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:
Legislative and Congressional contacts:

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

Friday, April 13, 2018

Conservation Groups File Papers Seeking WDFW Oversight of Commercial Aquaculture in Washington State

(See press release below)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--Case Number: 18-2-01972-34.
April 12, 2018
CONTACT:   Patrick Townsend (360) 359-4406 
                     Laura Hendricks  (253) 509-4987
                     Kurt Beardslee    (425) 788-0125 


Protect Zangle Cove, the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Wild Fish Conservancy filed suit today against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (“WDFW”), demanding an end to the improper exemption of industrial shellfish aquaculture projects from state standards designed to protect fish and marine habitats. 

Most construction projects in or near Washington waters must receive an Hydraulic Project Approval (“HPA”), which requires that they have safeguards in place to protect fish and their habitat. WDFW has exempted commercial aquaculture from this statutory requirement for many years, meaning aquaculture projects go forward without these crucial environmental safeguards. 

The lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court contends this exemption has no legal basis and asks the court to direct WDFW to apply the HPA law consistently to shellfish aquaculture projects. The suit also asks the court to halt development of a geoduck farm planned for Zangle Cove, a near pristine estuary in South Puget Sound, until it receives an HPA permit.

“With threatened Southern Resident killer whales and endangered native salmon at extreme risk, our state agencies have failed to implement the environmental protections that are critical to the broad scale ecological recovery of Puget Sound,” says Patrick Townsend, president of Protect Zangle Cove. “The action we are taking today is one important step toward restoring sanity to the recovery process. We must protect the tidelands from further loss of ecological function or we will see the loss of iconic species so important to the people of Washington State.” 

Laura Hendricks, director of the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat, emphasizes that the lawsuit only asks the state to apply the law consistently.

“There is a double standard that exempts commercial shellfish aquaculture from the state HPA permitting system, even though these operations pose a severe threat to our fragile coastal habitats,” Hendricks says. “A private citizen installing a small dock needs to get an HPA permit, but a commercial shellfish facility would not need an HPA permit before constructing a facility that disrupts miles of pristine shoreline, destroys natural vegetation and aquatic life, and inserts tons of harmful plastic tubing, netting, and rebar into the tidelands.” 

Commercial shellfish aquaculture is in the midst of dramatic expansion in Washington. These factory-farm like facilities already take up as many as 50,000 shoreline acres, or as much as one-quarter of all Washington tidelands. Significant expansion is planned in the immediate future,  focusing largely on geoducks raised to sell in the Asian luxury market.

A single-acre geoduck operation usually includes around 44,000 PVC tubes, four- or six-inches in diameter, and approximately ten inches long. This amounts to approximately seven miles of PVC tubing per acre, weighing between 11 and 23 tons. Plastic nets are typically installed over the entire geoduck bed to keep out native wildlife that would normally feed and shelter there.

Kurt Beardslee, co-founder and Executive Director of the Wild Fish Conservancy, says: “There’s no way around it, it’s a scientific fact: the industrial shellfish aquaculture industry routinely damages vast amounts of habitat critical to federally protected species, including wild salmon and steelhead, with little or no agency oversight.”

Protect Zangle Cove, the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Wild Fish Conservancy are represented in the litigation by the law firm of Lane Powell P.C.

To view the complaint filed today, visit: 

For more information about the impact of commercial shellfish aquaculture, visit:

About Zangle Cove
Protect Zangle Cove is a nonprofit organization consisting of citizens who reside on the shores of South Puget Sound. Our mission is to protect the tideland of Zangle Cove from industrial geoduck aquaculture, preserve the critical habitat of Puget Sound tidelands, support the protection and restoration of eelgrass on Puget Sound tidelands, educate citizens about nearshore habitat, inform government officials about the problems from industrial shellfish aquaculture, and encourage rulemaking to protect Puget Sound shorelines for the enjoyment of citizens and for native species that make their homes here. 

About Coalitoin To Protect Puget Sound Habitat 
The Coalition is an alliance of citizens, environmentalists, scientists and recreational users concerned about industrial aquaculture and its impacts on plants, animals, and ecological functions. Our mission is to voice citizen concerns about industrial aquaculture and its adverse impact on the health and quality of Puget Sound and coastal waters, to effect changes in policies and regulations, and to encourage enforcement to protect shoreline habitat. 

