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:
Legislative and Congressional contacts:

Additional information
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Taylor Shellfish Mussel Farm Permit Denied, As Taylor Requested?

The Thurston County Hearing Examiner has denied Taylor Shellfish's shoreline substantial development permit for a 58 raft mussel farm in Totten Inlet. In the initial decision it was stated that cumulative impacts were not adequately considered. [click here for denial]
[click here for initial determination]

When given the opportunity to provide evidence showing cumulative impacts were not significant Taylor Shellfish's attorneys advised them to ask the Hearing Examiner to deny the permit. Perhaps a first, where an applicant applies then says "please deny me."

Look a little deeper and you may find
something they don't want you to see.

Why would Taylor Shellfish ask for a denial? It's certainly not the expense incurred in an appeal of a denial. The shellfish corporations are generating immense profits from geoduck farming with little in the way of expenses and virtually nothing in the form of taxes to the State and Counties. For example, on the 1.8 acres of State owned tidelands Taylor Shellfish was found to be trespassing on an estimated net profit (after expenses) of over $1.5 million will be generated. In an appeal, the legal expenses, fees paid to scientists to create favorable studies, and the expense of hiring public relations firms to create favorable public perceptions all help to reduce Federal taxable income. Property taxes paid for geoduck acreage is virtually non-existent (e.g., in Mason County, 15 acres owned by Taylor Shellfish in Hammersley Inlet from which tens of thousands of pounds of geoduck are harvested from, is charged $16 in property tax) and as most are exported, there is no sales tax revenue generated.

Representation without Taxation

Given the immense profits Taylor Shellfish is generating and the deductible nature of the expenses to appeal, it is more likely that Taylor Shellfish is simply playing a poker game. They are telling citizens and counties who are concerned about the expansion of corporate shellfish farming, "I can afford to appeal this forever. Can you?"

Alternatively, it may very well be they are simply stalling the process. Why? Most likely is they are simply waiting for their political influence to work its way through the updating of county shoreline master plans, a process both Mason County and Thurston County are currently involved in.

Specific to this proposal, Totten Inlet is not all regulated by Thurston County. It is split, with the western half controlled by Mason County. Currently, Mason County is in the process of updating their Shoreline Master Program which Taylor Shellfish has been directly involved in. Seattle Shellfish's Steve Bloomfield is a Mason County Commissioner as is longtime shellfish farm owner Commissioner Tim Sheldon. At a recent presentation, Mason County stated that the conditional use permit for mussel rafts is being "streamlined."

Corporate shellfish farmers are directly involved in shaping the regulations impacting the future of Puget Sound. As Jim Gibbons with Seattle Shellfish extolled to state legislators, Spain is growing 600 million pounds of mussels each year in an area the size of south Puget Sound (south of the Tacoma Narrows). This is equivalent to 24,000 mussel rafts in south Puget Sound. This is his "vision" and the vision of corporate shellfish companies for the future of Puget Sound. Should cumulative impacts be considered? Taylor Shellfish thinks not, for obvious reasons. You should.

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