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, limited public input, and with minimal peer-reviewed science. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline
Older News: from 2006 to 8/20/10
(This blog evolved from: http://protectourshoreline.org/)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vibriosis from Oysters Results in Lawsuit - Economic Impact to Growers Likely to be Significant

A lawsuit has been filed by a man who contracted vibriosis from raw oysters containing elevated levels of the naturally occurring bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. A shellfish farmer, distributor, and restaurant were all named in the suit.

The suit claims the plaintiff "...suffered septic shock, multi-organ failure and the need for prolonged critical care, according to the lawsuit, resulting in physical and emotional pain, an inability to engage in normal activities, substantial medical expenses, significant economic loss and permanent disability and disfigurement." It also claims his wife "...suffered extreme distress, fear, anxiety and uncertainty watching her husband fall from perfect health to a month-long struggle for survival..."

In part, as a result of this illness in 2011, and 12 others who also contracted the disease, tighter regulations on how to handle oysters were created in 2012. That year 27 contracted the disease, followed in 2013 with 58 contracting the disease.

While this has occurred in Massachusetts, over the years, shellfish grown in Washington have been a bigger problem and source of vibriosis. As is now happening in Massachusetts, each year in the summer it is guaranteed people will begin to contract vibriosis from oysters harvested from Washington. Despite knowing this, after almost a decade of trying to control the outbreaks and failing, Washington's Department of Health continues to simply wait until cases of vibriosis are confirmed before closing growing areas. By that time oysters with elevated levels of the naturally occurring bacteria have entered into the distribution chain and are spread throughout the United States, resulting in what the Los Angeles County Department of Health called at one time a "multistate epidemic of Vibrio parahaemolyticus linked to contaminated oysters from Washington state."

What should be of bigger concern to the Department of Health, however, is that the more virulent strain of Vibrio, Vibrio vulnificus, has recently been found in Washington oysters. Originally limited to the Gulf Coast's warm waters, this bacteria is far more deadly. Its ability to enter the bloodstream through the stomach walls and intestines places it in the blood stream where it in turn is carried throughout the body. The toxins it creates can result in open wounds, causing it to sometimes be called a "flesh eating" bacteria. Of those who contract vibriosis from this strain, 50% die. Warming water temperatures will only increase the population of this bacteria, now naturally occurring in Puget Sound.

The Department of Health is responsible for ensuring food from Washington is safe to eat. Given the consistent pattern of outbreaks from oysters harvested from Puget Sound, it is time for them to become more proactive, and less concerned about the economic impact to shellfish growers. Those growers may find the economic impact from lawsuits will be far more significant than a few extra hours taken during the harvest/shipping process.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Thurston County Board and Shorelines Hearings Board "Concerned" About Impacts of Geoduck Farming - What does it take?

Comments are due Tuesday, December 15th by 4 PM on Taylor Shellfish's proposal to transform Dickenson Cove's critical intertidal habitat into another geoduck farm for the Chinese. Tell Thurston County it's time to stop being "concerned" and require a cumulative impacts analysis.
Comments to: Scott McCormick, Associate Planner mccorms@co.thurston.wa.us
May 5, 2013 (Google Earth)

How much does Puget Sound's intertidal habitat need to be transformed before agencies recognize it's time to look at cumulative impacts?

Just over 1 year ago the Shorelines Hearings Board denied an appeal of permits for geoduck farms having been granted by Thurston County. Two of those geoduck farms (Taylor Shellfish's Lockhart proposal and Arcadia Point Seafood's Thiesen proposal) were within 1,700 feet of those proposed in Dickenson Cove. Those farms were part of a shoreline becoming transformed by geoduck farming, part of the larger south Puget Sound intertidal area being planted with PVC pipes and netting to grow geoduck for the Chinese. Since then, in south Puget Sound, proposals of 25+ acres in Burley Lagoon (Taylor Shellfish), 20+ acres adjacent to McMicken Island State Park (Seattle Shellfish), 11 acres north of Herron Island (Taylor/Seattle Shellfish), and numerous smaller farms, including those in Dickenson Cove have occurred. In addition, Taylor Shellfish and Thurston County may be near an agreement of monitoring for a mussel farm, producing an estimated 1 million pounds of mussel every 18 months. Taylor Shellfish also sees nothing wrong with a 30 acre proposal adjacent to Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, north of Sequim.