About Wild Fish Conservancy
The Conservancy is a membership-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and recovery of the Northwest’s native fish species and the ecosystems upon which those species depend. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Tidelands: Habitat for Native Species or 150,000 Synthetic Bags Growing Nonnative Oysters?

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

County Extends Comment Period
Schedules a 2nd Hearing
on Shoreline Permit

April 27: Comments to Clallam County are due.
June 7, 1PM: Hearing will be held at Room 160 of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E 4th Street, Port Angeles
General Permit Information: http://websrv2.clallam.net/tm_bin/tmw_cmd.pl?tmw_cmd=ParcelViewParcel&shl_prc_parcel_no=043123XXXXXX

DNR Considers a New Lease 
of Tidelands
Comments Welcome

Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands - cpl@dnr.wa.gov
MS 47001, Olympia, WA 98504-7001
360-902-1004, fax: 360-902-1775

Aquatic Resources Division ard@dnr.wa.gov
MS 47027, Olympia, WA 98504-7027  
360-902-1100, fax: 360-902-1786

What is the purpose of tidelands within a National Wildlife Refuge?
After being abandoned in 2005 due to water quality issues, should Clallam County approve permit for a commercial shellfish development inside a National Wildlife Refuge which would allow over 150,000 synthetic bags growing nonnative oysters on the Refuge tidelands? After a one time renewal of a lease expired in 2017 should the Department of Natural Resources enter into a new lease of those abandoned 50 acres which would allow that portion of state tidelands deeded to the US Department of Fish and Wildlife in the form of an easement be entered into? Those are the critical questions facing the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

Get involved - Sometimes enough is too much.
Noted above are contacts for both the county and for DNR. Make a difference and shape what the future experience of coming generations of wildlife will experience. The US Department of Fish and Wildlife has expressed deep concerns over the impact on the critical habitat which this proposal will have. You should as well, whether for native species; yourself; or future generations. 

Write a letter - Express yourself.
The subject line should say Letter to Editor - What is a National Wildlife Refuge For?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Governor Jay Inslee Signs Into Law Bill Banning Nonnative Finfish Operations in Washington

 [Update 3/23: Tim Eyman has withdrawn his petitions. Whether he will now propose a referendum ending Cooke's leases immediately is unknown.]
“The economic, cultural, and recreational resources of these incredible waters will no longer be jeopardized by the negligent actions of this industry,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker [also thanking  Representative Kristine Lytton for her role]
(See KUOW report on signing here: http://kuow.org/post/atlantic-salmon-farms-banned-8-months-after-great-fish-escape)

Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law EHB2957 which phases out nonnative finfish aquaculture in Puget Sound, including nonnative Atlantic salmon. It was the direct result of Cooke Aquaculture's negligence in maintaining a net pen growing nonnative Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound. That negligence, and resulting escape, crystallized the resistance to these operations which had existed for decades.
(See DNR/WDFW/DOE report here: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/…/aqr_cypress_investigation_report.p…)

The collapse of that net pen had initially begun in July, but the severity of that initial collapse was not relayed to agencies. Instead of emptying the pens at that time, Cooke chose to leave salmon in for an additional month. Before they were able to harvest those salmon, tidal currents (not a storm) collapsed the already damaged net pen, allowing an estimated 250,000 nonnative Atlantic salmon to escape.

Initially, Cooke stated only a few thousand had escaped. Then, perhaps up to 6,000. Then, 160,000. A report from DNR, DOE and WDFW (link above) determined that, in fact, a far greater portion of the population of nonnative fish had escaped. Up to 260,000 of the 305,000 within the pen. In addition, the report alleged Cooke was negligent in not maintaining the nets and pen, allowing marine life to grow on them to such an extent it created resistance beyond which the structure was able to stand up to.

Equally misleading was the response from scientists who claimed research showed these fish would not travel far, remaining in the area of the pens. They were described by one NOAA scientist as couch potatoes, similar to cows lost on the Serengeti.

