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 23, 2013

Seattle Shellfish - Going to the Bank

Revenues from geoduck
planted on trespassed state lands
slated to begin coming in.
February 13 the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) SEPA decision on a proposal by Seattle Shellfish to harvest geoduck from state lands they were found to be trespassing on in 2009. The determination will allow Seattle Shellfish to harvest a claimed 17,000 pounds (~11,000 geoduck) from a planted area which would normally be expected to produce >33,000 pounds, or >22,000 geoduck (>1 per square foot).*
Estimated gross: $238,000.
Comments are due by February 27.
(* For a comparison of acreage yields, in 2008 and 2009 Arcadia Point Seafood reported 68,000 pounds having been harvested from the Myer "farm" of 25,000 square feet. See survey below for areas.)
Arcadia Point, Totten Inlet
Seattle Shellfish and Arcadia Point Seafood Trespass
(click to enlarge)
(Note probable sediment plume from harvesting
of Myer parcel to the south of the trespass area.)

In 1998 Seattle Shellfish leased tidelands owned by the Lachine family with the intention of planting and cultivating shellfish, including geoduck. The Broehl's and Myers tidelands, to the south, were leased by Arcadia Point Seafood's Steve and Vicki Wilson. After the first harvest of geoducks the Broehl and Lachine tidelands were replanted, followed later by the Myers. After complaints of probable trespass were made to DNR, a survey in 2009 showed that in fact most of the tidelands used for planting geoduck on were owned by the state.
2009 Survey showing trespass at Agate Point

After the state had determined there had been cultivation and harvesting of geoduck on state owned tidelands the Attorney General and Seattle Shellfish entered into negotiations. Those negotiations resulted in a settlement which allowed Seattle Shellfish to retain ownership of the geoduck planted on state lands and a financial payment to the state. Separate trespass settlements with Arcadia Point Seafood and Taylor Shellfish (to the north, in Pickering Passage) resulted in a similar agreement.

Settlement Agreements
Seattle Shellfish agreed to pay $75,000 upon harvest, Arcadia Point's Steve and Vicki Wilson agreed to pay $117,000, and Taylor Shellfish agreed to pay $225,000. None would be permitted to use the tidelands after harvest was completed. (Note: These are separate from Taylor Shellfish's trespass settlement on the Thurston County side of Totten Inlet.)
[click here for Seattle Times article]

Financial Benefit
Assuming Seattle Shellfish's number of 17,000 pounds is accurate, and their geoducks are of #1 grade, at $14/pound they will gross $238,000, less the $75,000 fee to the state, leaving them a net of $163,000, less relatively minor labor and material expenses. Assuming the previous "crop" was the same amount, Seattle Shellfish will have ended up netting over $300,000 for the use of state tidelands.

Comment: Lawyers Are Not Inexpensive
With current legal bills from Seattle Shellfish's law suit against the Army Corps being incurred these funds will no doubt be appreciated by its owners. [click here for papers filed against the Corps] Most likely Arcadia and Taylor will also find their geoduck revenues generated off of state lands helpful as their legal expenses rise with their permit appeals and the fairness of Shoreline Master Program updates coming into question.

Citizens do not have the luxury of geoducks to finance their efforts in protecting Puget Sound's tideland habitat, only passion and time. Numerous groups are currently involved in trying to contain the expansion of the shellfish industry. APHETI (APHETI@gmail.com) , Case Inlet Shoreline Association and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat (the latter 2 at info@caseinlet.org) are all heavily involved.  Friends of Burley Lagoon is now becoming organized, aligning itself with the previous two. You can make a difference, like those who helped create the Shoreline Management Act in 1971 did.

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