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:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Drakes Bay Oyster Company Told by California Coastal Commission to Cease and Desist

Drakes Estero

February 7 the California Coast Commission voted unanimously to approve the Cease and Desist Order and the Restoration Order requiring Drakes Bay Oyster Company to remove unpermitted facilities and to restore those areas impacted. The Hearing may be heard and seen by clicking here, scrolling down to the "February 7" meeting, and clicking on the "COMPLETE" button (note - you may have to "allow" the video to run). The DBOC portion starts at 2:09:30.

Unpermitted Developments

(paving, storage containers)
Additional information about the hearing (staff reports and other evidence) may be found by clicking here and scrolling down to item 11, Enforcement. Links are provided there for information but are very large files due to last minute papers submitted by the Lunny's attorney. Many of the latter were not admitted into the record due to their being submitted late. It was also felt the papers were irrelevant as most, if not all, pertained to the legal suit against the National Park Service. Some Commission members and staff were clearly upset with the last minute "document dump".

Unpermitted Shed
At issue was whether the Drakes Bay Oyster Company had applied for proper permits and if they had acted on a separate 2007 Cease and Desist Order. While Chairman Kinsey felt some sympathy for the Lunny family, the staff report showed clearly a company reluctant to act on unpermitted actions - for over 5 years. Fines and additional orders were issued which will allow Drakes Estero to be restored.

Restoration Includes Removal
of Racks and Bags
In addition to the unpermitted structures were non-native and invasive Manila clams which DBOC had been cultivating without a permit. As was pointed out, for almost 2 million clams to appear, in waters they were not permitted for, was one of the numerous actions (or inactions) considerd "egregious" by the staff.

The California Coast Commission and staff should be commended for acting directly and forcefully, if belatedly. As was pointed out, it was unheard of to allow a company to go for over 5 years without resolving an order. Despite attempts to frame the commercial shellfish activities occurring in Drakes Estero as being benign, the spread of non-native invasive Manila clams and non-native invasive tunicate Dedemnum vexillum was found to be more important. The risk of the Estero becoming a Chesapeake Bay if oyster's filtering was removed was soundly dismissed as being unsubstantiated.

Non-native Invasive Tunicate
Being Spread through DBOC Actions

DBOC's attorney pleading for more time because of the "circumstances" which they found themselves in was answered with them having had over 5 years. It was further pointed out that if it were so important to resolve the issue the attorney's law firm, who has been representing Mr. Lunny since 2007, had 38 attorneys and perhaps some could have been put onto this task. It was a very weak defense, weakened further in an attempt to claim that if the oysters were removed Drakes Estero would become a dead body of water.

While Drakes Estero is unique it is also representative of the shellfish industry's belief that they are somehow above regulations and permit requirements. It is a "cowboy in the tidelands" attitude which the sun is setting on.

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