What is the significance? Exactly the same thing is happening in the United States. Whether on the East Coast, the West Coast, or the Gulf Coast, political pressures from the shellfish industry is resulting in a dream long sought; "streamlined" permitting which will result in an expansion of operations. But as is often the case, be careful what you wish for as it may come true. In this case, along with the sudden expansion of operations will come, as it always does, a drop in price and a lack of profitability.
Who will pay to clean up
when the market collapses?
Economic models justify the expense of plastic structures currently appearing throughout the intertidal areas and waters of the US, in fact throughout the world. When that model changes and profits are no longer there, who will be left to clean up what is left behind as growers walk away? One simply needs to look at Drakes Estero to see one answer: the taxpayers.
While the reasons are different, the decision of Drakes Bay Oyster Company to simply walk away from a failed business model and leave taxpayers to pay for the clean up of over 500 tons of aquaculture gear and 5 miles of oyster racks in order to allow the restoration of eelgrass to occur points to what to expect. [Note: To be fair, the government could have stood its ground and made DBOC pay a far larger portion than nothing.]
As seen in the article written in Seafood Source, China is not an endless market where anything produced will sell. Geoduck are not exclusive to Puget Sound, growing in Alaska and British Columbia, even Mexico. When supply exceeds demand, who will be left to clean up the PVC and mesh tubes which are proliferating throughout Puget Sound?