingly passed the SMA because there was concern "throughout the state relating to their utilization, protection, restoration and preservation" now find those concerns are apparently secondary to profits of corporations such as Taylor Shellfish and wealthy shoreline tideland/upland owners such as the Foss family's North Bay Partners who lease their tidelands to them. Taylor Shellfish and the Foss family's North Bay Partners appealed Pierce County's SMP approved by DOE and won.


There are some things which do not need to be fosstered.
What you see above may be good for the geoduck industry, China, a few corporations and a few tideland owners. But who else really believes this is good for Puget Sound's intertidal area? Do properties held by the Foss family really need to be fosstered?

~130 acres, ~5,000' of waterfront.
Taxes? $3,957
Does the Foss family really need to have
geoduck aquaculture fosstered to help pay these taxes?

Washington's intertidal areas are being transformed by a few large corporations who believe the money made and jobs created mitigates the damage done. It is an oligopoly - an industry controlled by a few dominant players. These corporations control the price paid to tideland owners, they control the price paid for shellfish, and through well paid lobbyists and attorneys control agencies responsible for protecting, preserving and restoring Washington's "most valuable and fragile of its natural resources" and instead have convinced them their role is to foster aquaculture. 

The industrial level of activities created by these few corporations are what the SMA was meant to hold back. Not foster.

Get involved
Get involved. If you are not, when your grandchildren ask how Puget Sound's tidelands came to be transformed into forests of PVC, you will only be able to say, "Because I didn't care enough to do anything."

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Imidacloprid in Willapa Bay: Goose Point Oyster/Others Press On - "No other way."

Pristine Waters of Willapa Bay?
It just needs pesticides added directly to it.
Growers complain of urban runoff. 
But direct application of pesticides by them is okay.

Welcome to business. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. 
In a presentation put forth for OPB, owners of Goose Point oyster claim there is no other way for them to grow oysters than to be allowed to spray their beds with the pesticide Imidacloprid, banned in the European Union. Because there is a lack of willingness to develop and implement alternative growing methods such as those Taylor Shellfish has, Goose Point's owners believe the only way is to spray Willapa Bay with Imidacloprid, one of the neonicotinoids being banned in foreign countries*.
*Some ask why let a foreign country control US policy? Some ask why foreign countries grounded 737 Max jets before the US. Sometimes the US isn't always right.
The threat to Willapa Bay is not native species.
It is pesticide use from oyster growers.
And a lack of imagination and willingness
to accept that sometimes business has expenses.

Welcome to "pristine" waters of Willapa Bay. Where pesticides were applied directly.
Willapa Bay is often described as having "pristine waters" which grow some of the best oysters in the world. While it's true that Willapa Bay grows an enormous number of oysters, claiming the waters to be "pristine" while spraying pesticides on oyster beds for decades stretches integrity. Washington's Attorney General went so far as to describe the waters as a "chemical soup" in 2012 (see p. 32 here). Direct application of Carbaryl/Sevin by growers then only made it worse, as Imidacloprid will today.

Use some Thinking Time.
It's not rocket science.

Welcome to business problem solving. It's not, "We don't know what else to do!"
Oyster growers claiming there is no other way are not taking the time to problem solve. Some claim that pole and rack/line systems would work like those used by Taylor Shellfish, but sediments are so soft poles used fall over. Do they not make longer poles which get driven into firmer sediments?  Just because oyster growers have been used to simply throwing oyster shell onto the bedlands of Willapa Bay, spraying pesticides, and using the public waters as a food source to grow oysters doesn't mean there aren't alternative methods. It only means there is a lack of will because it may cost more to grow oysters. Business is tough sometimes.

All the PR help in a tall building
will not convince consumers
oysters from beds sprayed with 
pesticides are safe/good to eat.

Welcome to bad PR advice. The Hard Reality: You will kill demand for oysters from Willapa Bay and all of Washington.
Public Relations firms will be more than happy to take money and make a point you want them to. It's what they get paid to do in their 25th floor offices. It's not to tell you the hard realities in life. In this case, if oyster growers are successful in their appeal to Washington and are granted a permit, the demand for Willapa Bay and Washington oysters will drop. Efforts to export Washington oysters to the European Union will be for nothing when they discover Imidacloprid - a pesticide the EU has banned - is being sprayed on the oyster beds Washington oysters are grown on. The East Coast Shellfish Growers Association has already said, pointedly, they "...use no feeds, fertilizers, pesticides or antibiotics." That is the hard reality Washington oyster growers will be up against if Willapa Bay growers are successful. That advice is free.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Geoduck Aquaculture: Too Controversial for Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee? What are you "protecting"?