It was a "close call" and everyone's "concerned"

October 11, 2013, the Shorelines Hearings Board issued a decision on an appeal of four geoduck farm permits in Thurston County having been issued. That decision stated:
On balance, it is a very close call whether a cumulative impacts analysis is warranted prior to approval of these four SSDPs. The County apparently reached the same conclusion, because, while not requiring a pre-approval cumulative impacts analysis, it included a special condition on all four of these applications pertaining to the potential for cumulative impacts. (p. 41)
March 26, 2013, after hearing an appeal of one of those permits having been granted, from the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, and in denying that appeal, Thurston County Commissioners wrote:
"The Board shares many of the Coalition's concerns...about the impacts of geoduck aquaculture on the shorelines of Thurston County. The Board is also concerned about the existing and continued growth of this aquaculture, given that the science demonstrating the long term effects of this practice on the shoreline ecology is relatively new. The Board is further concerned about the carrying capacity of our shorelines to absorb the cumulative impacts of existing unpermitted geoduck farms, the newly permitted geoduck farms, and the anticipated applications for more geoduck farms in Thurston County." (Arcadia Point Seafood/Thiesen farm, Project 2010100420, p. 1)
 January 10, 2013, the Thurston County hearing examiner wrote in her decision, granting the permits for 4 geoduck farms (two being ~1,800 feet east of Dickenson Cove):
"...because many citizens of Thurston County and Resource Stewardship Staff are concerned about any potential long term adverse effects to Henderson Inlet, the recommended condition that would require review of the SSDP in seven years or prior to replanting is adopted." (Arcadia Point Seafood/Thiesen farm, p.39)

 It's time to stop being "concerned" and begin acting, for the benefit of everyone, not just geoduck growers. The Shoreline Management Act requires it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Taylor Shellfish Continues Rolling Over Estuarine Ecosystems to Grow Geoduck for China

Thurston County
Fishtrap Loop's Dickenson Cove
Another estuarine marine habitat transformed for geoduck?
Comments due December 16 (Demand the comment period be extended to January 16)
email: Scott McCormick: mccorms@co.Thurston.wa.us
reference Case 2014103991
See here for Notice of Taylor Shellfish application:

Taylor Shellfish: Greenfield Creek and Dickenson Cove -
A Marine Habitat - Perfect for PVC, Netting and Sandbags?
Tideland parcels within which 
geoduck farms are proposed.
Importance of freshwater outflows to Puget Sound's marine habitat
One of the most critical parts of Puget Sound's larger marine ecosystem are the freshwater outflows - streams, creeks, seeps and rivers - which exist throughout the shoreline areas of Puget Sound. These outflow areas mix fresh and salt water, and carry food and nutrients used by a number of species, many unique to Puget Sound. The importance of them cannot be understated.
Fudge Point State Park, Harstine Island
Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm.
In the middle, a wetland outflow.
Important for what, and who?
But these unique marine habitat areas also carry with them a different type of importance: economic gain from planting geoduck. In the case of the proposal by Taylor Shellfish, they view the delta area created by the outflow of Greenfield Creek as prime tidelands to grow geoduck. As with all delta areas in Puget Sound, they are flat and expansive, with sandy sediments. This combination creates an area in which PVC pipes are easy to place with nets being easy to lay down. That a stream channel exists in the middle of the proposal is simply unimportant to them and is, in fact, a risk to the survival of the densely planted geoduck.
Don't like that outflow? Sandbag it.
Wilson Point, Harstine Island
Freshwater and outwash do not mix with geoduck farms. Do sandbags mix with habitat?
One of the primary concerns to geoduck growers about these freshwater stream outflows is that fresh water will kill geoduck, especially young newly planted geoduck. In addition, during storm events, the outwash of sediments, whether from the upland area or those picked up along the upper tidal areas, will bury nets and tubes. It will kill newly planted geoduck and bury netting, making the removal of tubes and nets "very difficult", if not impossible. In a recent biological evaluation for another farm, it was worded this way:
"...sandbags will be used...to prevent a "blowout" coinciding with a heavy rainfall event which would bury tubes and area nets, thus smothering and killing the geoduck seed and making removal of nets and tubes very difficult." Biological Evaluation for Trident Marine Systems
Sandbags on Pickering Passage
placed to divert wetland outflow
away from geoduck farm. 
Maybe it just shouldn't be there.
Shoreline Management Act: Part 2 - Protection from the shellfish industry.
The primary reason behind why the original Shoreline Management Act was created was also for a freshwater outflow delta area: the Nisqually Delta. In the late 1960's a proposal was put forth to transform the last large delta area in Puget Sound to a deepwater sea port. As with geoduck farming, this delta too possessed qualities which were needed for a deepwater sea port: flat and expansive, with a deep drop off into deeper waters. It was this one large project which drove the creation of the SMA, created to protect what was then, and still is today, considered the "most valuable and fragile of its natural resources and that there is great concern throughout the state relating to their utilization, protection, restoration, and preservation." How ironic that now it is the shellfish industry who is posing the greatest threat to the marine ecosystem, not through one large project, but with many incremental and cumulatively significant projects.

