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, September 14, 2018

The Extinction of a Species: What happens when people sit back and industry stays focused on regulations.*

What Extinction Looks Like
Get involved.*

Talequah (J35) and her dead calf.
And now, another.

Following the recent death of a newborn calf carried over 1,000 miles for 17 days, another of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales has died. The Washington Post writes on the looming extinction of an iconic Northwest species. Despite attempts to save "Scarlet" (J50) the 3 year old female has been declared dead, leaving 74 of the endangered species remaining.

Get involved. PCC markets has written on the problems and steps you can take as individuals while government agencies hold collaborative meetings, largely driven by the interests of corporations who see Puget Sound and the waters and tidelands of the northwest as a palate to generate profits from. At the expense of the very foundation on which the food chain is based.

The Center for Whale Research put it this way: “The message brought by J50, and by J35 and her dead calf a few weeks ago, is that the [southern resident killer whales] are running out of reproductive capacity and extinction of this population is looming, while the humans convene task forces and conference calls that result in nothing, or worse than nothing, diverting attention and resources from solving the underlying ecological problems that will ultimately make this once-productive region unlivable for all.”

*In addition to steps in the PCC article, Pierce County will hold a meeting on its updated Shoreline Master Program on Monday, September 17th.. The Department of Ecology has told the County there are a number of regulations which must be dropped or added, many at the demands from attorneys from the shellfish industry. When people sit back, they will get what an industry and agencies feel is best for them. Get involved. Industry is.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Pierce County SMP Update: County Complains to DOE

Shoreline Master Plans: Local Discretion
Department of Ecology Mandate?

September 17 - Before the Community Development Committee
October 2 - Before the County Council

Email: Dave Risvold - dave.risvold@piercecountywa.gov

Pierce County is in the process of reviewing and ratifying its Shoreline Master Plan update. Part of the update process has included responding to the Department of Ecology's required changes. In a letter dated June 27, Pierce County wrote of the "...apparent inability to exercise local discretion in certain areas of shoreline management."

Specifically, Pierce County writes:
"Pierce County would prefer to prohibit the dumping of dredged material within the State's designated Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve due to various factors including the existence of alternative dredged material disposal sites within the County."
"Pierce County would also prefer to prohibit certain aquaculture activities in proximity to estuaries and within select bays and inlets that are developed with high density residential densities."
"Obligating the County to accept uses in inappropriate areas that will result in unavoidable impacts and user conflicts is unfortunate." 
Not allowed by Ecology:
18. Aquaculture is prohibited in Estuaries within 300 feet of the mouth of freshwater streams (as measured at extreme low tide).
19. Aquaculture is prohibited adjacent to residential neighborhoods in Horsehead Bay, Wollochet Bay, Lay Inlet and adjacent to Raft Island due to water quality and visual impacts.
d. Disposal of dredged material within the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve
17. With the exception of Olympia Oyster propagation which is a conditional use, new commercial shellfish aquaculture operations are prohibited within the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve.

For complete document showing what was struck by DOE, added by DOE, and why, see this link:

For DOE's "recommended changes" see this document:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Farmed Salmon: An Industry in Transition to Enclosed Operations - The old model is dead.

"the economics are all there for us
and 10 more [companies] in terms of demand.”
(Whole Oceans chief development officer Ben Willauer)
UndercurrentNews, August 16

Farmed salmon is an industry in transition, moving from open net pen operations to upland/enclosed operations. In the United States, three major developments are currently underway with 2 in Maine and 1 in Florida. The latter, Atlantic Sapphire's, is expected to supply up to 10% of the US demand for farmed salmon when completed. Whole Oceans in Maine already has sold out its first 10 years of production.

Atlantic Sapphire's "Bluehouse"
All operations are all withing one location.

There are both ecosystem and economic advantages to the change in how salmon are grown. The risk to the native ecosystem and habitat from virus, waste, and escapes are eliminated with enclosed systems. Placing enclosed operations closer to population centers minimizes the energy wasted in moving salmon smolt to the pens, well boats needed to treat disease, and energy wasted in moving salmon to markets from the pens at maturity. 

High cost of transportation
is collapsed 
with land based operations.
(from Atlantic Sapphire)

There are active arguments against the transition, but all fall by the wayside on closer examination.

