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, July 24, 2014

Shellfish Safety: Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Closes Carr Inlet to Harvesting of All Shellfish

Tacoma-Pierce Health Department has announced the Department of Health has closed Carr Inlet to all harvesting of shellfish due to elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. PSP toxins were one of the reasons China banned the import of shellfish from the West Coast. PSP toxins cannot be made safe by cooking.

Information on recreational harvesting may be found on a new Department of Health interactive map on their Shellfish Safety Information website. To be automatically notified by TPHD when a food safety or health event occurs, you may register on their web site, found by clicking here.

Recreational Harvesting Information
(interactive map image from DOH website)
(click to enlarge)
Note: Commercial and recreational harvest alerts may be different. For example, DOH recommends all shellfish harvested recreationally from June to September be cooked thoroughly in order to avoid vibriosis. Commercial harvesters must stop harvesting all together when levels or illnesses in a growing area reach pre-determined levels.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: KWMR Reports Red Tide Halts Harvesting of Oysters in Drakes Estero

Drakes Bay Oyster Harvesting Closed Due to Red Tide

Robin Carpenter with KWMR reported on 7/23 that red tide has halted harvesting of oyster from Drakes Estero. Linda Peterson with West Marin Citizen newspaper confirmed she had heard harvesting was halted on July 14. Robin Carpenter was told by Drakes Bay Oyster Company that harvesting had stopped and not resumed. The California Department of Health confirmed the harvest closure in Drakes Estero was in effect.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: New Underwater Video of Drakes Estero

It's time to dispel the myth that
Drakes Bay Oyster Company
has been a "good steward"
of Drakes Estero's marine environment.
Is this really good stewardship?
screenshot from Coastodian.org video

A new underwater video from the Coastodian.org continues to put in question whether Drakes Bay Oyster Company's claims to being a "good steward" of Drakes Estero, part of the Philip Burton Wilderness area, are based in fact or public relations. The 7 minute video is part of a post dated July 22. The video should leave no doubt that the "good steward" tag line is a PR firm's fantasy.

More tubes from Drakes Bay Oyster Company
on the bottom of Drakes Estero.
They don't float - out of site, out of mind.
"It's natural." Non-native oysters it grows on
in Drakes Estero aren't.
Treated lumber from racks
"They're not my racks." Kevin Lunny
How convenient.
DBOC: a “deep respect for the land and waters of the Estero ecostystem”.
The Coastodian: Just imagine what the place would look like if some company without such strong morals had been running the show…..

Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Perspective on Oyster Production

Update 7/24: TBOC has the acreage to grow more oysters. Employees from DBOC will be looking for work. Hatchery equipment from DBOC they use to produce oysters for planting will available to relocate. 
The company leases enough acreage in the bay to cultivate more oysters. But Tod Friend, an owner of T.B.O.C., told the Light that ocean acidification has made it virtually impossible to buy more seed. “Theoretically, we could grow all the oysters we need to supply our customers, but it’s a seed problem. We can’t get enough seed from hatcheries in the Northwest to fuel our need,” Mr. Friend said. (Point Reyes Light, 7/24/14)
The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm produces its own shellfish seed by performing remote setting on-farm. This advanced hatchery technique allows the farm to curtail the purchasing of seed (small shellfish) from producers in other waters (from DBOC web site)
The Point Reyes Light has published an article today in which TBOC notes it has additional acreage to produce more oysters. Their problem is one of sourcing seed. Less than 6 miles away (as the crow flies) are employees and equipment available to move which will increase TBOC's production.

Running a business is never easy. When public relations firms, attorneys and conservative land use groups begin to direct business strategies it becomes more difficult. It's time for the California shellfish industry to run a business, not be played as pawns in a greater game.