Get involved. The shellfish industry is and they are not what they were when the Shoreline Management Act was created. A permit process as important as this should not occur during the Christmas planning period. Request Thurston County extend the comment period to January 16 and they deny this permit.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Xerces Society Submits Comments to DOE on Pesticide Spraying in Willapa Bay

(From https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline)

The Xerces Society submits comments on the Department of Ecology's proposal to apply the pesticide imidacloprid in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, a proposal driven by the shellfish industry.
See comment letter here: https://app.box.com/s/566kfjrrab8...n2ney9tlb
Just another native "pest" to the shellfish industry. 

In comments sent to the Department of Ecology, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (supported by other numerous groups - see below) notes it has "...substantial concerns about the plan set forth in the draft permit and draft EIS" DOE has proposed which address the application of imidacloprid on shellfish farms in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Its purpose would be to eliminate the native burrowing shrimp which shellfish growers claim make sediments too soft to grow shellfish on. Its action would result in far more damage.
 Let them eat cake. Somewhere else.
Among the concerns is "...the significant risk imidacloprid presents to aquatic invertebrates..." which, in turn, "...can also cause a cascading trophic effect, harming fish, birds, and other organisms that rely on them for sustenance." Of special concern noted is the fact that Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor "...are among the most important migratory bird stopover sites on the west coast."

The letter goes on to detail the concerns over neonictinoid insecticides, which imidacloprid is, being applied to critical marine ecosystems of Washington. It clearly defines why it is premature to grant a permit and states clearly that DOE has not provided a "..structure for a robust integrated pest management program."

In its conclusion it states: "Ecology has not adequately justified the use of imidacloprid, especially not the expanded acreage currently proposed."

The letter is supported by the Audubon Washington, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat, Friends of the Earth, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

Citizens need to make clear to agencies the shellfish industry today is not what it was when the Shoreline Management Act was created in the early 1970's. It can no longer say it is a "preferred use" and simply do as it pleases. Get involved. The shellfish industry is, and has been for too long.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat Submits Comments on DNR's Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan

Comments are due today, December 4
Make a difference - get involved.

Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat provides in depth comments on DNR's Habitat Conservation Plan. We encourage you to submit an email stating your support for these comments, which includes managing the subtidal aquatic lands for all of the state's citizens and tribal members.
Email your support to:

See comment paper here:
Attachments referenced in comment paper are found here:

Make a difference in how the future of Washington's aquatic lands are managed. Contributions to the Coalition, a non-profit 501c3 are tax deductible. 

Mail contributions to:
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat
PO Box 228
Vaughn, WA 98394-0228.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DNR Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan: Comments Due December 4

Comments due December 4
Tell DNR to manage the state's subtidal
aquatic lands for the benefit of everyone,
not just a few corporations
selling geoduck to China.

Comments on Washington's Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) are due December 4. They can be emailed to WFWOComments@fws.gov. In the subject line of the email, please include the identifier: WDNR Aquatic Lands HCP DEIS.