Instead, these salmon spread throughout the Salish Sea, following their instincts, looking for fresh water. They were found as far as 52 miles up the Skagit River; at the mouth of the Elwha River; and in the Snohomish, Skagit, Skokomish, Campbell and Fraser Rivers. All rivers where spawning native salmon struggle to survive. Swimming over 200 miles, putting in question all other science NOAA used to minimize the risk of these operations.

Citizens in Washington have been averse to nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations in Puget Sound for decades. Attempts by various counties to keep them from their waters were not allowed by the Department of Ecology who claimed they were a water dependent use which had to be permitted.

Cooke Aquaculture should have been well aware of how people felt about these operations when they purchased them from Icicle Seafoods. Instead, all they saw was an inexpensive opportunity (they claim Icicle was near bankrupt) to expand into Washington's clean waters. Instead of choosing not to use pens they knew clearly were in ill repair, they instead pressed on, hoping to squeeze one more harvest from an already damaged net pen. Worse, it was discovered by DNR that the Cypress facility was not the only operation in disrepair, resulting in cancellation of 2 DNR leases, leaving Cooke with 2 remaining, which they will be allowed to use until the leases end (~2022).

Cooke now claims they are the victim of being a Canadian based company, threatening arbitration under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. They point to escapes over 20 years ago when operations were owned by US companies who weren't penalized. To be clear - those escapes did occur. But those companies did not try to hide what happened. They also resulted in much tighter regulatory oversight of these operations, with no escapes happening afterwards. Until Cooke entered the picture.

This has nothing to do with Cooke being Canadian. It is the direct result of decades of additional information on nonnative salmon. It is the direct result of native species in Washington and Canada - whether salmon or Orca - being under far greater pressure. It is the direct result of Washington's citizens caring so much for endangered native species that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to support and restore those native species. Cooke did not have their eyes on the ball.

Now, Tim Eyman appears from nowhere and claims he wants to have Washington's citizens vote on a referendum which will overturn the bill just signed into law by Governor Inslee. Cooke claims they have nothing to do with it. That may be true, but Mr. Eyman has never pursued environmental referendums, choosing to focus on taxes. Some claim only on being paid to collect signatures.

What is likely true is that should Mr. Eyman decide - for whatever his reasons are - to pursue a referendum, Cooke Aquaculture will likely find itself facing a separate referendum, one which demands these leases still held be ended now, and not allowed to run out in 2022. Not because they are Canadian, but because Washington's citizens do not want nonnative Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound any longer than they have to be.

You can thank Governor Inslee for his support of native species here:


Monday, March 19, 2018

NE Canada's Growing Atlantic Salmon ISA Virus Problem: Hatcheries and net pen operations found to be infected.

Should consumers know the farmed salmon
they are buying are infected with the ISA Virus?

3 out of 5 begins to show a pattern.
For the 3rd time in 5 months Cooke Aquaculture's salmon in an open net pen operation in Newfoundland near Gaultois have been found to be infected with Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISA Virus). Symptoms of the infection are seen and described above, and in the picture below. If the fish are of marketable size, as the most recently harvested salmon were, these ISA virus infected fish are sold to the public but are not required to be labeled as being infected.

Now there's some beautiful pink salmon flesh.

Infected hatchery facilities worrisome - "odd" "unheard of".
Earlier this month, preceding the most recent announcement and harvest by Cooke Aquaculture of ISA virus infected fish from Newfoundland's waters, was a reported an ISA virus infection in two upland and isolated hatcheries in nearby Nova Scotia. An estimated 750,000 fish had to be destroyed as they were too small to sell. UnderCurrentNews (an industry news publication) said fish in an isolated upland facility becoming infected is considered to be "odd" or even "unheard of". 

Not all infections created equally.
Of importance to note is the difference between the hatchery infection and the open net pen infection which Cooke Aquaculture is dealing with. The hatchery facility is isolated from the marine ecosystem whereas Cooke's infected fish are not separated from the marine ecosystem. That nexus of infection and spread of virus created by this open net pen operation is of far greater risk to the few remaining native Atlantic salmon in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Whether the hatchery infection may indicate a source further "upstream" is unknown at this time. What is known is native Atlantic salmon are at risk in Canada's waters from this virus, fatal in up to 90% of the salmon which contract it. The risk to people from eating the infected salmon is supposed to be minimal.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NOAA: "We don't tell [fish] farmers what to grow." It's a state issue - for good reason.