June 28, 1-5PM
Shellfish Aquaculture Educational Forum
Northwest Maritime Center
431 Water St
Port Townsend, WA
Registration required (click here for registration)

JCMRC: We only want to educate you 
on aquaculture which isn't controversial.

What habitat is it JCMRC "protecting and restoring"?
The "habitat" 40,000 PVC tubes/acre create?

Really? What "resources" are you protecting by not putting geoduck aquaculture on the agenda? 
In a move which shines a light on the role which the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee is apparently now filling - promoting shellfish aquaculture which the industry wants you to hear about - they have decided not to include geoduck aquaculture in an upcoming "educational forum" on aquaculture. Based on a recent post by Al Bergstein, the past Environmental representative on the Committee, the upcoming June 28 meeting will only discuss the warmer topics of aquaculture, not the ongoing hot button of geoduck aquaculture. Ongoing for over a decade now. 

Integrity still matters to some.
(Al Bergstein has resigned from JCMRC)

Geoduck aquaculture is too hot for JCMRC to touch. 
As a result of geoduck aquaculture being considered too controversial to be included on the agenda,  Al Bergstein has resigned from his long held position as the Environmental representative. Instead of addressing what is the most controversial form of aquaculture taking place in Puget Sound - the growing of geoduck in intertidal areas for the elite in China - the Jefferson County Marine Resource Committee has instead punted and left it off of the agenda. It's too controversial (still). As a result, Mr Bergstein has resigned from his position. 

The Chinese could care less about Puget Sound's
intertidal area and the habitat provided to native species.
Geoduck growers like the money.
So do nonprofits receiving donations.

Geoduck is hard to swallow. 
While it is unfortunate the JCMRC has lost such a strong voice supporting the critical marine habitats within Puget Sound - those marine habitat areas which the JCMRC claims it is "protecting and restoring" - no one should have to compromise their strongly held beliefs for a committee apparently too timid to face down this industrial level of aquaculture taking place in Puget Sound and deal with the controversy surrounding it. There is a point in life where you can only swallow so much of what industry spoon feeds you before you have to act on your beliefs.

Being involved pays. Very well.
"Don't ask how it's done."

It will be quite a show.
Geoduck growers have created a magic show making agencies believe great benefits to all has been created. Well paid public relations firms, well paid attorneys, and well paid "scientists" (either directly or through grants controlled through the political process) have created a magic show in which the belief that geoducks grown in Puget Sound's intertidal areas is somehow good. It is not . It is transformative, creating a monoculture, and fracturing the critical marine habitat of Puget Sound. Growers want more and will get more unless you make your voice heard. 

Get involved. Make your voice heard. 
Register and attend JCMRC "Shellfish Aquaculture Educational Forum". It will be quite a show.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Friends of Dungeness Wildlife Refuge and Commercial Aquaculture

Friends of Dungeness Wildlife Refuge
on the proposed commercial shellfish operation
within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Commercial Oyster Farm Proposed Within Refuge
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has done many positive things for our community. They have worked with Friends and the Refuge for environmental restoration and other beneficial projects. We support their commercial aquaculture efforts. However, we do object to the proposed location within a closed area of the Refuge that is heavily used by wildlife.
Our concerns about the proposed oyster farm location: 
• The Refuge was established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson to protect wildlife. It was not established to conduct commercial aquaculture operations with non-native species. If allowed, what precedent might this set for the future?
• The proposed location is a high use area for waterfowl and shorebirds, especially for winter foraging. The area also has eelgrass, which provides habitat for forage fish and shellfish.
• The level of proposed activity in this location would present a great disturbance to wildlife.
• The proposed location could negatively impact the view and experience of the 100,000 annual Refuge visitors with the visual pollution of up to 80,000 plastic mesh bags, and boats and workers in the area.
• Plastic debris from the mesh bags is a concern. Wildlife could potentially get trapped in the mesh or ingest the plastic debris as it breaks down.
• Bags anchored to the ground could prevent native eelgrass from growing and may disrupt natural habitat on the seabed, reducing foraging areas.
• Noise pollution from workers, boats, and equipment may scare wildlife, causing health issues, or abandonment of the site. Noise may also disturb Refuge visitors and neighbors on the bay.
You may submit comments to Clallam County. Click here to submit or read the Documents about the proposed oyster farm.

Click on the link above, then find several detailed documents regarding the proposal, exhibits, and public comments. On the top right of the page you will find links to submit a comment by email or fill out a an online form. Update – The scheduled April 4, 2019 public hearing has been postponed. The Tribe is seeking government to government negotiations regarding the proposed location. Public input is still being received by the County.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Zangle Cove: "People like PVC tubes in straight lines." What people are those?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
May 19, 2019 - A thing of beauty? 

