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, November 7, 2013

Shorelines Hearings Board Affirms Shoreline Permits for Taylor/Arcadia/Xia Geoduck Farms

"On balance, it is a very close call whether a
cumulative impacts analysis is warranted prior to approval
of these four SSDP's" Shorelines Hearings Board
After consideration of testimony and evidence the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) felt there was not quite enough evidence to require four geoduck farms in Thurston County to perform a cumulative impacts analysis before approval. The SHB felt the County had also reached the same conclusion through a condition which required review of the permits prior to replanting to consider whether a cumulative impacts analysis should, at that point, be required.
Note: The four geoduck farms are 2 proposed by Arcadia Point Seafoods, 1 proposed by Taylor Shellfish, and 1 proposed by the Xia family. All are in Thurston County, all are in areas which have existing farms adjacent to them or near by.
New Project Proposals Adding Pressure
Presumably, when the next permits considered by the Shorelines Hearings Board come up, new information on the plans for geoduck farm expansion will be given additional weight. Since these permit applications the Port Gamble S'Klallam tribe is now exploring expansion of subtidal planting on over 1,000 acres of subtidal tidelands. Seattle Shellfish is in the process of permitting a shellfish hatchery which would greatly expand the amount of seed for planting. Permit approvals for grow-out facilities at marinas also add capacity, with Chelsea Farms noting in their application: "if a hatchery could produce 70 million 6mm oysters a season, by outsourcing the nursery phase to growers that same hatchery could produce 700 million 2mm oysters." * Taylor Shellfish's proposal for 58 rafts growing up to 1 million pounds of mussels at the mouth of Totten Inlet only adds further to the impacts.
 *Note: Using Chelsea Farms' numbers, put another way, at 250 oysters per grow-out bag, the number of grow-out bags used would increase from 280,000 to 2.8 million.
"For the third time in the last two years the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat ("Coalition") has appealed a county approval of a geoduck project to the Shoreline[s] Hearings Baord ("Board")."
So begins the shellfish industry's pre-hearing brief for Chelsea Farms proposed subtidal farm on the Detienne tideland parcel.* Their frustration is palatable and understandable. At risk are future revenues worth millions of dollars. Also at risk is the expansion of an industry whose methods transform tideland habitats, those very same habitats which the Shoreline Management Act was to protect and prevent the fragmentation of. At some point the industry will be called on to perform an analysis which considers whether, on a cumulative level, their activities should no longer be considered a "preferred use."
*Note: The SHB hearing for the Detienne permit will be held November 12 - 15.

Drakes Estero - The Next Puget Sound?
Those concerned about what is happening in Drakes Estero should take note. In 2006 the Pacific Shellfish Growers Association engaged their Washington D.C. lobbyist David Weiman to help fight the conversion of Drakes Estero to the Wilderness Area as Congress had intended. Since that time they have been heavily involved in the campaign to support Drakes Bay Oyster Company, legally and politically. Most recently they file an amicus brief in support of an en banc hearing request before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Save our Shellfish - Expand Production in Drakes Estero
"State law requires holders of leases for shellfish cultivation to increase production annually." So states Save Our Shellfish, an ardent supporter of Drakes Bay Oyster Company. If industry succeeds in preventing the creation of the wilderness area congress intended the next step is clearly stated on the "Save our Shellfish" web site: expand production.

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