Those representing Washington's
citizens overwhelmingly passed EHB2957 to
phase out nonnative Atlantic salmon 
net pen operations. 

What could go wrong with NOAA involved?

Proposed "Ocean farming" 
Easy permitting, no guidance on what to grow. In part, it's why the Center for Food Safety is suing NOAA.
See papers file by CFS here:
Support CFS here:
https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/donate/5285/support-cfss-legal-action-fundupport CFS here:

NOAA: “We don’t tell [fish] farmers what to farm” "NOAA filed a final rule implementing the nation’s first comprehensive regulatory program for aquaculture in federal waters." (Michael Rust, NOAA, Salmon Business, 3/9)

On risks of farmed salmon escapes.
The same NOAA who said escaped Atlantic salmon were "couch potatoes" and were like escaped cows on the Serengeti, unlikely to go anywhere. Instead, these nonnative "cows" swam over 200 miles and were found swimming upstream in the Puyallup, Skagit and Snohomish Rivers.

Get involved. Encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957, phasing out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations, passed overwhelmingly by those who represent the citizens of Washington state. As Michael Rust and others at NOAA have said, this is a state issue. For good reason.
Email the Governor here:
Phone the Governor here: 360-902-4111

Friday, March 9, 2018

Native Salmon Matter More: It's what the Elwah River is being restored for.

Native salmon matter more.
Encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957, phasing out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations. Contrary to old NOAA science, these nonnatives are a risk, traveling throughout the Salish Sea basin, not staying near the pens waiting to be fed as NOAA scientists claimed they would be. 
Email: https://www.governor.wa.gov/…/con…/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Phone: 360-902-4111
The new cycle of life begins.

In pictures released by the Coastal Watershed Institute are seen why >$300 million was spent to remove dams and restore habitat on the Elwah River: For native species begin a new life cycle.

This is what the northwest's heritage
and culture is based on. They are why
West Coast values are important.

Restoration was not for nonnative Atlantic salmon, mistakenly described by NOAA "scientists" as being like "cows on the Serengeti" which would not travel beyond their pen areas. Those "cows" have traveled over 200 miles to the Skagit; Puyallup; Elwah; and Skykomish Rivers, and into Canada. That is reality, not a paper on someone's desk.
NOAA researcher Michael Rust told the Seattle Times this release of around 5,000 [now at ~250,000] salmon should not harm the environment: “These things are kind of couch potatoes. They are domesticated. Imagine a dairy cow getting lost out in the Serengeti." Forbes, August 24, 2017
One of the many one ton bags of pellets

dumped into Puget Sound to feed Atlantic salmon.
Some will be eaten, a portion "pooped" by salmon,
some will simply drift off.

These net pen operations are not shellfish. They do not filter the water. They instead use the public waters to throw tons of pellets into the water, some simply drifting in the ecosystem, some coming out of the salmon to also drift in the ecosystem. They are additive, with one pen estimated at one hearing to be the equivalent of the septic discharge of a city of 60,000 people.

Welcome to 2018. It's time for a change.
And it's not because Cooke Aquaculture is Canadian.
This is 2018, not 1999, when the last significant escape of nonnative salmon occurred. Native salmon and Southern Resident Orcas are at greater risk now than they ever have been, far more than in 1999, almost 2 decades ago. It is why it is now time to phase out net pen operations, additive to the risks at many levels. It has nothing to do with whether the current operator is Canadian or not. It is because things change over 20 years. That is reality, not an alternative fact and why Washington residents want nonnative Atlantic salmon removed.

Get involved and encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957. It is on his desk. Cooke Aquaculture is spending close to $100,000 - likely much more - to convince him otherwise.
Email: https://www.governor.wa.gov/…/con…/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Phone: 360-902-4111

Monday, March 5, 2018

Atlantic Salmon Open Net Pen Farming: Lessons from Scotland for Washington to Learn From

Scottish Parliamentary committee releases report
on Atlantic salmon net pen farming impacts on
Scotland's marine ecosystem and native species.
Read report here: https://t.co/8dMmWAt5ez

Encourage Governor Inslee to sign into law EHB2957, phasing out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pens. We do not need to become another Scotland.