Details are found on DNR's site here:

4 million pounds of geoduck per year are "clearcut" from Washington's subtidal area
There are many facets to managing the state's aquatic lands, but as it relates to geoducks and the subtidal areas, it is not being "managed." It is simply extracting 4 million pounds of geoduck each year and hoping the "clearcut" subtidal areas will naturally recruit, and perhaps in 40 years a new "crop" will be ready to harvest.
Clear cutting is not managing
Unlike state and private forest lands, there is no requirement to replant geoduck after harvesting the subtidal areas. On forestlands, DNR does not wait for seeds to slowly spread over lands clearcut, they require operators and land owners to replant them. By managing the forests in this manner crop rotation is shortened dramatically. Trees are available to begin harvesting in as little as 25 years, not 70 plus years. It is called management, something DNR's aquatic division is lacking.
40 years from now Puget Sound's waters will not be the same
To wait 40 years is short sighted and misguided, benefiting in the short term a few shellfish companies who are forcing geoduck into the intertidal areas in unnatural densities, excluding other species. Predator nets further exclude species who had relied on these intertidal areas as a food source. Limiting supply by waiting 40 years is not in the statewide interest and DNR needs to be told so. 40 years from now Puget Sound's waters will be far different than they are now and DNR needs to recognize that.
If you can do this  you can replant
To see a subtidal harvest, you may view this clip on YouTube (harvesting starts ~6 minutes):
If you can do this you can replant.
Get involved - the shellfish industry is 
Tell Washington's Department of Natural Resources it is time to manage the state's aquatic lands like the forest lands and force the subtidal tracks being "clearcut" of 4 million pounds of geoduck annually to be replanted instead of waiting 40+ years for recruitment. If divers are able to harvest geoduck they can replant them, in the areas they grow naturally, instead of forcing them into the intertidal area with PVC pipes and nets. As practiced now it's not management, it's extraction. Tell them it's time to act in the state's interest, not for the benefit of a few shellfish companies.

From DNR's website: 
How can I comment on the proposed Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan?
Send written comments to: Tim Romanski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102, Lacey, Washington 98503; OR Scott Anderson, NOAA Fisheries, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 103, Lacey, Washington 98503. Comments also may be submitted by e-mail, to WFWOComments@fws.gov. In the subject line of the email, please include the identifier: WDNR Aquatic Lands HCP DEIS.
All comments must be received no later than December 4, 2014.

Monday, December 1, 2014

(Update 12/4: Case Dropped) Tomales Bay Oyster Company: “This case is dead in the water.”

Update 12/4: The Tomales Bay Oyster Company and friends have dropped their case. Unknown is where the near $20,000 raised on indiegogo and other donations solicited by Sarah Rolph from Carlisle, MA will end up. Donors may want to ask. (see Press Democrat for article)

"Like a tenant suing a landlord
over the eviction of another tenant
from the same building."
Press Democrat, November 30, 2014
The Press Democrat writes about the final lawsuit being played out in court over the closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Company in California. In that case, filed by Tomales Bay Oyster Company and others, the government has moved for dismissal as Drakes Bay Oyster Company has agreed to cease operating in the Phillip Burton Wilderness Area on December 31. That dismissal hearing, should it occur, will be held February 10.
The article notes Heather Bussing, an Occidental attorney and Empire College of Law instructor, saying the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would be obligated to hear an appeal of the Government's moving to dismiss the case in Superior Court. However, as it also notes, because DBOC has signed a settlement agreement it is the equivalent of a tenant suing a landlord over the eviction of another tenant from the same building, a tenant who has agreed to the terms of eviction. She is quoted in the article as saying: "This case is dead in the water."
Stuart Gross, the attorney for Tomales Bay Oyster Company and the others, sent an email stating that "...he was leaving for Hong Kong and could not comment." Mr. Gross was told by Superior Court's Judge Gonzales-Rogers she had considered filing sanctions against Mr. Gross for submitting a case for which there was a "complete lack of merit."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taylor Shellfish: Further Negotiations Would not Be Fruitful, Refuses County Monitoring Plan

What is Taylor Shellfish worried monitoring of their proposed 58 raft mussel farm will reveal?

(From https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline)

Taylor Shellfish Refuses Thurston County Monitoring Plan for Mussel Rafts: It's called Puget Sound, not Taylor Shellfish Sound, and it is "...the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources..." (RCW 90.58.020, Shoreline Management Act) What is Taylor Shellfish afraid of?