The populating of Zangle Cove with PVC pipes to grow geoduck for China continues. Conversion of the intertidal area into a monolithic population of geoduck contained within PVC tubes, covered by "predator nets", is found more important to this tideland owner than the native habitat it has provided in the past. 

You need new glasses 
if you think 
this will "feed the world".

A belief this operation is going to help "feed the world" is a sad and out of focus view of reality. After these PVC tubes are placed, removed, and after harvesting with hydraulic water jets has completely transformed this marine habitat, these geoduck are airfreighted to China where only the elite are able to afford the expense of this luxury food. A Chinese elite who care little for the transformation this product has brought to Puget Sound's tidelands. A transformation which continues to grow.

Where did all those straight lines go?
Replaced by a moonscape at harvest.
Do people think this looks good too?

The only people who think PVC in straight lines in the intertidal area look good are those few corporations who are profiting from this transformation. A transformation which leaves a moonscape at harvest, to be replaced by another set of PVC tubes set in straight lines. It is not a thing of beauty. And China could care less.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Taxpayer Dollars Funding Research on Toxic Chemicals to Remove Native Burrowing Shrimp in Willapa Bay Remain

[Update 4/26: EHB 1109, the 2019-2021 operating budget, is waiting for a House/Senate conference meeting to work through disagreements between the two houses. Still remaining in the bill is $534,000 of taxpayer dollars allocated to assess "...the toxicity of candidate chemicals..." to poison native burrowing shrimp (see below for current wording).]

$534,000 to Study Toxicity of Chemicals
Applied to Oyster Beds and Marine Waters
of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor Remains
in Final Budget Bill

Changes have been made to the final budget bill, removing mention of Imidacloprid, but retaining the belief that the only way to deal with this native species is by eliminating it, "...assessing the toxicity of candidate chemicals..". As of yet, funding to assist growers in moving to alternative growing methods used by the oyster growers around the world, and within Willapa Bay, has yet to be accepted as a better alternative. According to the office of Governor Inslee, this funding will cease June 1, 2019. (See final bill, page 625, by clicking here)

(9) $534,000 of the state toxics control account—state  appropriation is provided ((solely for a monitoring program to study the impacts of the use of imidacloprid as a means to control 16 burrowing shrimp and related costs)) to support research related to burrowing shrimp infestations in Willapa bay and Grays harbor. Department costs include, but are not limited to, oversight and  participation on a technical advisory committee, technical assistance, planning, and reporting activities. The department may also use the funding provided in this subsection, as needed, for payments to Washington State University, the United States department of agriculture, and outside consultants ((for their participation in the monitoring program and technical advisory committee)). Research funded pursuant to this appropriation includes but is not limited to dye dispersal studies to understand the oceanographic dynamics of Willapa bay, Grays harbor, or both, laboratory studies to assess toxicity of candidate chemicals to control burrowing shrimp, and support of researchers in publishing original research related to control of burrowing shrimp, including research assessing potential impacts to nontarget organisms in Willapa bay and Grays harbor. The department must report to the appropriate committees of the legislature by June 1, 2019, on the progress of ((the monitoring program)) expenditures under this subsection.

It's time to stop looking to the past
for a solution for tomorrow.

At some point in time legislators and growers will come to realize that taxpayer dollars for funding of ideas from oyster growers who drive by looking in the rear view mirror for solutions to a perceived problem will not work nor be accepted by consumers of Washington oysters and Washington taxpayers. Instead, it will be legislators and companies who drive while looking forward through an evolving marine ecosystem, which does not need to have toxic chemicals applied to it, will be who survives.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Shellfish Politics: Corporate Welfare/Marine Pork - $534,000 in taxpayer dollars to study the use of Imidacloprid to kill native burrowing shrimp.

[Update: Governor Inslee's Senior Policy Advisor has noted the following changes made:

"The revised proviso [on funds for the study Imidacloprid] removes reference to imidacloprid and allows the use of the funds for research related to burrowing shrimp infestations in Willipa Bay and Grays Harbor.  Specifically the funding would be used for
1.       dye dispersal studies in Willipa Bay or Grays Harbor
2.       lab studies to assess toxicity of candidate chemicals to control burrowing shrimp
3.       support of researchers in publishing original research related to control of burrowing shrimp and potential impacts to non-target organisms.

"To date, none of the original proviso money has been spent. The revision of the proviso by the House, if passed, would only be valid through June 30, 2019, which means that the Department  of Agriculture would have only two months to spend the money and complete work. There is currently no extension of this funding in any legislative budget for the 2019-21 biennium."

