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: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taylor Mussel Farm: Are Future Projects Contemplated?

Taylor Shellfish has submitted its response to the Thurston County Commissioners on why the Hearing Examiner's denial of a shoreline permit for their 58 raft mussel farm should be reversed. [read appeal papers here] (Note: It was Taylor Shellfish themselves who asked for this denial.) Their defence rests within a cloud of supposition, believing there are no future projects being contemplated. With the help of Governor Gregoire, they have shot themselves in the foot.


Symptomatic of "Romnesia" they have forgotten a key piece of evidence they submitted and fought to keep as part of the record at the hearing in support of this permit being granted: the Washington Shellfish Initiative. Its importance was reiterated in their initial appeal where they also pointed to the Shoreline Hearings Board's accepting it as fact and of significance.

That initiative is clear in its contemplation of future projects. As Taylor's appeal states, the initiative calls for "Expanding, promoting and improving shellfish aquaculture in Washington." They go further to note the Shoreline Hearings Board accepting it as evidence and belief in its importance, quoting them as saying aquaculture's importance is "emphasized by the Washington Shellfish Initiative..."

Taylor's Current Mussel Farm
Yield: ~800,000 pounds per year.
Jim Gibbons/Paul Taylor: Spain grows 600 million
pounds in an area the size of south Puget Sound.

Further evidence of "contemplation" focused specifically on mussel farms is found in testimony before the Senate Environment Committee by Jim Gibbons, owner of Seattle Shellfish. In that testimony he brings up a conversation he and Paul Taylor (co-owner of Taylor Shellfish) had while "on a ski lift." In that testimony Mr. Gibbons points out how Spain is growing over 600 million pounds of mussels in an area the size of south Puget Sound where "only" 20 million pounds of shellfish are grown. Taylor's proposal of 58 rafts would yield 1 million pounds. Contemplation of further projects is clearly established.
[click here for Seattle Shellfish testimony before the Senate Environment Committee]

Why is contemplation important? As Taylor's attorney notes, appellate and Shoreline Board cases note "important factors to consider in deciding whether to exercise the discretionary authority to evaluate cumulative impacts for a SDP application include, among other things, whether...similar projects in the area are pending or contemplated and whether such projects would be approved under applicable criteria."

The Washington Shellfish Initiative was created by the Governor to aid in the expansion of the shellfish industry. Part of that initiative is streamlining permits for additional projects. Mason County has already stated its intention to streamline mussel raft permits as part of its updated SMP. Evidence submitted in support of this mussel farm is being used to support current streamlining efforts. To believe projects similar to this are not being "contemplated" is naive. The Hearing Examiner was correct in denying this permit because cumulative impacts were not adequately analyzed, something the Commissioners will agree with.

What can you do if you care? Help support APHETI in their fight to help ensure Puget Sound's development considers cumulative impacts from shellfish aquaculture. [click here for APHETI's web site]

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