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:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mason County Signs 16 Year Lease with Seattle Shellfish for Geoduck Cultivation

"You never know what tomorrow's going to bring."
Past Commissioner Bloomfield, w/Seattle Shellfish
Tidelands Leased by Mason County
to Seattle Shellfish for Geoduck Farming
 McMikken Island State Park on the right
Washington State Parks and Recreation on the left
19 acres leased for 16 years, with an option for another 16 years - acres useable unknown
Mason WebTV has reported the Mason County commissioners have signed a 16 year lease with Seattle Shellfish for a 19 acre tideland parcel between McMikken Island State Park and Harstine Island to grow geoduck on. The lease terms contain an option for an extension of an additional 16 years. The tideland area had been previously used by the public visiting McMikken Island State Park or the adjacent land on Harstine Island owned by the State of Washington Parks and Recreation. It is expected that once Seattle Shellfish begins planting geoduck access to the tidelands will be restricted.

Geoduck Planting with PVC Pipes

Tidelands useable are unknown
At the public hearing, past commissioner Steve Bloomfield with Seattle Shellfish described the tidelands as not all being suitable for geoduck cultivation. He notes some of it as being "hard pan, like this floor," some it as "very good," with the remainder being described as "we don't know yet." He went on to assure the county that whatever was done would be transparent.
Just an estimate - based on?
Commissioner Jeffreys: $3 million plus $1,000/acre planted - based on an unknown
Despite the unknown number of acres which will actually be available for cultivation, and of those what actually gets planted and when, Commissioner Jeffreys announced at the meeting that the county would be receiving an estimated $3 million dollars every 6 years. This figure is based on her describing the lease terms as being $1,000 per acre planted and 15% of the gross proceeds. Given Mr. Bloomfield's being unable to say how many acres actually useable puts in question how she was able to obtain the $3 million "estimate."
Taylor Shellfish's ~15 acre geoduck farm in Hammersley Inlet.
Appraised at $2,035, taxes collected = $21/year

Taxation of tidelands when they are converted to geoduck or shellfish production
As Commissioner Sheldon noted at the meeting, perhaps some tidelands held by Mason County could be leased in order to generate revenue for the county. Perhaps what the commissioners should consider instead is having their assessor value those tidelands put into production of geoduck or shellfish at what their real value is. So doing would most likely generate sums far greater than the currently unknown the county has committed to. Higher property taxes may also bring pause to current tideland owners who believe they will become as wealthy as the current owners of shellfish companies are becoming, at the expense of Puget Sound's tidelands.

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