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: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline



Friday, September 23, 2016

Here Come the Chinese: Lust for Big Clams Brings Largest Shellfish Facility on the West Coast

Hummingbird Cove Shellfish Hatchery
Small bird, big hatchery, big numbers, big impact.

365,000 square feet:  A lot of space costs a lot to produce big clams in big numbers.
The Powell River Peak writes about a Chinese aquaculture firm, Pacific Aquaculture, which has followed the path set by Chinese energy firms who have invested in the west and elsewhere to ensure a steady supply of carbon based fuels far into the future. Pacific Aquaculture has currently invested $10 million in a shellfish hatchery which opened on the 19th. They plan to invest an additional $40 million over the next five years to create a shellfish facility which, at 365,000 square feet, will dwarf anything on the west coast, or most likely in the world. The project, in conjunction with Hummingbird Cove Lifestyles, was first described in Hatchery International in October of last year but was then far smaller.

US Shellfish Companies: Now just
big clams in a little tank?

We used to be the big clams here
In comparison to Pacific Aquacutlure's 365,000 square foot facility, Taylor Shellfish - purported to be the largest shellfish producer in the United States - has a hatchery on Dabob Bay estimated to be 30,000 square feet in size. Production facilities in Shelton are estimated at 27,000 square feet, with those at Samish Bay being estimated at 9,000 square feet. As noted, Pacific Aquacutlure's will be 365,000 square feet.

Aloha from Goose Point Oyster in Hawaii.
We'll always have the condo.
20,000 square feet is big?

Is that Aloha a hello or goodbye to profits in the shellfish industry?
Unlike the Taylor hatchery in Dabob Bay being able to adapt to what is currently felt to be problems caused by ocean acidification, the Nisbet family's Goose Point Oyster simply scaled back their "Whiskey Creek" hatchery facility in Willapa Bay and built a new 20,000 square foot facility in Hawaii. As the article in the Seattle Times notes,  only a handful of hatcheries supply West Coast farmers, including Whiskey Creek and Taylor Shellfish. With a facility now in operation, which at 365,000 square feet will dwarf anything on the west coast, flooding the market with shellfish seed, including geoduck, how long can the profits in the shellfish industry be expected to last?

They said I'd make money. Why should I care?

I never promised you a shellfish garden.
Because shellfish companies no longer have tidelands to use, they lease tidelands from private individuals and promise "great" returns in exchange for encumbering their property, in some cases for decades. Any concerns about their role in the creation of these point sources of plastic pollution, loose nets, and fractured tideland ecosystems, along with fractured relationships with neighbors, many nurtured over generations, are diminished by the salve made from promises of monetary cream being rubbed onto these tideland owners' palms. The Chinese, however, through Pacific Aquaculture, will no longer be beholden to shellfish companies in the northwest supplying artificially constrained supplies, and inflated prices, of geoduck. Revenues will drop and the gravy train will stop. As investments in energy failed when supply overtook demand, so too will investments - and promises of riches - in the shellfish industry fail when oversupply drives prices down and the Chinese are able to supply themselves with geoduck. Leaving behind plastic tubes and structures, as Drakes Bay Oyster Company did when they walked away from Drakes Estero, leaving the taxpayers to clean up the remains.

Chinese do not like 
paying artificially inflated prices
for geoduck so will grow their own.

Sorry, I don't think that was part of the permit.
Who will pick up what's left behind when companies are no longer profitable? This bubble is no different than any bubble which has preceeded it. It will pop. Pacific Aquaculture is a big pin with a strong hand pressing on the bubble. And when it pops, Puget Sound will be left with PVC, nets, and plastic to cleanup.

Get involved. 
Demand that bonds be required for all shellfish farms currently permitted to guarantee Puget Sound is not left in the state Drakes Estero was when Drakes Bay Oyster Company decided it was best to just walk away, leaving taxpayers to pick up the mess.



Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 13, 1PM: Army Corps' Update on Regulatory Oversight

Update September 13: In January, Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish and Vicki Wilson inserted an absurd definition of what an "existing" aquaculture activity is into the proposed SMP update for Mason County. They defined an existing activity as being any tidelands sold in Washington under the 1895 Bush and Callow Act. Even if nothing was planted over 120 years ago. Politics pays and profits flow.