Taylor Shellfish has complained about the time it has taken to obtain a permit for a 58 raft mussel farm near the mouth of Totten Inlet. Now that the permit has been approved, Taylor Shellfish has refused to agree to a monitoring plan which would ensure its operation would not adversely impact the marine habitat.
Read letter from Taylor Shellfish's attorney here:

Initially the hearing examiner for Thurston County said a cumulative impacts analysis would be required. Taylor Shellfish appealed to Thurston County who denied the appeal. Taylor Shellfish then appealed to the Shorelines Hearings Board who reversed the denial but required a monitoring plan, developed by Thurston County, as part of the approval. The permit approval was appealed by APHETI to Superior Court but lost that appeal. Taylor Shellfish did not appeal the monitoring requirement then. They now refuse to agree to the monitoring plan required by the Shorelines Hearings Board.
Read SHB decision here (monitoring Taylor refuses is on p.33):

Taylor Shellfish continues to believe it may do as it pleases when it pleases wherever it pleases in Puget Sound. The reality of Taylor Shellfish and others who hide behind them is clear: deep pockets from extracting geoduck from Puget Sound's marine habitat for the Chinese affords them the luxury of hiring attorneys to file appeal after appeal, hoping they will wear down those less fortunate than them, allowing them to proceed headlong in achieving their vision of Puget Sound being nothing more than a shellfish "factory" for their family's corporation to grow wealthy from. At the expense of what citizens of Washington consider "...the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources..." (RCW 90.58.020, Shoreline Management Act)

Get involved. Tell Thurston County you support their requirement of monitoring. Tell Governor Inslee he is on the wrong side of protecting what the Shoreline Management Act is intended to protect, for everyone: the treasure Puget Sound's marine habitat provides for everyone, not just Taylor Shellfish and their family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Burley Lagoon: Demand Letters Sent to Pierce County and Washington State Attorney General From Coalition Attorney

If you ignore them they will not go away,
they will only become more focused.
 In the beginning:
"The purpose of this letter is to request that the Pierce County government [and Washington Attorney General] take action to strictly enforce current Pierce County regulations which prohibit any aquaculture activities on the shorelines of the State without a valid permit, and to impose the appropriate penalties that both State laws and Pierce County -regulations require, including prosecution of responsible Taylor Shellfish Company and/or its employees for a criminal misdemeanor pursuant to RCW 90.58.212." November 18, 2014 letter to Pierce County and Washington's Attorney General from Mr. Tienson

Demands for action will not go away
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, Friends of Burley Lagoon, and concerned individuals have had their attorney send letters to the Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist, and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy  demanding action be taken against Taylor Shellfish's unauthorized and unpermitted activities which have been occurring in Burley Lagoon since April of 2012. The letters were written by attorney Thane Tienson, with the law firm of Landeye Bennett Blumstein in Portland, Oregon, and detail how Pierce County has turned a blind eye to citizens' complaints about Taylor Shellfish greatly expanding operations within Burley Lagoon. (attachments referenced in the letters above are found here; individual letters are found by clicking on links above)
You wouldn't question grandfather would you?
When Pierce County was asked to produce permits which allowed Taylor Shellfish to expand activities within Burley Lagoon, Pierce County responded: "There are no formal permits to produce as this has been a use that has been grandfathered." For reasons detailed in the demand letters, Mr. Tienson states: "Only the first portion of this statement from PALS is supported by the facts..." (no permits). All Pierce County has on record of something being "grandfathered" is a 1988 letter written to tideland owner Mr. Yamashita (Western Oyster Company) which described "floating oyster culture." However, the letter also states: "should Western Oyster wish to expand the operation in Burley Lagoon, Pierce County will require the obtaining of all shoreline permits and approvals."
Just because your car had a current license when you parked it in a garage 5 years ago doesn't mean it's current now.
In December of 2007 Western Oyster stopped reporting any shellfish harvests to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, something it had done on a regular monthly basis between 1986 and December of 2007, after which nothing harvested from Burley Lagoon was reported until 2012, then by Taylor Shellfish. Washington law is clear in requiring shellfish growers to report their harvests, including registered farm numbers, names of shellfish harvested, and the amounts harvested. Mr. Tienson also notes Washington and County regulations are clear in stating if a "nonconforming use activity ceases for more than one year, any restarting of that activity requires issuance of a new permit under any new rules that thereafter were adopted (WAC 173-27-080; PCC 20.72.060)." Western Oyster ceased reporting any harvests after 2007. Taylor Shellfish cannot, 5 years later, start up a nonconforming activity without permits.
He waved his arm and said this is what you are buying. Oops, he didn't own it to sell.
When Taylor Shellfish was found to be growing geoduck on state tidelands in Totten Inlet which it didn't own, they claimed the seller of the tidelands told them it was theirs to sell. This excuse was dismissed by the Attorney General. Likewise, Taylor Shellfish cannot now claim they were an "innocent purchaser" under PCC 18.140.023(D) when they began leasing tidelands in Burley Lagoon.
We're just making it disappear or look different, so we don't need a permit.
Part of Taylor Shellfish's unpermitted operations in Burley Lagoon included dismantling many of the >45,000 square feet of floats in Burley Lagoon and replacing a minor amount. Taylor Shellfish did not have the luxury of simply telling Pierce County it was "still within the footprint and use of the historical exemptions." As Mr. Tienson's letter shows with clarity, any exemption which may have existed ended long ago. Pierce County chose not to act, despite citizen complaints of unpermitted activities.
Pierce County's gumshoe investigation, without shoes (or gum?).
In June of 2014, Pierce County concluded its investigation of complaints from citizens about Taylor Shellfish's unpermitted activities in Burley Lagoon. At its foundation lay the belief that Taylor Shellfish was already authorized to be in the Lagoon. Had the investigator put on his shoes and taken a walk he would have discovered, for reasons detailed in Mr. Tienson's letter, that Taylor Shellfish had no authorization, permits, nor use rights of any nature to be operating as they were and still are.
In the end
In summation, Mr. Tienson ends with this closure:
"In sum, Taylor Shellfish has no authorization or valid permits of any sort which would authorize it to be in Burley Lagoon for any reason, let alone for a large industrial-scale commercial geoduck farm. Pierce County Code and Washington State laws demand that its unlawful operations and activities be halted immediately, that it be required to remove its equipment and materials and floats from the Lagoon, and allow the Lagoon to begin the slow process of recovering to its original condition. Costs for the Lagoon's recovery should be borne by Taylor Shellfish, as required by PCC 18.140.050(G).
"Finally, since Taylor Shellfish is in violation of several provisions of State and County law. We also request that any evaluation activity by PALS personnel on Taylor Shellfish's geoduck permit application that is currently under review be halted immediately."
It is called Puget Sound, not Taylor Shellfish Sound for a reason
Puget Sound is a treasure providing habitat for a diversity of species, some found only in the northwest. It was not meant to be a habitat for a few large companies to transform, used to create a treasure chest for themselves.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Non-native Pacific Oyster Hatcheries' New Problem - For Now