Too much fresh water is used: Open net pen operations currently require the same amount of fresh water to hatch and grow out small salmon for transport to their open pens. Salt water required for grow out to market size would be drawn in from the ocean or deep salt aquifers, representing virtually nothing. Further, once drawn, the water is recirculated, and filtered, with the waste contained and not allowed to spread throughout the environment as it does in open net pen operations.

Too much energy is required for pumps: This argument ignores the evolution - if not revolution - also currently taking place in the energy field. Whether in the form of wind turbines (currently used at Atlantic Sapphire's Denmark facility) solar cells, or tidal turbines, these operations are able to easily produce much of the power needed. As seen in the image above, reducing energy requirements for current open net pen operations is simply not possible (e.g., there are no electric boats nor planes).

Land is scarce
: While land may be scarce in some European countries, this is simply not the case in north america. Further, even where land is scarce, the size of the facilities maximizes the land used to produce protein for consumption. As seen in the image below from Atlantic Sapphire's Bluehouse in Denmark, the tanks use for grow out are immense in height.

Rural jobs are at risk: Some jobs may be lost, but many will be created as construction and operation of these new facilities begins.

Enclosed/upland salmon growing operations will revolutionize and change forever the farmed salmon industry. Disease and waste entering the natural ecosystems and escapes impacting native species will be eliminated. While companies operating in the United States and British Columbia will resist the transition, it will happen, with capital and jobs flowing to those areas supporting this transition. The market will demand it as more and more problems with open net pen operations are brought to light.

Healthy, sustainably grown salmon is here now
and it won't stop coming.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Thurston County Shoreline Master Program Updated Files On-line

Get involved: Thurston County has announced updated files having been added to its online site. Documents added/updated include the Draft Shoreline Master Program regulations and associated appendices. A County Commissioners meeting will be held September 12 where a presentation on the proposed updates will be given (see below for time and location). This update, in the beginning phases, will control developments along the shorelines, tidelands and waters of Thurston County. The public is encouraged to participate (see below for were to send comments).

From Thurston County:

Thurston County government is updating its shoreline codes, also called the Shoreline Master Program (SMP).  The documents page has been updated to include the remaining appendices of the Draft SMP Document for review and comment.
The complete set of draft SMP documents are online here:  https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/planning/Pages/shorelines-update-docs-list.aspx 
The SMP document website contains the following:
Shoreline Master Program Document
Appendix A:   Shoreline Environmental Designation Report - with supporting documents and maps
Appendix B:   Mitigation Options to Achieve No-Net Loss
Appendix C:   Shoreline Restoration Plan
Appendix D:   Channel Migration Zone map data
Inventory and Characterization Report - with supporting documents and maps
Cumulative Impacts Analysis Report - with supporting documents/maps
A briefing with the Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for September 12, 2018 from 3:30-4:00pm to discuss proposed updates. The public is welcome to attend. 

DATE           Wednesday, September 12, 2018

TIME           3:30 pm - 4:00 p.m.

Thurston County Courthouse Complex
                    Building 1, Room 280
                    2000 Lakeridge Drive SW
                    Olympia, WA  98502 


You can send comments via email or mail.
There is currently no deadline for sending comments, but the process is moving forward.

If you have questions, please contact the County's Senior Planner and SMP Project Manager, Brad Murphy. Email smp@co.thurston.wa.us or call 360-867-4465


Thurston County Community Planning Staff

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

PCC Markets Writes on Southern Resident Orca With Ecosystem Wide View

Get involved:  Tell your grandchildren
you helped preserve 
Southern Resident Orca
watched them go extinct.

A young orca and Chinook salmon near San Juan Island. 
Image: National Marine Fisheries Service permit #19091.

PCC Markets provides a piece penned by Anne Mosness on ecosystem wide impacts resulting in the endangered Southern Resident Orca population threatened with extinction in our lifetime. Impacts from development range from impassable culverts, dams and industrial level aquaculture activities threatening habitat for both forage fish and Chinook salmon, the former a food source for the salmon, the latter the food source for the Orca. The article ends with suggestions on actions to take, copied below.


