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, January 19, 2017

Monterey Bay Aquarium Drops Commercially Farmed Geoduck from Green "Best Choice" Category

Commercial Geoduck 
from Washington
Loses Certification

Commercially Farmed Geoduck From Washington Lose Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch "Best Choice" Certification
Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch has dropped commercially farmed geoduck from their green "Best Choice" category due to a "...heavy reliance on plastic tubing to protect growing geoduck clams, and a better understanding of the ecosystem impacts of this practice is needed." It was a move long in coming and a welcomed recognition that this form of aquaculture is, in fact, transformative to the tidelands of Puget Sound in which it is taking place. (Note: Taylor still notes geoduck as being a "Best Choice" on their website.)

Is "Farmed Responsibly" the same?
From one to the next.
Without Monterey Bay Aquarium's certification showing that commercially farmed geoduck grown in Washington's Puget Sound is a sustainable "Best Choice", Taylor Shellfish has now sought, and achieved, a certification of "farmed responsibly" from another body, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). As with all standards bodies and their associated certifications, differences exist, and the two certifications are not equivalent.

Benchmarking ASC versus Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch
In a 2012 evaluation of other certification bodies, ASC Bivalve (clam) standards did not meet the green, "Best Choice" level of Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Choice. Below is the result from Monterey Bay's "Eco-certification Benchmarking Project" (page 7) which compared other certification bodies to Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch.
[Note: The ASC 'Bivalve Standard' used for certification was 'Version 1, dated January of 2012'. This was a certification standard which Bill Dewey, with Taylor Shellfish, played a direct role in developing.]
ASC versus Monetery Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch (click to enlarge)

In addition to ASC, the other certification body which Taylor Shellfish also used, the Food Alliance, while higher than ASC, was still not able to achieve the "Best Choice" level of certification.

Food Alliance versus Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch

Does it really matter? It should.
When testimony is given to Hearing Examiners about certifications to support permit applications, it should matter. At Tuesday's hearing for a geoduck farm permit in Puget Sound's Zangle Cove, Diane Cooper with Taylor Shellfish testified that all of their farms had been certified as being "sustainable" by ASC. Initially, Ms. Cooper was confused about what ASC stood for, telling the examiner it stood for "Aquaculture Sustainability Certification". She later corrected the description of what ASC actually stood for (Aquaculture Stewardship Council), but not that ASC only certified farms as being "responsible", not sustainable (from ASC's website: "ASC aims to be the world's leading certification and labelling programme [sic] for responsibly farmed seafood.")
(Hear Ms. Cooper discuss what she thought ASC stood for, here, at 20:28)

Moving aquaculture towards truly sustainable practices is a goal which all should support. Why a company moves from one certification body to another is something which should be looked at closely, whether you are a consumer or an agency listening to testimony. In this case, that Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch has dropped commercially farmed geoduck from Washington from their green, "Best Choice" certification category, should not be masked by achieving certification from another body.

No comments:

Post a Comment