The progression of blame for
non-native Pacific oyster hatchery problems:
Vibrio Tubiashi>Ocean Acidification>Vibrio coralliilyticus>?
Old bacteria, newest blame
Vibrio coralliilyticus
(from 2003 study in Applied and
So many Vibrio to choose from
Shellfish hatcheries in the northwest trying to grow non-native Pacific oysters now have a new source of their trouble to point their fingers at: Vibrio coralliilyticus (Vc). In the years past, the bacterium Vibrio tubiashi (Vt) was believed to have been the source of hatchery die-offs, but Oregon State University now says there was a mis-identification. In a press release today, OSU states Vc is "the primary offender in bacterial attacks on Pacific Northwest oyster larvae."
Far more widespread and the primary offender
In announcing the mis-identification, OSU noted Vc is not only "...far more widespread than previously believed, but that it can infect a variety of fish, shellfish and oysters, including rainbow trout and larval brine shrimp. And it appears to be the primary offender in bacterial attacks on Pacific Northwest oyster larvae."
Sometimes a non-native species just
shouldn't be where we want it to be.
One piece of the puzzle about why non-native oyster hatcheries have a problem
Trying to grow the non-native Pacific oyster from Japan in the colder waters of Puget Sound has always been a challenge for the shellfish industry. Large sums of taxpayer money has been spent to overcome one perceived problem after another. Genetically modifying the species so they become sterile only adds a level of stress to a species out of its normal environ. OSU notes there are multiple problems in saying:
In what's now understood to be a problem with multiple causes, these pathogenic bacteria were involved in major crashes of oyster hatcheries, causing shortages in seed oysters for commercial producers. Dramatic losses were suffered in a Netarts Bay, Oregon, hatchery in 2005, and Washington hatcheries were also hard hit. Bacterial infection, water acidity, oxygen depletion and rising seawater temperatures are all believed to have been part of the problem.
Something to consider is the problem lies not with the waters of Puget Sound and the northwest, but instead it's in trying to force a non-native species into Puget Sound and other areas of the northwest.