  • Dispose of unused drugs in garbage. Do not flush down the toilet.
  • Don’t wash your car in the driveway or on the street. Wash your car on the lawn to filter oily chemicalrunoff — or take it to a car wash where suds and chemicals are diverted to a water treatment plant, away from storm drains that empty into Puget Sound. It is illegal to let detergents and contaminated waste enter storm drains in King and Snohomish counties. If you do, you could be fined.
  • Switch to an electric car.
  • Stencil “No Dumping — Drains to Sound” at your neighborhood storm drains. Contact public works or storm water maintenance in your city, or the following, for stencils, paint and guidance.
Seattle – carlton.stinson@seattle.gov or 206-684-7624
Bothell – christi.cox@bothellwa.gov or 425-806-6790
Burien – marye@burienwa.gov or 206-248-5511
Edmonds – steve.fisher@edmondswa.gov or 425-275-4801
Kirkland – wayers@kirklandwa.gov or 425-587-3859
Redmond – jcapis@redmond.gov or 425-556-2865
  • Consider commenting to our U.S. senators and Gov. Inslee about the four lower Snake River dams. See wildsalmon.org.
  • Join Sierra Club’s Water/Salmon Committee and learn more here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

What Geoduck Tariffs Mean to Puget Sound: Good Bye Honey, Things have Changed

Packin' Up, Movin' Out
Goodbye Honey Bucket
Will this really be missed?
(and did this mess get to where it was going?)

What could possibly go wrong?
According to recent press releases, geoduck farmers are "freaking out" over the recent 25% tariff imposed on geoduck grown in Puget Sound. The Chinese, in one action, may have done more to preserve and possibly restore Puget Sound's intertidal area than a decade of efforts from people concerned over the transformation brought on by PVC at planting and liquification of sediments at harvesting. While unknown whether it will last, what is becoming clear is some companies seem to be standing on thin legs and are at risk of failure.

Money for Nothin'
Kicks for Free
At the Expense of Puget Sound's 
Intertidal Habitat
(and your leased tidelands)

"You'll get rich. And, if not, well, they're your tidelands, not mine."
A recent opinion piece in the Seattle Time by Jim Gibbons, founder of Seattle Shellfish, stated prices have dropped 40% due to the tariff imposed. Worried about whether his business will be able to survive, he wrote he will be curtailing "growth" and cutting back on planting. Whether the cutting back and curtailments will occur on leased tidelands, whose owners were told of great wealth to come for doing nothing from these leases, or on tidelands privately held by Seattle Shellfish, was not made clear. What was made clear is that the founder of Seattle Shellfish is concerned about a breach in the moat which had surrounded this industry's model.

In the end,
aren't we all brothers?
Panopea japonica, Panopea generosa
"both nuclear genes revealed low genetic divergence 
between P. generosa and P. japonica"

North Korea's new secret weapon threatening the northwest: Panopea japonica?
In the piece penned by Mr Gibbons, he noted Puget Sound is not the only place the Chinese are able to source geoduck. He notes Mexico, Canada and North Korea as alternatives (not mentioned was New Zealand). In a 2015 study on genetic differences between "geoduck" from different geographic areas, the point was made that there was a "low genetic divergence" between geoduck from the northwest and Asia. So why would someone pay exorbitant prices for something grown in the US when close to the same thing, if not the same thing, is able to be grown and harvested in Asian waters? They won't. And for that reason, Mr. Gibbons, Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish, and a myriad of small operators,  rightly worry that in fact, a moat has been breached and things have changed.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lowest Tides In Years During "No Plastic July"

It's "Plastic Free July"
There's More Than
Straws, Forks and Spoons
To Worry About

Tomorrow, July 13, and this weekend will see some of the lowest tides and highest elevation changes Puget Sound has seen in years. In south Puget Sound, Friday the 13th, at 12:44PM, will see tidal lows of -3.9. On Saturday, between 1:30 and 8:30, a tidal elevation change of over 19' will occur, with all water flowing through the Tacoma Narrows.

These low tides will expose a part of Puget Sound's marine ecosystem rarely seen. Coupled with the warm weather and sunny skies it is a rare opportunity to get out and experience what only Washington can.

What other plastics need
to be kept out of Puget Sound?

Remember, it's Plastic Free July, so leave your plastic straws, forks and spoons at home. If you see plastic in any form, take a picture to remind yourself that plastic forks and straws are not all Puget Sound's marine habitat should be protected from.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mason County Residents Question Geoduck Lease By DNR on Stretch Island

Is removing some of the few remaining tidelands
available to the public in the state wide interest?
Stretch Point State Park and the public tidelands
being leased are both accessible by boat. 

