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, May 13, 2013

May 14: Drakes Bay Oyster Company's Day in Court, Again

Update 5/15:
The East Bay Express reports that from questions asked by the three-judge panel it appears they will rule against Drakes Bay Oyster Company.
Earth Island Journal has an article by Amy Trainer on why it is time for Drakes Estero to be allowed to become the wilderness Congress intended it to become in 1972.

Drakes Estero (from Earth Island Journal)

Tuesday, May 14, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear attorneys for Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) plead why DBOC should be allowed to remain in operation until further legal action may be taken. Despite their permit having ended almost 6 months ago.
Sometimes you lose.

Unlike the gambler in Las Vegas who lost at the roulette wheel accepting that his bet was wrong and walking away, the Lunny family does not think it is fair to have gambled and lost. Ironic is the conservative philosophy of "moral hazard," in which a business who makes a bad bet should be made to accept the consequences, does not seem to apply in this case and they have flocked to his defense (e.g., Representative Doc Hasting; Senator Vitter; Cause of Action).

Why? Because an outcome favorable to the Lunny family's commercial operation in this wilderness area would open the door to drilling, mining and timber extraction in other wilderness areas. DBOC, and others who support the continued operation of this farm, have allowed themselves to become pawns in a much larger game with consequences reaching far into the future. They are being used to create a new "corporate wilderness."

"It's different this time. We won't
have accidents anymore."
Shell Oil drilling platform grounded,
January 2013

This is not a small hot dog stand. DBOC operates on wilderness lands and in wilderness waters owned by the public covering over 1,000 acres, over one square mile. Its oysters are grown on racks of pressure treated lumber which span hundreds of feet. Hundreds of plastic grow-out bags 2'X3' in size are spread out on the tideland sediments, scouring everything they sit on. Oysters growing in unnatural densities create a surface area on which the invasive tunicate didemnum vexillum (Dv) attaches, where colonies then form, multiply, and is then spread throughout Drakes Estero as they break off oysters during harvesting. It is an ongoing "press" on Drakes Estero.

Oysters covered with colonies of
Dv, breaking off as they are
dragged through Drakes Estero
during harvesting.

DBOC's commercial operation is not restoration. DBOC is growing non-native and genetically modified Pacific oysters. While Chef Alice Waters may feel her infused olive oil gives these genetically modified oysters a pop, they are hardly native nor hardly unique. As DBOC notes in their 2010 "Proof of Use" form: "The majority of the oysters planted in this lease were imported as larvae..." They are the same genetically modified oysters as those grown up and down the coast, in some cases overwhelming the habitat used by native Olympia oysters.

"Drakes Estero will loose their filter feeders."
Dr. Land: "Sopping up never works."

The "old watering hole" for cattle on Point Reyes.

Drakes Estero does not have a problem with water quality nor will it after the oysters are removed. The few oysters DBOC is growing provide miniscule benefit. If there is any risk to Drakes Estero's waters, it is an upland problem which the cattle farmers, including the Lunny family, need to deal with (why it is so ironic Representative Doc Hastings is now supporting DBOC - his constituency, farmers/dairy/cattle ranchers, are who the shellfish farmers are pressing regulations on right now). 

In response to a cartoon in the Washington Post showing oysters as a "hidden treasure" able to remove nitrogen from the waters, the esteemed professor Dr. Land with the University of Texas stated: "Pollution must be stopped in order to improve water quality. "Sopping up" never works."  There are fresh water bodies throughout the United States which were brought back to health, not from oysters but from controlling what went into those waters.

High tide at the Oyster Shack.

The climate is changing and it's high tide at DBOC. As seen in the picture above, at high tide DBOC's "Oyster Shack" is flooded. This commercial operation in itself is on land which is slowly becoming part of the sea again. As the tidal elevation rises over time, and if DBOC is still in operation, who will they blame then? A good gambler knows when to quit. It's time for the Lunny family to go home and enjoy their cattle ranch.

No comments:

Post a Comment