A 1 Acre Perspective for Tomales Bay Oyster Company
prior proper planning prevents poor performance

In the papers filed by TBOC it notes they purchase between 6,000 and 15,000 oysters per week from DBOC. For perspective, this is equivalent to what one acre of tidelands produces. In a paper discussing the use of grow-out bags for oysters (Subtidal Cultivation of the American Oyster) a low end estimate of 2,600 bags per acre will produce 585,000 oysters, or an average of 11,250 oysters per week. How many acres are lying fallow in Tomales Bay? Of course, it will take some time for oysters to grow, but then we fall back to what prior proper planning would have prevented.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tomales Bay Oyster Company Sues over Drake Bay Oyster Company Closing

Update 7/22: A 1 Acre perspective for Tomales Bay Oyster Company - In the papers filed by TBOC it notes they purchase between 6,000 and 15,000 oysters per week from DBOC. For perspective, this is equivalent to what one acre of tidelands produces. In a paper discussing the use of grow-out bags for oysters (Subtidal Cultivation of the American Oyster) a low end estimate of 2,600 bags per acre will produce 585,000 oysters, or an average of 11,250 oysters per week. How many acres are lying fallow in Tomales Bay? Of course it will take some time for oysters to grow, but then we fall back to what prior proper planning would have prevented.
One more attorney added to the mix
Tomales Bay Oyster Company's Tod Friend and others have filed another lawsuit over Drakes Bay Oyster Company's closure. TBOC and others claim the loss of DBOC oysters will cause them harm and the Philip Burton Wilderness is less important than their financial well being. Could a little bit of planning made a difference?
TBOC owner Tod Friend
removing derelict shellfish gear
on unused tideland lease holding.
(picture from Coastodian.org)
Purchasing a business with eyes wide open
In 2009 Tod Friend purchased Tomales Bay Oyster Company from Drew Alden. At the time, the fact that Drakes Bay Oyster Company would likely not have its lease renewed in November of 2012 was a well known fact. That Tomales Bay Oyster Company may likely lose one its primary suppliers in November of 2012, was a well known fact. Knowing these facts, Mr. Friend chose to go ahead and purchase this operation, with that risk well known, giving him three years to plan for that likelihood.
Wouldn't a bit of planning helped?
(picture from Coastodian.org)
How was I to know?
Now, in July of 2014, over five years after the fact, TBOC declares their business is now at risk of losing $250,000 to $400,000 and has decided to sue the government. Five years, during which any business owner should have been planning on alternative suppliers. Or expanding their own operations. 
3,000 poles removed, thousands more to go
(picture from Coastodian.org)
What about those unused tidelands? Better late than never.
It may be TBOC did in fact know the risk was real and had been planning on an alternative. Recently, the Coastodian.org published a series of articles on the abandoned shellfish gear in Tomales Bay. Included in those articles were pieces focused on areas leased by TBOC but apparently abandoned, lying fallow. Following the articles, TBOC has now begun removing the derelict gear, most probably to put the tidelands back into production.
Do I need a permit to remove this?
(picture from Coastodian.org)
No permits needed to remove shellfish racks - I guess
Forging ahead TBOC has begun the removal of the derelict racks and gear on their leased tidelands. While the recently filed lawsuit TBOC is party to expresses concern over what role the California Coastal Commission should be playing, in this case the belief is the oyster rack removal should be of no concern to the Coastal Commission.
The price of success
Now, about that parking - or maybe not.
At some point TBOC will have their supply back to normal levels, if not above. It will be without DBOC. Business will be better, and following a typical business model, that demand will allow for higher profit margins. With those profits TBOC may choose to expand their parking and retail outlet, increasing further their profits. It may be DBOC employees would even be interested in employment. Then again, the shellfish industry doesn't always do things the way a normal business might. It's an industry attorneys love.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vibrio Bacteria Levels Continue to Climb - Hammersley/Totten Inlets Closed to Commercial Harvesting of Oysters