Impacts from Atlantic Net Pen Farming in Scotland should not be replicated here. 
A hard earned lesson from Scotland to Washington: March 4th, the Scottish Parliament's environment committee released a report  on the impacts from Atlantic salmon open net pen farming in Scotland. It only serves to reinforce why Governor Inslee should sign EHB2957, a bill phasing out Atlantic net pen farming in Washington's waters, to prevent what's happening in Scotland now from occurring here.
(Read the report here: https://t.co/8dMmWAt5ez)

BBC: "the marine ecosystem is at risk if environmental concerns are not addressed."

The National: "Plans to expand salmon farming could cause “irrecoverable damage” to the environment, MSPs say."

The Herald: "committee has said it is “deeply concerned” about the environmental impact of the salmon farming industry in a damning new report."

Shetland News: "Damning salmon industry report warns of 'irrecoverable' environmental damage"

Be thankful citizens and elected representatives stood up and said this will not happen here, and passed EHB2957 which will phase out nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen operations. After Governor Inslee has signed the bill into law, all will have prevented Puget Sound from becoming the next Scotland. 

Get involved: Encourage Governor Inslee to sign EHB2957 into law.

It's time to move on from the elders and move into the future.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Highest Astronomical Tide Line? Pacific County Shoreline Master Program Update Questioned

60 days to appeal Pacific County's SMP update, starting from January 17.

HATs off to the County Commissioners
January 17 Pacific County's SMP update was accepted. Some are now wondering how it was that one area of Pacific County's shoreline is defined as being at the "Highest Astronomical Tide" (HAT) line, and other areas are the Ordinary High Water, typically defined as the average of the highest of the high tides. Two Districts, those represented by Commissioners Ayers and Rogers, do not have that definition (HAT) adapted.

Shifting lines in the sand, shifting times.
The difference can, in some cases, be very significant, impacting where buffer lines are set and developments occur. Using the Department of Ecology's definition, the line is towards the water, in essence providing upland owners a larger parcel and buffers beginning further towards the water. In the case of the HAT, that line is where the highest tide of the year (or perhaps decade, or maybe within the National Tidal Datum Epoch period - an 18 year period of time) is. How one determines that is a surveyor's dream, as they will have to spend hours researching the topography of the land and the cycles of the moon/sun to determine just where that line is. Or wait all year for the highest tide (assuming it is an annual event they are talking about).

Making waves in a storm.
To compound the problem, there is an issue over whether the line being pushed even higher by waves needs to be considered. If one is able to determine the HAT line, what happens if there is a storm which shows the water is actually rising higher? And what if there happens to be a low pressure event offshore which coincides with the HAT, in turn, pushing that line even higher?

Get involved. The seemingly arbitrary adoption of shorelines in two districts being defined as the Highest Astronomical Tide is going to cause Pacific County and property owners challenges as they move forward.

(SMP change from Dan Driscoll, Oysterville Seafarms at 360-244-0736)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cooke Aquaculture's Omega Protein Complains of Chesapeake Bay Forage Fish Catch Limits

Chesapeake Bay's Threat to Menhaden Forage Fish 
Just got Even Bigger
Thanks to Cooke Aquaculture

Cooke's Omega wants more and suggest Virginia just not adapt new catch limits to go "out of compliance" to help it.
Cooke Aquaculture's Omega Protein - the largest harvester of forage fish in Chesapeake Bay - now wants more, claiming they got "a raw deal" when the new catch limits were recently put in place. Cooke is now suggesting Virginia go out of compliance with the regulations set in place to get a "fair hearing". leaving one more odd milestone in this Canadian based company's legacy. (see news report here)

We need Omega 3 in Puget Sound
for our nonnative Atlantic salmon.

Omega 3 Menhaden obtain from filtering plankton/algae in Cheapeake Bay is needed elsewhere, and Cooke wants more.
Cooke Aquaculture uses forage fish, in part, to feed its worldwide farmed salmon operations which include, in part, those in Puget Sound, growing nonnative Atlantic salmon. The forage fish are needed in order to create the Omega 3 fatty acids farmed salmon are advertised as providing. Not advertised is the huge volume of forage fish, the base of the food chain relied on by other species. Equally important, perhaps more so, is this particular forage fish - Menhaden - are also filter the largest volume of plankton from Chesapeake Bay.

