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:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Two faces of the Shellfish Industry: Polluting Willapa Bay with Pesticides; Suing Over Dairy Farmers' Perceived Threat

Tell the Department of Ecology to deny Willapa Bay shellfish growers' request to apply pesticides on Willapa Bay shellfish beds and the public's waters.
Click here to comment (Due by Nov 1)

Two Faces of the Shellfish Industry

One side:
Sue one agency claiming they aren't doing enough
to keep the waters clean enough.

The other side:
Demand another agency allow them to apply pesticides
onto Willapa Bay's shellfish beds and into its waters.

Do you want an oyster grown in waters
polluted with pesticides?

Mine for the taking.
Unfolding before us in real time is the shellfish industry wanting to have it both ways. On the one hand they sue one agency, claiming an industry is being allowed to pollute the public's waters, preventing them from growing shellfish and profits in those public waters, creating a "taking". On the other hand they demand another agency grant them a permit to spray pesticides into the public's waters and onto shellfish beds, claiming those waters are somehow "pristine" and theirs for the taking. 

Cow: "Don't sue me, I'm not your problem."
DEQ: "Don't sue me, I'm not your problem."
Attorney to Hayes Oyster Co: "Who should I bill?"

The source of fecal coliform? Cows are easy to see. Who to sue? Not so easy to see.
In a lawsuit filed in Oregon, (the second attempt moving further, after the first was dismissed), Pacific Shellfish Growers Association member, Hayes Oyster Company, is suing Oregon's'  Department of Environmental Quality. Hayes' suit claims  DEQ's  inaction has resulted in fecal coliform levels preventing them from growing oysters entirely on 250 of his 600 oyster beds, with the other 350 being closed intermittently during high rain events in the winter. The suit seeks $100,000 in damages (a "taking") and that DEQ act against the dairy farmers who Hayes sees as the problem.  Dairy farmers point out they are currently issued "CAFO" (confined area feed operation) permits by the Oregon Department of Agriculture which, in part, regulate the amount of manure they are able to apply to their fields. The Oregon Dairy Farmers Association notes that in addition to CAFO permit oversight they have also voluntarily fenced off streams and planted riparian zones along those streams to minimize impacts. Perhaps more importantly, they note there are multiple sources of fecal coliform, ranging from wildlife to septic systems to waste water discharge plants, and they may not be the source to begin with. But, as long as the Hayes Oyster Company continues to pay the bill, their attorney is happy to file suits, wherever, against whomever. 
[As an indication of the apparent financial challenges Hayes Oyster Company is facing, Oregon's Corporate Division indicates they have not paid their annual registration fee and are on the verge of another "Administrative Dissolution" being filed by Oregon. DEQ's attorneys and Haye's attorney may want to consider how that impacts the standing of Hayes Oyster Company.] 

Buying tidelands seemed like a good business decision. 
Until the Nesbit family's Goose Point Oysters found out 
Tideland parcels an estimated $2 million will buy you,
purchased by the Nesbit family's 
Goose Point Oysters in 2015.

Willapa Bay's native species make paying off a bad investment difficult. That's not Washington's problem.
In Washington's Willapa Bay, instead of adapting to different growing techniques as Taylor Shellfish has, most other growers are demanding that the Department of Ecology issue a permit which would allow them to spray Imidacloprid, a neurotoxic pesticide, onto shellfish beds and into the public waters of Willapa Bay. This demand has shed a light on the shellfish industry's past practices of spraying Carbaryl (also known as Sevin) onto shellfish beds and into Willapa Bay for years, all while claiming shellfish were being grown in "pristine waters". It has also shed light on companies such as the Nesbit family's Goose Point who paid millions for tidelands in 2015, likely hoping they could spray pesticides on their shellfish beds and waters of Willapa Bay. Instead, they and other growers discovered the public considers calling Willapa Bay waters "pristine" while spraying pesticides and herbicides onto shellfish beds not to be in the state wide interest. But, the growers are persistent and are back, demanding another permit be issued. It's cheaper that way.
[Note: The Department of Ecology is currently accepting comments, until November 1, on the Willapa Bay shellfish growers' proposal to apply  Imidacloprid on shellfish beds and waters of Willapa Bay.]

Get involved. Don't buy oysters grown in pesticides.
Industrial aquaculture is rapidly evolving and transforming marine ecosystems into little more than  corporate profit centers with little care for the real and growing impacts. Cooke Aquaculture's recent  drive for profits resulted in the escape of 165,000 nonnative invasive Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound, as well as significant problems being found in other operations. Nonnative Pacific oysters threaten the habitat of Olympia oysters which millions of dollars are being spent on to restore. Aquaculture has money, is motivated, and wants to grow. They have successfully "baked into Washington law" the "benefits" of aquaculture. That cake needs to be taken out of the oven in order to protect, preserve and restore the marine environment. And don't eat oysters from Willapa Bay.

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