Update 7/21: Vibrio levels continue to climb and expand. The Department of Health has announced that testing for Vibrio levels has closed most of Hood Canal to commercial shellfish harvesting of oysters. This is now in addition to Hammersley and Totten Inlets. Oakland Bay's level of Vibrio was just below the 10,000 mpn level and remains open to harvesting.
Washington shellfish growing areas
closed to commercial harvesting of oysters
as of July 19.
Closed to commercial shellfish harvesting of oysters
Low tides and warm temperatures = warmer water
Following low tides and warm weather Washington's Department of Health testing found Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) exceeded safe levels and has closed Hammersley Inlet and Totten Inlet to commercial harvesting of oysters. Hammersley Inlet testing found levels of 110,000 mpn (most probable number). Totten Inlet testing found levels of 15,000 mpn. Last week similar levels were found in southern Hood Canal which resulted in that area also being closed. Levels above 10,000 mpn result in an automatic closure.
Bacterial blooms
Vp is a naturally occurring bacteria which oysters filter from the waters of Puget Sound and retain internally. When the waters of Puget Sound increase in temperature and tides are low during warmer summer days Vp blooms to a level oysters become unsafe to eat.
2013 Reported Cases from Atlantic States
(from CDC, April 18, 2014)
Past reported cases:
2011 - 6; 2012 - 52; 2013 - 104
(from CDC, October 21, 2013)
East Coast and West Coast Effected
In the past it was felt the bacteria was primarily a northwest shellfish problem but last year demonstrated that shellfish growing areas on the east coast now also face the same problem. Illnesses from east coast oysters increased to such a level last year that Massachusetts and Connecticut both issued recalls for oysters harvested from those states. An April 18, 2014, Center for Disease Control (CDC) paper noted:
In the United States, Vp causes an estimated 35,000 domestically acquired foodborne infections annually (1), of which most are attributable to consumption of raw or undercooked shellfish.
Learn how to minimize risk

Enjoy life, minimize risk
Life has risks in all we do. Knowing how to minimize those risks will allow you to enjoy life. Visit Washington's DOH "Illness Prevention" website for more information on shellfish safety.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Update Meeting: July 21, 1:30

When - Monday, July 21
Where - County-City Building, Room 1045, 930 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma
What - Discussion of additional amendments to Pierce County's Shoreline Master Program update.

Onwards and upwards
Following a series of meetings at which Pierce County was challenged by shoreline owners and the conservative land use group "Freedom Foundation"  who felt a "taking" was occurring through proposed shoreline regulations,  Pierce County cancelled scheduled public meetings about their Shoreline Master Program update. The County felt there were too many pressures to deal with and amendments to address them could not be developed within the proposed schedule.

July 21, 24 amendments - let's try again
 The Community Development Committee has now re-scheduled a meeting for July 21 to discuss newly proposed amendments and presumably those proposed earlier. No voting will occur but comments will be accepted. The County web site currently lists 24 amendments. Previous public meetings which had been scheduled in the evening throughout the county in early evening times, more convenient for citizens to participate in, were canceled. The current meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 21, at 1:30PM.

Aquaculture - better hurry up and get them permitted now
Of the amendments listed there are X specifically noted as being related to aquaculture. Number 23 addresses monitoring. Number 21 would incorporate all aquaculture related amendments that were approved prior to consideration of Ordinance 2013-45s. Number 10, among other things, prohibits the use of pesticides in shellfish cultivation. Number 9 expands on the requirements for cumulative impacts analysis, including when they proposal takes place within an enclosed body of water (e.g. Burley Lagoon). Number 8 extends the non-conforming discontinued use period to three years from two.

Number 22: rights of the people
Included in the amendments is one introduced by Republican Jim McCune which states:
No person shall be deprived of property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 
It is unclear whether the perspective that the rights of the people should include the right to expect that the shorelines of Washington will be protected as the Shoreline Management Act provides and for which the counties are responsible.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bloom of Vibrio Bacteria Closes Southern Hood Canal to Commercial Shellfish Harvesting of Oysters

Rising Vibrio levels close portions of Hood Canal to commercial harvesting of oysters
Washington's Department of Health has announced that it has closed the southern part of Hood Canal to the commercial harvesting of oysters. Testing for the naturally occurring bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus reached levels which require a mandatory closure until levels drop.

10,000 and above in growing areas 6, 7 and 8
Testing of waters from July 9th showed levels ranging from 110,000 to 15,000. Areas approaching the 10,000 closure number included Dabob Bay (6,400) and Denotas (9,300). It is expected that with the warm weather and low tides of last weekend levels of Vp will continue to increase.

