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:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat Appeals 4th Geoduck Permit

Contact: Laura Hendricks (253) 509-4987
Curt Puddicombe (206) 730-0288
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat has appealed the 4th Substantial Shoreline Development Permit (SSDP) issued for a geoduck farm in the intertidal area of Thurston County (see News Release following this post). While the Decision requires an "open record review" prior to replanting or in 7 years (whichever comes first) to consider cumulative impacts it did not require a cumulative impacts analysis prior to beginning operation. While the Hearing Examiner had clear authority to require one based on the number and types of farms which currently exist in Eld Inlet, as well as those currently proposed, she instead accepted studies of small discrete farms to create her opinion.

Existing Geoduck Farms
Eld Inlet, South of Xia Farm
Native American Billy Frank, who has long championed for salmon in Puget Sound, said in an editorial today: Salmon are in trouble because of lost and damaged habitat. [click here for complete editorial] Salmon are no longer the only wild species in trouble. All of the diverse species who have evolved to survive in the intertidal area are at risk from industrial shellfish farming's expansion.
To believe that studies which look at small discrete shellfish farms show there is no impact from large numbers of contiguous farms operating simultaneously is not correct. Industrial shellfish farming, geoducks and otherwise, is not the "benign" activity of the past. "Predator nets" covering thousands of square feet disrupt habitats and the flow of species across them. Harvesting no longer occurs on one farm in isolation at slack tide but on multiple farms at the same time, both out of and under water, at any current speed. Geoduck planted in densities 10 times greater than wild densities extract from the waters calcifying agents needed by all species, including wild geoduck attempting to re-populate the large subtidal tracts being harvested. When shipped off to China, removed is any ability to return those agents to the waters of Puget Sound.
Puget Sound's intertidal habitat is being transformed by industrial aquaculture. Mr. Frank is absolutely right to be concerned, but he should not limit it to salmon. It is why growing numbers of citizens are contributing time and money to push back against the immense resources available to the shellfish industry who want only to expand their operations and profits at the expense of the future of Puget Sound's intertidal habitat.

News Release
February 4, 2013

NEWS RELEASE: Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat Appeals 4th Geoduck Aquaculture Permit To
Save Shoreline Wildlife

Contact: Laura Hendricks
(253) 509-4987
Curt Puddicombe (206) 730-0288

The Coalition has appealed the 4th Thurston County geoduck aquaculture permit where over 60% of Eld Inlet shorelines have already been converted to industrial aquaculture. With habitat alteration being cited as a primary cause for the decline in salmon populations, citizens are calling for a cumulative impact analysis prior to additional permits being issued. Public records reveal that Governor Gregoire's Shellfish Initiative is being used as a lobbying tool by the shellfish industry to push state agencies and counties to minimize conservation priorities and to ignore citizen's right to safely use the shorelines.

Terrance McCarthy, the Pierce County Hearing Examiner in the 2008 Taylor Shellfish/Foss geoduck appeal supported the Coalition's position when he stated in his decision that:

“According to Megan N. Dethier, PHD, University of Washington, the harvest of geoducks from high density aquaculture beds will involve near total liquefaction of the sediment of at least 50cm. While organisms in the intertidal zone are adapted to small scale disturbance (from waves, ghost shrimp, crab pits, etc) the large scale physical disturbance is not part of the environment’s evolutionary history.”

“During high tide the tubes and net obstruct the use of shallow water of Puget Sound by watercraft, such as kayaks, canoes, shallow draft motorboats, intertubes and fishermen. The tubes and nets also obstruct use by windsurfers, divers and fishers. The obstructive nature of operations increases during planting and harvesting when barges, workers, hoses and other equipment are present.”

A Coalition member, APHETI, recently was successful in the Thurston County Hearing Examiner and County Commissioner decision that denied the Taylor Shellfish expansion of 58 (30 x 30 ft) mussel rafts in Totten Inlet. Another member, Case Inlet Shoreline Association, was successful in their 2012 Longbranch Shoreline Hearings Board geoduck decision that required protections for forage fish spawning habitat

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