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:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Net Pen Aquaculture: It sounded so good in 2013. It's a disaster in 2017.

The 251 mile journey
of a non-native Atlantic salmon.
One of many healthy "couch potatoes"
looking for a river, a mate, and a place to call home.

How non-native Atlantic salmon were allowed to spread over 251 miles in the Salish Sea: A journey which began in 2013. (See links to DOE's " Marine Net Pen Science Forum" at the end, and an image of how far the "couch potatoes" have spread in the Salish Sea above and on WDFW's "catch map".) 
(For WDFW "catch map", see here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/atlantic_catch_map.php)

2013 - NOAA/DOE: We're the government. Trust us. Growing non-native Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound is safe and good for you.

Welcome to the future of farming
non-native Atlantic salmon.

The future is here and it's not good.
In January of 2013, the Department of Ecology's Cedar Bouta opened the "Marine Net Pens Science Forum" telling everyone "we're filming for the future." The future is here and the video of that seminar from 2013 can be looked at to see how NOAA and the Department of Ecology crafted a narrative to promote growing the non-native Atlantic salmon as being safe and profitable. That narrative, crafted to assure everyone this was a safe, sustainable, and profitable proposition, has now resulted in the escape of 160,000, 10 pound, mature, non-native Atlantic salmon, swimming over 251 miles away from the collapsed net pen, beginning to migrate upstream to native salmon habitat. A pen which had begun collapsing in July, one month before the final failure.

NOAA's Laura Hoberecht and Mike Rust:
It's going to be a great future.

Caught in the past with an ecological disaster in the present growing larger as days go by.
Still with us from 2013 are NOAA's Mike Rust who assured us after the collapse of the pen that the 160,000 escaped salmon were nothing more than "couch potatoes" who would not go anywhere (See how far these couch potatoes have traveled on WDFW's catch map). Also still with us from NOAA is Laura Horberecht, recently quoted in The New Yorker as saying "...farming species outside their natal territory is rare - Atlantic salmon being the exception." [Note: Apparently Ms. Hoberecht is not aware of the non-native and invasive Pacific oyster being farmed by shellfish growers in Puget Sound.] (See The New Yorker article here: https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/washington-states-great-salmon-spill-and-the-environmental-perils-of-fish-farming)

Trust us. You want to include net pen farming in your Shoreline Master Programs. It's good for the economy.
Also still with us is the belief by the Department of Ecology, stressed by Mike Cook (when not flirting with Laura Hoberecht) that farming non-native salmon is a water dependent right he and industry should have under the Shoreline Management Act and that local agencies simply aren't capable of understanding the science industry creates. Excluding is not allowed by DOE who believes they know best.

Weekend movies to watch: DOE's 2013 "Science Forum" on growing non-native Atlantic Salmon and why there's nothing to worry about.

Part 1: NIMBY's and NGO's with too much time on their hands make business hard.
DOE's Cedar Bouta introducing Laura Hoberecht who discusses NOAA's promotion of aquaculture. She is followed at 12:26 by the flirtatious Mr. Cook who discusses Icicle's (now Cooke Aquaculture) operations who, at 28:14 discusses industry's opinion on those opposed to farming non-native Atlantic salmon. At 32:42 Bruce Stewart with the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission discusses culturing native salmon.

Part 2: NOAA on the best food to feed "couch potatoes" (maybe they needed more fat?)
Jill Noland begins talking about pathogens associated with farmed salmon, focused on minimizing the risk to wild salmon. At 19:50 Mike Rust discusses food used in the farming of salmon with comparisons to chickens and cows. At 39:20 Walt Dickhoff with NOAA (email: walton.w.dickhoff@noaa.gov) speaks to the risks from escapees.

Part 3: Permitting is so hard, but so complete, there is nothing to worry about.

Part 3 begins with Ms. Hoberecht talking about permitting, using a permitting chart for shellfish farms, presented many times by the shellfish industry when complaining about regulatory oversight. At 3:55 Lori LeVander with DOE discusses the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued by DOE. At 17:27 John Kerwin with WDFW speaks to permitting and fish health, including (at 27:08) the requirement that non-native Atlantic salmon eggs be marked such that a mature salmon can be traced back to the facility. [Note: It is not known whether this still occurs.] Mr. Kerwin also stresses the risks from large, mature fish escaping, such what just occurred (at 29:27). At 31:20, Jack Rensel (often used as an expert witness by the aquaculture industry in support of their permits) speaks of scientific "modelling" and assumptions to support industrial scale operations and siting.

Part 4: Forum Discussion, Question 1 - Why aren't we growing native salmon instead of non-native Atlantic salmon? Answer: You make more money growing non-native Atlantic salmon, leaving more profits to help influence policy.
Part 4 is an open forum with the first question being why aren't native salmon being farmed, responded to by Mr. Cook on the economic benefits of farming Atlantic salmon.

Get involved. As seen in how well NOAA and DOE crafted their 2013 "scientific forum" to support the growing of non-native Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound, industry has been. Despite assurances from government agencies about there being no risk, an ecological disaster is unfolding. Alaska bans net pen farms. California prohibits the culturing of salmon in its Pacific waters. Oregon has no net pen operations.

Tell your elected officials it is time to remove these industrial scale operations from Washington's waters.

Contact information for state and national elected officials may be found here:
Tell Governor Inslee if he really cares about Puget Sound, now is the time to stand up and tell DOE to allow counties to ban these operations.
Help support those who are focused on protecting the Salish Sea's diversity and health from these operations:
Our Sound, Our Salmon
Wildfish Conservancy
Center for Food Safety:

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