A pig farm is cleaner than a fish farm.
These salmon farm operations exist in the public's open waters. Unlike a pig or chicken farm, where waste is contained and recycled, all waste from a salmon farm simply drifts in the marine ecosystem, wherever the tides may carry it. Whether excess food not consumed or the feces discharged by the fish, the amounts are in the tons. At a recent Senate hearing, it was estimated that one net pen discharged the same amount of waste as a city of 60,000. In the case of Puget Sound, an estimated 250,000 "pigs" escaped into the marine ecosystem when Cooke Aquaculture's negligence led to the collapse of one pen.

Is it any wonder people are upset with Cooke Aquaculture? Tell your elected official these nonnative Atlantic salmon need to go.
Legislative and Congressional contacts:

Friday, February 2, 2018

Willapa Bay and Imidacloprid: EPA Risk Assessment Released December 22, After DOE Closes Public Comments

Willapa Bay is Too Important
Don't allow another problem like the escape 
of Atlantic salmon to occur. It can be stopped now.
This is a public body of water 
for all of the public to enjoy.

You can't have a food chain without a foundation.
After public comments closed on November 1, of  2017, the EPA released its preliminary risk assessment on imidacloprid on December 22. Shellfish growers in Willapa Bay wish to apply imidacloprid directly to the waters and shellfish beds of Willapa Bay. In the EPA's assessment, a clear risk to aquatic organisms was shown, due to imidacloprid's persistence and how it spread throughout the aquatic ecosystem once it entered. Those aquatic organisms make up the very base of the food chain which species build on, causing a cascading effect on the aquatic food web. [Click here to see EPA's risk assessment, dated December 22.]

Critical points made in the report released December 22, after DOE closed the comment period on November 1.
1. "...aquatic invertebrates in particular are highly sensitive to imidacloprid exposure." (p. 7)
2. "...the potential exists for indirect risks to fish and aquatic-phase amphibians through reduction in their invertebrate prey base." (p. 8)
3. "Chronic risks were also identified for saltwater invertebrates from all foliar spray and combination application method scenarios modeled." (p. 8) [Note: The assessment did not look at the direct application of imidacloprid to the aquatic ecosystem proposed by the shellfish industry.]
4. "The vast majority of use scenarios modeled with soil applications also indicated chronic risk concerns with freshwater and saltwater invertebrates" (p. 8) [Note: Same as above - direct application to the marine environment was not looked at.]
5. "...concentrations of imidacloprid detected in streams, rivers, lakes and drainage canals routinely exceed acute and chronic toxicity endpoints derived for freshwater invertebrates...' (p. 9) [Note: There has been no testing on widespread application to aquatic environments such as that proposed by shellfish growers, only small sample areas.]
6. "the risk findings summarized in this assessment are in general agreement with recent findings published by Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the European Food Safety Authority." (p. 10) [Note: Preceding this comment in the report was mortality of crayfish due to a "run off event". Again, this was not a direct application to the aquatic ecosystem as proposed by the shellfish growers in Willapa Bay.] 
7. "...environmental fate properties of imidacloprid suggest high mobility and solubility" (p. 11)
8. "Aquatic invertebrates, specifically aquatic insects, have been shown to be among the most sensitive taxa to acute and chronic exposures of imidacloprid" (p.11)
9. "...new aquatic toxicity data has been generated for imidacloprid since the Agency conducted its most recent ecological risk assessments..." (p. 12) [Some from Willapa Bay, some generated from a scientists found in violation of state ethics laws for not disclosing, in part, his ownership of shellfish beds and a contractual relationship with one of the largest shellfish growers who would benefit if  studies of herbicide application showed positive results. Click here to read agreed to stipulation.

Get involved
Willapa Bay is a public body of water within which a diverse set of aquatic species exist. The Department of Ecology's denial or approval of this permit is dependent on having a clear picture of what the short term and long term impacts of this proposal will be. As noted in the EPA assessment, aquatic invertebrates are "highly sensitive" to imidacloprid. These make up the very base of the food chain upon which a larger population depends on.  The assessment showed there was "high mobility and solubility" in the marine environment, meaning it very likely when applied this pesticide would spread and kill an unknown number of non-target species. 