"vibrio infections or vibriosis from uncooked seafood like raw oysters and sushi have become much more widespread" (Seattle PI, July 9)
In addition to testing for levels of Vp automatic closures of areas also occur when reported cases of vibriosis are traced back to specific growing areas. Currently, shellfish growers are trying to prevent the ongoing increase in reported cases which has been occurring and which the Center for Disease Control has expressed concern over. Steps range from shortening the time a harvested oyster is cooled to banning commercial harvesting entirely.

Life is not always safe - but don't stay inside
Life has many risks and contracting a disease is only one of them. Take precautions when eating seafood in the summer time. The Department of Health recommends not eating raw oysters and cooking them until they reach 145 degrees. They warn that a shell opening is not a sign they are safe to eat. (see DOH "Safe Practices" for more).

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Minus Tides, Warm Weather and a Full Moon - A rare opportunity to...

...find out why the Shoreline Management Act says:
"the shorelines of the state are among the most valuable
 and fragile of its natural resources"
Friends of Burley Lagoon have announced an opportunity to explore the low minus tides and warm temperatures this weekend. The minus tides will occur near noon on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. In between you can experience a rare "supermoon" rising in the east as the sun sets in the west. 
Time - 10AM to 1:30PM
Location -  1502 Lucille Parkway NW, Gig Harbor (Narrows Park)
This is sponsored in part by Harbor Wildwatch in Gig Harbor, will take place at Narrows Park in Gig Harbor, just off of the Narrows Bridge. Experts in the intertidal marine life will be on hand to help identify species and habitat important to all of Puget Sound.
Saturday and Sunday
An unorganized opportunity near Burley Lagoon is available at the boat ramp West of Purdy near where Highway 302 and Goldman Drive NW intersect. Parking is limited so plan ahead.
Supermoon Saturday - 9PM
Near 9PM, if skies are clear, look to the East and see why tonight's moon rise is being called "Super moon Saturday". It is one of three which will occur this year, tonight's being described as looking "30% brighter and 14% closer." For a video on why the "Perigee moon"  appears as it does, see a short video on Space.com.
Get out and experience the natural world. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Drakes Estero: Take Time to Thank Congress for Creating the Philip Burton Wilderness

Drakes Estero, the heart of the Philip Burton Wilderness
A contiguous marine wilderness - at last.

Send Congress a thank you for creating the Philip Burton Wilderness - for generations to come
After a long and at times contentious 19 months, the Supreme Court's decision will allow Drakes Estero, the final piece of the Philip Burton Wilderness area, to become part of the contiguous marine wilderness Congress created. You can copy the message below, or write in your own words the appreciation you, and future generations have. (see below how to contact your representative)

"Honorable XXXXXX: I want to say thank you for Congress creating the Philip Burton Wilderness in California. This marine wilderness, which Drakes Estero is the heart of, will live on for future generations to enjoy. Thank you. [xxx your name]"

How to contact your congressional representative to say "thanks"
You can find your congressional contact information here:
There, you may either enter your address information or click on your state and the representative contact information will show up.