An emergency Port of Grapeview meeting provided Mason County residents an opportunity to question the wisdom of DNR leasing 4.6 acres to Allen Shellfish for a geoduck operation. The lease was described as "the hot topic" of the emergency meeting, held days before its regularly scheduled meeting. At the meeting it was decided to request DNR extend for 90 days the comment period on the proposal so that citizens could gain a better understanding of just how the proposal came to be and what exactly it would mean.

Is this how RFP's for public tidelands
are supposed to be handled?
You give me this now, I'll give you a "piece" later.

As background, in 2006 and 2007, DNR decided to lease a number of tideland parcels to geoduck farmers. Responses to the requests for proposals (RFP's) were received from operators and "winners" were chosen based on a formula applied to various aspects of the responses. After a public outcry, DNR chose to hold off on executing any leases at the time to consider the impacts. During that time horse trading between growers, with DNR's apparent consent ensued, with growers agreeing  to trade one lease for another. As seen in the letter above, Case Cove felt it was in their interest to convince Allen Shellfish to give up their lease in front of Case Cove owner Kent Kingman's property, which Allen Shellfish agreed to do, for another lease and an undefined "piece" at a later time.
[Note: It is unclear whether the "trade" is in effect any longer as Mr. Kingman's Case Cove was administratively dissolved by the State in 2012. Mr. Kingman also had challenges with Pierce County due to aquaculture activities taking place on his privately held tidelands without a permit, resolved when Mr. Kingman agreed not to harvest the clams he had planted.]

Twelve years later, we arrive at the present time with DNR considering an execution of a lease for the use of public tidelands, apparently decided on in 2006. It is not known whether Allen Shellfish was asked to reconsider its 12% of gross geoduck revenues or if DNR considered the possibility of putting the tidelands out for bid again as they do timberland and wild geoduck tracts. What is known is that many of the public still feel it is not in the state's interest to remove some of the few remaining public tidelands, whether accessible by boat or otherwise.

(from Intrafish: requires an account to read
the complete article and quotes from Bill Dewey)

Today, we also have another variable: a President who has started a trade war with the country where it is estimated up to 90% of geoduck sold are exported to. In response, China has placed a 25% tariff on geoduck from the US (i.e., south Puget Sound). What will happen in the likely event they discover geoduck from Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, and even from their own tidelands look and taste the same as those from south Puget Sound? Anyone invested in the stock market in 2000 will tell you what happens when a bubble pops.

Puget Sound geoduck are not different
than Canadian, Alaskan, New Zealand, or Chinese.

Get involved. These leases of some of the few public tidelands remaining were not a good idea in 2006 and they are less of a good idea today. This is a market in a state of high risk, as the stock market was in 2000, except in this case there will also be PVC, netting and stakes left in the tidelands when growers walk away from unprofitable leases.

Tell DNR what you think here:
Contact DNR here:
CPL@dnr.wa.gov (Commissioner) or, 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"Geoduck growers 'freaking out' over China US trade war."

“The market can’t absorb that price increase,” said [Bill] Dewey. 
“The volume will drop; the price will drop.”

Intrafish, a seafood industry publication, writes on the south Puget Sound geoduck industry's apparent end of distorted pricing. China has announced they will impose a 25% tariff on geoduck imported from the US.
Article here (requires subscription): http://www.intrafish.com/marketplace/1514776/geoduck-producers-freaking-out-over-china-us-trade-war
Daily World article here ("will get slammed")https://www.thedailyworld.com/business/north-pacific-seafood-exports-hit-by-chinas-tariffs/

Monday, June 18, 2018

Illegal Clam Harvest in Pierce County

A truck full of bad clams.

KIRO 7 reports that an illegal clam harvest was discovered with 1,400 pounds of clams being confiscated and destroyed. Based on closure maps from DOH, the parcel(s) involved were near Penrose Sate Park, in the area of Lakebay Marina. Who the owner and operator (reportedly from Shelton) were was not reported. Nor was whether prior harvesting had been going on and whether illegally harvested clams may have entered the distribution channel.

(From Pierce County's Public GIS  
and the Department of Health's