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:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mason County Shellfish Expansion - Part 2: County Considers Whether Public Tidelands Should be Leased

[Update: County contacts for this project are John Keates (JohnK@co.mason.wa.us) or the Mason County Commissioners (click here for contact information).]
When is enough too much?
Welcome to the neighborhood
County Tidelands on Harstine Island
Mason County is considering leasing 19 acres of the few remaining tidelands available to the public in south Puget Sound to the shellfish industry. The parcel is located between McMikken Island State Park and upland property also owned by the state on Harstine Island. If leased it would most likely be converted to geoduck farming, a process taking place along a large area of the eastern shores of Harstine Island and south Puget Sound.
County parcel the shellfish
industry wishes to lease.

Access across tidelands becomes restricted
Throughout  south Puget Sound people are finding long held access across tidelands restricted through geoduck cultivation. Whether it be access to the water or adjacent neighbors, the shellfish industry has decided it will now control who can do what on the tidelands. In the extreme, people who question whether permits are in place receive letters from shellfish attorneys telling them long held use of the tidelands to access neighbors is no longer an option for them. In the case of Mason County's tidelands, a hole between McMikken Island State Park and the adjacent upland area on Harstine Island will be created.

Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm on Fudge Point
restricting upland access to state park lands -
- and another wetland outflow habitat lost.

Shellfish industry is out of tidelands
For years it has been known that the shellfish industry is out of tidelands to use for geoduck farming. All of their privately held tidelands have been converted. Most private owners of tidelands who wish to lease have done so, leaving only public tidelands available, such as those being considered by Mason County. Apparently it is not enough.

DNR's management of tidelands
In addition to Mason County, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is also being pressured to lease the few public tidelands under their control to the shellfish industry. Multiple parcels are now under consideration throughout Puget Sound. Rather than supporting the replanting of subtidal areas currently being "clear cut" by the shellfish industry, DNR instead follows industry's lead and pursues the removal of nearshore intertidal tidelands from the public's use. It is not management of a state resource for the public's benefit but instead management for an industry's benefit to feed the elite of China and provide profits for a few.

When enough is too much - irrational exuberance is not sustainable
In the pursuit of money short term decisions are made which result in long term damage which takes years to recover from. Currently the pursuit of tidelands to grow a shellfish which only the Chinese are willing to pay extreme prices for is the result of nothing more than irrational exuberance. It is not sustainable and fractures the nearshore habitat and long established neighborhood relationships.

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