Shellfish Growers Have Alternatives to Pesticides in Public Waters
Washington's marine ecosystems are too important to simply brush aside the very real adverse and significant impacts which come along with aquaculture, which in this case is the proposal to apply a pesticide to Willapa Bay's public waters. There are funding opportunities to develop alternative growing methods (already used by some growers) which the National Marine Fisheries Services pointed out in their November 1 public comment letter, which opposed approval of this permit. Those funding sources include NMFS' Saltonstal-Kennedy Grant Program; NOAA Sea Grant's Marine Aquaculture Grant Program; NOAA Small Business innovation Research Program; and, NMFS' Finance Program. 

Tell your elected officials you are opposed to the application of pesticides in Willapa Bay. The shellfish industry has both alternative methods and funding to develop those methods available.

Elected representatives:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Problems for a little fish and Chesapeake Bay just got a lot bigger: Cooke Aquaculture is after you.

Vertical integration: Good for profits, 
bad for Menhaden and Chesapeake Bay.

Cooke Aquaculture - coming after 
a forage fish near you with 
ships bigger and better than ever.

Dust to Dust
150 tons of fish, much reduced to pellets...
...with much fed to salmon in net pens...
..with just the right amount of coloring added...
...to make them look like real fish.

One of two new ships built,
bigger and faster...
...to harvest Menhaden to support farmed salmon.

Menhaden - The filter feeders 
of Chesapeake Bay filtering...
...or running from Cooke Aquaculture?

Where Omega Protein's 
sets for Menhaden are taking place (2011).
Is it any wonder Chesapeake Bay
has an overabundance of plankton
when its most prolific filter feeders
are being stripped from it? 

Problems for a little fish and Chesapeake Bay
are now a lot bigger - just to feed farmed salmon. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Cooke Aquaculture and Atlantic Salmon: Cooke's Shiny Shoes are in Town for Meetings with Politicians - While another of their pens collapses.

Get involved and meet the politicians. Cooke is.
And they don't get why they and Atlantic salmon are a problem.
(See below for information on January 19 meeting.)
(See below for unfolding net pen collapse in Canada.)
[Net pen collapse story updated 1/12.]

Turn on the political machine - promise them anything.
Executives from Cooke Aquaculture have descended on Olympia to confront politicians and agencies about proposed legislation and lease cancellations which are aimed at removing these invasive  nonnative Atlantic salmon from Puget Sound. Along with their shiny shoes they have brought their lobbyists and have placed an advertisement on Craigslist, both promoting their business and looking for a Public Relations employee who is capable of fostering political and societal relationships.
Eclipse? No, negligence on Cooke's part
in not maintaining their facility.
(see below for "Net Pen Collapse - Part 2")

What Best Management Practices and Science will Get You
Four months ago Cooke blamed the "eclipse" on their net pen failure. A structure they knew was failing when they applied for a permit to replace it in early 2017. A structure which began to collapse in July. A structure which they initially claimed only let loose a few thousand Atlantic salmon, which in reality turned out to be over 160,000. 160,000 salmon they claimed - based on "science" - would not leave the pen area and quickly die off, but which over four months later are being caught over 50 miles up the Skagit River, healthy, and most certainly not dead. So much for BMP and science created to support this industry.

Put on your darned glasses and 
see this company for what it really is.
Profits are their priority.

But They Like us on the East Coast - Really? Who do you talk to?
Cooke Aquaculture still cannot fathom why their operations are such an issue to Washington State. Testimony before the Senate Committee clearly showed a prioritization of their profits over the threat to native salmon their operations present. Cooke even went so far as to testify how wonderful they were on the east coast, knowing full well they are not liked. Permit applications have resulted in these comments from their "friends": pesticides kill lobsters; antibiotics used spread through the marine ecosystem; property values are decreased; dead zones are created under their pens; resources are wasted due to deaths of salmon; a lack of "good citizenship"; and, Cooke plead guilty to illegally dumping Cypermethrin pesticide, killing thousands of lobsters (read article on how "unliked" Cooke is here). Cooke certainly has friends, those who are recipients of token donations to fund various social causes, but that only serves to mask the reality of who Cooke is.