Especially those in California
For those in California, most impacted by this contiguous marine wilderness, should take the time to say "thank you" for creation of this incredible wilderness which will be enjoyed for generations to come. Listed below are the congressional districts and representatives from California. Take time to click on the name and fill out the form. You can copy the message below, or simply write your own.
(Click on the name, then "Contact", then "email". Note: You must live in the congressional district to email the congressman/woman.)
1 LaMalfa, Doug R506 CHOB202-225-3076Agriculture
Natural Resources
2 Huffman, Jared D1630 LHOB202-225-5161Natural Resources
the Budget
3 Garamendi, John D2438 RHOB202-225-1880Agriculture
Armed Services
4 McClintock, Tom R434 CHOB202-225-2511Natural Resources
the Budget
5 Thompson, Mike D231 CHOB202-225-3311Intelligence (Permanent)
Ways and Means
6 Matsui, Doris O. D2434 RHOB202-225-7163Energy and Commerce
7 Bera, Ami D1408 LHOB202-225-5716Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology
8 Cook, Paul R1222 LHOB202-225-5861Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Veterans’ Affairs
9 McNerney, Jerry D1210 LHOB202-225-1947Energy and Commerce
10 Denham, Jeff R1730 LHOB202-225-4540Agriculture
Veterans’ Affairs
11 Miller, George D2205 RHOB202-225-2095Education and the Workforce
12 Pelosi, Nancy D235 CHOB202-225-4965
13 Lee, Barbara D2267 RHOB202-225-2661Appropriations
the Budget
14 Speier, Jackie D211 CHOB202-225-3531Armed Services
Oversight and Government
15 Swalwell, Eric D501 CHOB202-225-5065Homeland Security
Science, Space, and Technology
16 Costa, Jim D1314 LHOB202-225-3341Agriculture
Natural Resources
17 Honda, Mike D1713 LHOB202-225-2631Appropriations
18 Eshoo, Anna G. D241 CHOB202-225-8104Energy and Commerce
19 Lofgren, Zoe D1401 LHOB202-225-3072House Administration
Joint Library
Science, Space, and Technology
the Judiciary
20 Farr, Sam D1126 LHOB202-225-2861Appropriations
21 Valadao, David R1004 LHOB202-225-4695Appropriations
22 Nunes, Devin R1013 LHOB202-225-2523Intelligence (Permanent)
Ways and Means
23 McCarthy, Kevin R2421 RHOB202-225-2915Financial Services
24 Capps, Lois D2231 RHOB202-225-3601Energy and Commerce
25 McKeon, Buck R2310 RHOB202-225-1956Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
26 Brownley, Julia D1019 LHOB202-225-5811Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs
27 Chu, Judy D1520 LHOB202-225-5464Small Business
the Judiciary
28 Schiff, Adam D2411 RHOB202-225-4176Appropriations
Intelligence (Permanent)
29 Cárdenas, Tony D1508 LHOB202-225-6131Natural Resources
Oversight and Government
the Budget
30 Sherman, Brad D2242 RHOB202-225-5911Financial Services
Foreign Affairs
31 Miller, Gary R2467 RHOB202-225-3201Financial Services
32 Napolitano, Grace D1610 LHOB202-225-5256Natural Resources
33 Waxman, Henry D2204 RHOB202-225-3976Energy and Commerce
34 Becerra, Xavier D1226 LHOB202-225-6235Ways and Means
35 Negrete McLeod, Gloria D1641 LHOB202-225-6161Agriculture
Veterans’ Affairs
36 Ruiz, Raul D1319 LHOB202-225-5330Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs
37 Bass, Karen D408 CHOB202-225-7084Foreign Affairs
the Judiciary
38 Sanchez, Linda D2423 RHOB202-225-6676Ethics
Ways and Means
39 Royce, Ed R2185 RHOB202-225-4111Financial Services
Foreign Affairs
40 Roybal-Allard, Lucille D2330 RHOB202-225-1766Appropriations
41 Takano, Mark D1507 LHOB202-225-2305Education and the Workforce
Veterans’ Affairs
42 Calvert, Ken R2269 RHOB202-225-1986Appropriations
the Budget
43 Waters, Maxine D2221 RHOB202-225-2201Financial Services
44 Hahn, Janice D404 CHOB202-225-8220Small Business
45 Campbell, John R2331 RHOB202-225-5611Financial Services
the Budget
46 Sanchez, Loretta D1114 LHOB202-225-2965Armed Services
Homeland Security
47 Lowenthal, Alan D515 CHOB202-225-7924Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources
48 Rohrabacher, Dana R2300 RHOB202-225-2415Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology
49 Issa, Darrell R2347 RHOB202-225-3906Oversight and Government
the Judiciary
50 Hunter, Duncan D. R223 CHOB202-225-5672Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
51 Vargas, Juan D1605 LHOB202-225-8045Agriculture
Foreign Affairs
House Administration
52 Peters, Scott D2410 RHOB202-225-0508Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology
53 Davis, Susan D1526 LHOB202-225-2040Armed Services
Education and the Workforce