November 1: A meeting between Taylor Shellfish, Pierce County's Jill Guernsey (Gig Harbor Mayoral candidate and recipient of Taylor attorney's campaign donation) and Ty Booth, the Department of Ecology and Department of Fish and Wildlife will take place to discuss permitting of aquaculture in Burley Lagoon. The public is not invited to attend.
Transformation of a passive activity to an industrial operation
After Taylor Shellfish leased the tidelands of Burley Lagoon from the Yamashita family a transformation of this once passively managed area has occurred. Citizens throughout the area have asked Pierce County, the Department of Ecology, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Taylor Shellfish why none has required any permits. The response, "It's just a continuation of what was there before."
It's not aquaculture, it's the structures
The issue lost on the agencies responsible for protecting the shorelines of Puget Sound is not whether aquaculture has existed in Burley Lagoon. It is how modern aquaculture is now being practiced. Mr Yamashita is no longer placing oyster shells with spat on the tidelands and waiting for clutch to form. Wide swaths of tidelands are being covered in netting. Structures - in fact hazards to navigation - are appearing throughout Burley Lagoon. Industrial pumps pressurize hoses to spray shell from barges at 2AM in the morning. And, of interest to those concerned about removing structures in Drakes Estero, the old wooden structures seen in the picture below were allowed to be removed without concern to adverse impacts. Some, however, were replaced with new structures.
Old raft structures, most now removed
without any permitting required - or
(Take note Drakes Bay Oyster.)
New structures which replaced the old.
New navigational hazards on the tidelands.
Expansive netting on the tidelands.
Netting and metal structure
creating a navigational hazard.
Good morning Burley Lagoon (day time picture
of what occurred at 2AM in Burley Lagoon).
Proposed - PVC pipes and netting
for 30 acre geoduck farm.
Permits? Stay tuned.
The Future of Gig Harbor - Who will be the Mayor?
In the middle of all this is Jill Guernsey, currently the attorney for Pierce County. She is also a candidate for the position of Mayor of Gig Harbor whose urban growth boundaries are beginning to encroach into lands near Burley Lagoon. She has gladly accepted financial contributions from Taylor Shellfish's legal firm Plauche and Carr. No doubt Taylor Shellfish has been pleased no permitting has been required for any of their activities currently transforming Burley Lagoon. How voters will feel about it remains to be seen.