See the final Bill passed here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/1109-S.E.pdf ]

$534,000 in Marine Pork

Pesticides do not belong in Washington's
marine environment. Especially on its oyster beds.

Lipstick won't stick on this pig. 
Buried in the budget before the Washington legislature, to be sent to Governor Inslee, is what can only be described as "marine pork." Despite the Department of Ecology denying the permit; despite the public saying they will not support spraying Imidacloprid on Washington oyster beds; despite virtually all labels saying it is a neurotoxic pesticide lethal to ALL marine invertebrates and should not be applied below the high tide line; and, despite 2 bills not making it to the floor of the Senate or the House which would have overridden DOE's permit denial, shellfish lobbyists convinced legislators to insert a paragraph which allocates $534,000 of taxpayer dollars to study Imidacloprid. To kill native burrowing shrimp so a few shellfish growers, unwilling to accept reality, may grow nonnative Pacific oysters.

From page 610 of ESHB 1109:
(9) $534,000 of the state toxics control account—state 12 appropriation is provided solely for a monitoring program to study the impacts of the use of imidacloprid as a means to control burrowing shrimp and related costs. Department costs include, but are not limited to, oversight and participation on a technical advisory committee, technical assistance, planning, and reporting activities. The department may also use the funding provided in this subsection, as needed, for payments to Washington State University, the United States department of agriculture, and outside consultants for their participation in the monitoring program and technical advisory committee. The department must report to the appropriate committees of the legislature by June 1, 2019, on the progress of the monitoring program.
(See complete budget proposal here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Amendments/Senate/1109-S.E%20AMS%20ENGR%20S3636.E.pdf)

Get involved.
Find your Washington legislator and tell he/she this "marine pork" should be removed from ESHB 1109. IF the legislators want to react to shellfish growers, then allocate monies to help them develop alternative growing methods.
Find your legislator here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

Tell Governor Inslee to veto this if it should get to his desk, as this is not going to help his image of someone governing a "green state". It will be picked up by others to show he is simply wearing under a green cloak with nothing on underneath.
Contact Governor Inslee here: https://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Contact his "Inslee for America" election web site here and tell them to tell him to veto this:

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Canada Further Restricts Use of Imidacloprid/Neonicotinoids: Willapa Bay Shellfish Growers Continue Appeal to Use in Marine Waters and On Washington Oyster Beds

My grandfather did it this way
and my father did it this way.
It doesn't make it right.

Should Canada drive policy decisions? They helped ground the 737 MAX when the FAA wouldn't. They should also help drive the decision to reject the appeal by the Willapa Grays Harbor Shellfish Growers Association who continue to walk into a cement wall of resistance to applying pesticides to oyster beds, not understanding the wall isn't going to move.

Despite being told by the public, in no uncertain terms, they do not want oysters raised on beds sprayed with pesticides, Washington shellfish growers either support or are silent on the pursuit of a permit to do so. (Read on decision to appeal here: https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/oyster-growers-appeal-state-decision-to-deny-pesticide-use-1/863242698)

Despite being told by agencies the application of Imidacloprid on Washington oyster beds should not be permitted, Washington shellfish growers either support or are silent on the appeal of that decision by WGHOGA. (See denial letter from DOE to WGHOGA here:  https://ecology.wa.gov/DOE/files/9f/9f907372-0c3d-4d5c-aea2-116a38516e10.pdf)

"Our Imidacloprid is different."

How much did it cost to convince 
a lobbyist to believe that?

Despite being printed on virtually every label of a product containing Imidacloprid that it is toxic to marine invertebrates and should not be applied in the intertidal area, shellfish lobbyists convinced the EPA that in the case of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, their proposed use of Imidacloprid was different. Their profits should override the concerns every other manufacturer of products containing Imidaicloprid had and they should be allowed use it to eliminate native burrowing shrimp - and any other marine invertebrate which happens to be in the area - so they are able to grow nonnative Pacific oysters. All the while complaining about urban runoff, dairy/cattle farms, and septic systems  impacting marine waters and their ability to grow oysters.

How many times does Washington's shellfish industry need to walk into this wall of resistance to their idea - or silence on it - before they realize it is their product which will be tainted and, along with it, whatever profits they hoped to gain.

The European Union will never accept oysters from Washington when they find out what growers in Governor Inslee's "green state" have done and want to continue to do. That's a wall you don't want to walk into.

Get involved. Tell Washington oyster growers - whether they support the appeal or are currently silent on it - to stop the process. There are alternative ways to grow oysters which will effect their profits far less than a market refusing to buy oysters from Washington where pesticides are applied to oyster beds.