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:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ocean Acidification: It's Complicated

As added material to consider in what is becoming a deeply controversial topic, the University of Washington's Cliff Mass questions some of the fundamental conclusions reached in the recent Seattle Times articles on Ocean Acidification.  His "Ocean Acidification and Northwest Shellfish: Did the Seattle Times Get the Story Right?" gives another perspective. From his piece, he states:
My conclusion is that this series has some serious problems and draws several unwarranted conclusions. Particularly that recent shellfish problems are the result of past or current CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
More than Commercial Shellfish Matter to Puget Sound, Whatever the Cause of Calcium Carbonate Depletion
If one accepts the fact that CO2 is changing the oceans water chemistry and preventing the formation of Calcium Carbonate, then every marine species dependent on that molecule is impacted. Pushing forward with the significant expansion promoted by the shellfish industry in its "Washington Shellfish Initiative" and "National Shellfish Initiative" will do more harm than good through the "sponge effect" of massive shellfish farms currently being promoted soaking up the diminished supply of Calcium Carbonate. While good for the corporations promoting 58 raft mussel farms, it's bad for the native marine species who are also vying for the same Calcium Carbonate for their calcifying.

Alternatively, if there is a question about the cause of the diminishing supply of Calcium Carbonate, then more research is needed before the massive expansion being promoted is allowed. As an example of the size of what is envisioned, Jim Gibbons with Seattle Shellfish spoke before Washington representatives about how Spain, in an area the size of south Puget Sound (south of the Tacoma Narrows) is producing 600 million pounds of mussels each year. Currently, there are less than 2 million pounds of mussels being produced.

Strategic Marketing Matters, But You'd Better be Correct
Following the strategic marketing plan developed by Governor Gregoire's Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, Mr Manning and Mr Taylor build further on the Seattle Times three part series on Ocean Acidification in their "Guest" piece entitled "What we can do about ocean acidification and climate change". From the Blue Ribbon Panel's "Ocean Acidification: From Knowledge to Action" (4Mb): 
Educating elected officials, resource managers, business and industry leaders, and the general public (including youth) is a key prerequisite to action.

To improve understanding of ocean acidification and engage stakeholders in solutions, information needs to emphasize four key points. First, information must communicate
that ocean acidification is affecting jobs and resources here in Washington State. Second, materials must emphasize the importance of the ocean to our health, coastal economies, and well-being. Third, the information must explain the rapid change in ocean chemistry, the consequences of this change for marine life in Washington, and what it means for individuals and Washingtonians collectively. Finally, the information needs to show the value of early action and highlight the role that Washingtonians can play in developing and implementing solutions. (page 79)
Strategic marketing happens all the time in business and in politics. But if it is fundamentally flawed then there is a problem. In the case of Ocean Acidification, it needs to be examined closely. One small example of why that may be a wise course is to look south to Willapa Bay where not only native Olympia oysters are beginning to re-establish themselves, but so too are the Pacific oysters.

Cliff Mass is a professor at the University of Washington with a PhD in Atomospheric Sciences. He has taught at the University of Washington since 1981 and has authored "The Weather of the Pacific Northwest."

Jay Manning was Director of the Department of Ecology before being shifted to Governor Gregoire's Chief of Staff from which he resigned in 2011, saying he felt "worn out." In October of 2011 Mr Manning became partner at the Cascadia Law Group and returned to the Washington Environmental Council where he is currently President.

Bill Taylor is with the Taylor Shellfish Company.

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