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:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Representation without Taxation: Who is paying for what?

"The legislature declares that the interest of all of the people shall be paramount in the management of shorelines of statewide significance."
Shoreline Management Act

Send the county a "matrix" on how regulations are preventing us from becoming what we want.
Federal, county, state agencies, and taxpayers creating a regulatory framework to control the growing number of structures and developments on Puget Sound's tidelands supporting shellfish aquaculture have experienced first hand the immense amount of money being paid to attorneys to craft regulations in their favor. Every county has had their Shoreline Master Programs read through and commented on by shellfish attorneys. Most have received the famous "matrix" showing how proposed regulations are "hurting our expansion." In most cases a second matrix is sent, stressing that shellfish aquaculture is a "preferred use" if not "the" preferred use above all else.

Southern Half of Burley Lagoon
Taylor Shellfish's New Area of Operation

One of the reasons shellfish companies are able to afford the immense legal expenses for these attorney created matrices is that they pay virtually nothing in the form of taxes for those tidelands converted to shellfish aquaculture on which a variety of structures are placed. Adding even further to the minimal amount of money required to convert these natural tideland habitats to shellfish aquaculture are leases by shellfish companies which pay a minimal percentage of revenues to private tideland owners, even less to the state. So doing avoids the cost of purchase, and as minimal as they are, the property taxes.

Jim Jessernig, Shellfish Lobbyist:
Industry "adamantly opposed..."
to anythingwhich limits profits/expansion.

Small expense = large profits = attorneys/scientists/lobbyists/public relations
For a small expense large returns are gained and with those profits come a legion of attorneys, contract scientists, lobbyists, public relations firms, and donations to non-profits. All helping to convey the "message" that aquaculture is "water dependent" and a critical industry creating "family wage jobs" (described by Mr. Jessesrnig as taking place on tidelands at 2AM in the winter, during storms, which few if any taxpayers prefer) and were it not for the oysters and geoduck planted, Puget Sound would be Chesapeake Bay. Puget Sound is not Chesapeake Bay nor will it ever be. Why? Because, in large part, in 1972 Washington citizens, most born and raised here, passed the Shoreline Managment Act to prevent it from becoming so.

Puget Sound is not Chesapeake Bay, nor is Burley Lagoon.
Taxpayers are currently funding immense projects to be sure Puget Sound does not become Chesapeake Bay, and that Burley Lagoon will not become Chesapeake Bay. Burley Lagoon, however, is on its way to becoming something else: an industrial shellfish factory.

Southern Half of Burley Lagoon
Tideland Taxes Paid:Less than $400
Shoreline Property Taxes Paid: Over $120,000

"For nothing I may do as I please because I work with the tides."
Recently, Taylor Shellfish leased Burley Lagoon's tidelands from the Yamashita family, a multi-generation shellfish family. The current generation has chosen to become one level removed from the industry, in some cases selling off tidelands, in the case of Burley Lagoon, leasing the tidelands. With the latter, in place of Jerry Yamashita's passive shellfish operation has come a new level of industrial aquaculture with more on the way. Recently, Burley Lagoon's tranquility was broken by Taylor Shellfish's vessel arriving at 4AM and off-loading a variety of equipment onto an upland parcel within Burley Lagoon. Shellfish nurseries are being moved in while old raft structures are simply ignored and left to rot. Soon, a permit for a 30 acre geoduck farm will be submitted, the largest ever seen in Puget Sound.

Coming soon to Burey Lagoon
The shellfish industry is not what it was when the Shoreline Management Act was overwhelmingly passed by Washington voters in 1972. While it is still "water dependent" it is hardly "benign," and it most certainly was not meant to control the intent of the SMA. In fact, its current and evolving methods have become the very thing which the SMA was meant to control when it was passed overwhelmingly by Washington's citizens, and taxpayers - the fragmentation of Washington's shoreline ecosystems.

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