"Give us $25 million and we'll 
build a processing plant - 300+ jobs"
Never mind.

Cooke: We had our fingers crossed when we made that promise. Thanks for the money.
Cooke is a company who will say anything to get what it wants. In 2012 Nova Scotia agreed to lend Cooke Aquaculture $25 million. With those funds, Cooke said they would build a processing plant and provide 300+ jobs. $18 million later, Cooke abandoned those plans and nobody seems to sure of just where that $18 million went to.
[Update: $2 million of the $18 million was returned. Of the $16 million outstanding, it was reported $4 million may be excusable. http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/109644-n.s.-invests-25-million-in-fish-farm?page=1]

Another Cooke net pen bites the dust.
Trust us. Really?

January 11: Another Cooke Aquaculture pen collapses.
Now, unfolding on Canada's east coast is another net pen collapse and what appears to be another series of "there there, it's okay, you just go back to bed" statements from Cooke and the government. After a series of storms blew through the area, canopy predator netting was ripped loose; anchor lines broke; structures collapsed; and fish have likely escaped.

Get involved and plan on attending the January 19 meeting detailed below. This is a company whose past actions show its true face. They need to go.
We are (gratefully) forwarding this post from NetPen Aquaculture-Washington state (https://www.facebook.com/netpenaquaculture/:
ATLANTIC SALMON NET PEN MEETING with Washington's 24th District Senator Kevin Van De Wege & Representative Mike Chapman.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 2018 4-5 PM Sequim City Transit Center, 190 W Cedar St., Sequim, WA 98382
The purpose of the meeting is to hear about aquaculture bill language being discussed in the Legislature.
The meeting will be from 4 - 5 PM at the Sequim City Transit Center, 190 West Cedar Street between Sequim-Dungeness Avenue and 2nd Street. Doors will open at 3:30 PM.
Currently there are three different bills, 1 in the Senate and 2 in the House, all focusing on 'Atlantic Salmon' net pens.
SB 6086 (sponsored by Rankin, Rolfes, Van De Wege, et al.) - "AN ACT Relating to protecting the state's marine waters from the release of nonnative finfish from marine finfish aquaculture sites." http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/…/Bil…/Senate%20Bills/6086.pdf
HB 2418 (sponsored by Lytton, Chapman, et al.) - "AN ACT Relating to reducing impacts of nonnative finfish aquaculture by delaying construction of new nonnative finfish aquaculture facilities until thorough study, including structural analysis of existing facilities, is complete." http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/…/Bills/House%20Bills/2418.pdf
HB 2260 (sponsored by MacEwen, Walsh, et al. - of the 19th District.) - "AN ACT Relating to prohibiting the spawning, incubation, and cultivation of Atlantic salmon in the marine waters regulated by the state." http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/.../House%20Bills/2260.pdf.
The Senate Bill 6086 language would phase-out the pens as their leases expire.
The House Bill 2418 first asks for more study and for the leaseholder to show there is no environmental harm.
The House Bill 2260 is a prohibition on the species of Atlantic Salmon being used in aquaculture in Washington.
Senator VanDeWege and Representative Chapman are both concerned about the impacts of the Atlantic salmon net pens to the environment.
This meeting is a good chance for our legislators to explain the differences in the bills and for them to hear from us.

CWI submitted these comments yesterday:

Bottom line: we *don't* need more study, we *don't* need more (ineffective and expensive) agency ‘monitoring’ or 'consideration' of net pens. Science clearly tells us, and we KNOW these industrial aquaculture activities are lethal to our coastal systems and must NOT continue. We further know that that there is a win­-win alternative: UPLAND CONTAINED systems. If it costs the industry a bit more to develop the technology so be it. The tax payers of Washington state have invested enormous public dollars to restoring and preserving our native ecosystem. Please be the leaders you were elected to be, stand up, as have Alaska, Oregon and California and immediately limit net pen to upland contained facility ONLY. Legislators should update BILL 6086-and all other bills proposed- to ban net pens from Washington shorelines and require that these facilities be converted to closed system upland aquaculture facilities effective NOW.

Anne Shaffer, PhD
Coastal Watershed Institute
P.O.Box 266
Port Angeles, Washington 98362

"It's life.For heaven's sake-lean forward"