Paving a Fallow Brick Road 
With PVC and Plastic

Contact, by Monday afternoon, for Web and/or audio participation on September 13
Patricia Graesser, Public Affairs Chief
phone: (206) 764-3760
e-mailpatricia.c.graesser@usace.army.mil

Where are we and how did we get down this road?
September 13 the Army Corps of Engineers will hold a meeting to discuss their current situation as it relates to regulating the shellfish industry in Washington. A similar meeting was held on April 20 (click here for a pdf overview of that meeting).

The preliminary agenda is as follows:
1:00 p.m. Welcome By Col. John Buck, District Commander, Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1:05 p.m. Brief overview of the Corps aquaculture regulatory program
1:15 p.m. Update on ongoing activities:
Status of the programmatic Endangered Species Act consultation for shellfish activities in Washington
Permit tools for 2017
Upcoming milestones and opportunities for involvement

• 1:45 p.m. Questions & Answers
• 2:45 p.m. Closing Remarks

Politics pays - and when you have lots of money it helps move the process in your direction
Related to the ongoing Army Corps' oversight of this industry which wishes to greatly expand its footprint in Puget Sound and elsewhere are Biological Opinions released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In 2015 the Corps asked each to provide their opinions on information provided to them by the Corps, in turn largely provided by the shellfish industry, on whether acres of aquaculture proposed and anticipated would have an impact on Puget Sound's habitat and species of concern.

Zangle Cove: Fallow or never planted?
Not "historically used for aquaculture" as claimed
in a permit application for a new geoduck farm.

Fallow me down the golden brick road
A summary document explaining the past history, which in part exemplifies the challenges with gathering information from the shellfish industry, may be found by clicking here. One of the primary issues relates back to 2007 permits which included ‘areas that are periodically allowed to lie fallow as part of normal operations’ in the public notice. This gaping door left open, by not defining what "fallow" means, was taken full advantage of by the industry, claiming huge numbers of acres not planted currently were simply lying fallow, implying they had been used at some undefined time in the past. Current proposals for the Nationwide permits call for defining "fallow" as tidelands not having been planted for as long as 100 years. As seen below, this has led the Corps to believe over 14,000 acres not planted were not done so simply because they were "fallow".


Put on the BiOp focals to review the opinions
Currently, "fallow" areas are included in the information presented to FWS and NMFS, asking them to rely on that information and to issue opinions on what the Corps should do. Those Biological Opinions are located here:
Click here for NMFS Biological Opinion
Click here for FWS Bilogical Opinion

You're going to need these to get through those opinions.

Read along with me and get involved
Currently the Corps is in the process of reviewing the opinions submitted by FWS and NMFS. As it is unknown at this time whether any changes or refusals to accept what each say it is best not to comment. But what is clear is the Corps and services have been put under immense political pressure to help promote this industry. Good intentions can get lost when politics get involved. Hoping for the best when industry is driving a process will not result in the best interests of the public. Get involved. The shellfish industry is and what they want is not good for Puget Sound and species dependent on the integrity of its habitat.



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Final Reminder: Help Protect Willapa Bay's Habitat for the Threatened Green Sturgeon

It is not time to relax habitat preservation for a species in the process of rebuilding its population. Make a difference and get involved.
Reminder: Comments on Green Sturgeon Habitat Due Sept. 6

Retain all of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor
as critical habitat for the threatened Green Sturgeon

Comment here by September 6: 
http://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001 

Read Pubic Notice here: 
http://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001

Become engaged in the public process. Tell NMFS and NOAA you support Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor being retained, with no exclusions, as critical habitat for the Green Sturgeon. Shellfish growers do have alternative methods of growing oysters and do not need to spray pesticides onto shellfish beds to kill a native primary food source (burrowing shrimp) for this endangered species.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Reminder: Comments on Green Sturgeon Habitat Due Sept. 6

Retain all of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor
as critical habitat for the threatened Green Sturgeon

Comment here by September 6: 
http://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001 

Read Pubic Notice here: 
http://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0099-0001

Become engaged in the public process. Tell NMFS and NOAA you support Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor being retained, with no exclusions, as critical habitat for the Green Sturgeon. Shellfish growers do have alternative methods of growing oysters and do not need to spray pesticides onto shellfish beds to kill a native primary food source (burrowing shrimp) for this endangered species.