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, January 29, 2016

Olympic Forest Coalition Files Clean Water Act Suit Against Coast Seafood

Discharging 25,920 gallons per hour,*
Coast Seafoods should be required
to apply for a discharge permit.

It's not grandma's hatchery anymore.

Did you notice my Notice?
Following a Notice of Intent to File Suit sent to Coast Seafoods, dated October 20, 2015, the Olympic Forest Coalition  has followed through and filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Coast Seafoods. In the papers filed, OFC claims Coast Seafoods is illegally discharging waste water through pipes and culverts into Quilcene Bay without a discharge permit. Coast Seafoods claims as they are a hatchery facility, they are exempt.

Wiegardt Brothers Pleads Guilty
to Clean Water Act Violation
in Willapa Bay
Pristine waters of Willapa Bay?

Do you really care about clean water?
This suit follows a plea of guilty by the Wiegardt Brothers* shellfish company last June, in Willapa Bay, for violating the Clean Water Act. In that case the shellfish company was accused of violating conditions of its discharge permit, resulting in a $100,000 fine and a $75,000 community service fee. Unlike shellfish hatcheries, in the case of Wiegardt Brothers, their processing facility was required to have a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Conditions of that permit required specific samples to be taken from a specific spot which were not done for a period of almost 2 years. (*Wiegardt Brothers is one of the shellfish companies wanting to spray imidacloprid on shellfish beds in Willapa Bay, with Ken Wiegardt being the one who has signed the new permit application January 8, 2016.)

A non-point discharge?
We see what we want.

It's a factory, not a nursery. It discharges waste water through pipes. That water is not as clean as what is drawn in. This facility needs a permit.
Modern shellfish hatcheries are not benign operations of days gone by. In the case of Coast Seafoods, OFC claims water entering the facility from Puget Sound does not exit the facility in the same state. They point to chemicals being added to buffer the water; antibiotics being added to kill bacteria; phytoplankton being added; water temperature being changed; and, chlorine-based chemicals being added. And water discharged containing all of it, impacting Quilcene Bay.

Control their discharges, but not mine. 
The shellfish industry does not like being regulated. They have the motivation and the money to hire well paid attorneys and marine biologists willing to create studies painting a picture which is not reality. They are altering the marine ecosystems of Washington's waters and what the Shoreline Management Act and the Clean Water Act were intended to regulate. Get involved. They are.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Governor Inslee Announces Phase 2 of Washington Shellfish Initiative: No New Money, No Budget

Governor Inslee and Bill Dewey,
Taylor Shellfish 

Phase 2 To Begin
The San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate writes about Governor Inslee announcing Phase 2 of the Washington Shellfish Initiative to shellfish growers at National and Oyster Company in Olympia, WA. Started in 2011 by then Governor Gregoire at the urging of Washington shellfish growers, the program has been used to fund research on Ocean Acidification, water pollution, expand and promote the shellfish industry, and restore native populations of shellfish. Phase 2 will carry on and add to those initiatives (called the "Phase 2 Work Plan").

No new state money, but no mention of current state monies expended.
Govenor Inslee's press release states there will be "no new state money," but does not say what is currently being spent to support the program and shellfish industry. Both state and federal monies are currently being used to fund the various programs initiated by then Governor Gregoire, and now carried forward by Governor Inslee.

Research and testing, at a cost, partially offset.
One of the goals is to include additional research into harmful algae blooms, currently costing the state an estimated $800,000 for biotoxin testing alone. Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) testing is a separate program funded by the state for shellfish growers, in addition to testing for fecal coliform. Some expense is partially offset by fees charged to those involved in harvesting shellfish, including $10,670 to Washington's Department of Natural Resources. (See WAC 246-282-990 for additional details.)

Environmental concerns.
The article notes concerns expressed by environmentalists to the expansion of shellfish farming and its impacts on Puget Sound, Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Concerns include the application of chemicals to shellfish beds and waters, plastic and PVC used by growers which "escapes", cumulative impacts of small adjacent farms becoming large contiguous operations, and the spread of non-native species.

Numbers generated by industry are unclear - if not unknown.
The article notes the shellfish industry generated "revenues" of $150 million in 2013 and "contributed" $184 million in 2010. A $300,000 study from the University of Washington estimated 2013 revenues at $92 million. A 2011 release  estimated "total economic contribution" at $270 million. This in comparison to the fruit tree industry generating an estimated $5.6 billion and commercial fishing up to $3.48 billion.

It's election time.
See the entire outline of Govenor Inslee's Shellfish Intiative at his website, located here:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Willapa Bay's Nisbet Oyster/Goose Point - "We know shellfish." We know where it comes from.

Better than fiction.

Box End 1
"sustainably harvested from clean cold waters
of the Northwest Pacfic Ocean"
Quiz: Where is shellfish from the 
"northwest" Pacific Ocean grown?
(from Goose Point's "Steamers in 5" packaging)

Box End 2
Answer: "Sustainably farm raised product 
of China or Taiwan."
Pristine waters? Hard to know.

Waters are not "pristine" when you are spraying pesticides and herbicides into them.
Nisbet family owned Nisbet Oyster/Goose Point Oyster from Willapa Bay "knows shellfish." Better put, they know how to market shellfish. First, you don't tell people the shellfish you sell have come from waters and tidelands which have been sprayed with Carbaryl for decades. Then, because Carbaryl was found to be carcinogenic, you and other growers tell the public the neurotoxin imidacloprid is "better." This, the same week that its manufacturer, Bayer, announces the EPA's science showing imidacloprid a risk to be sound. Finally, assume people won't read the end labels of your product telling consumers the shellfish you sell are from China or Taiwan, even though it technically is the "northwest" region of the Pacific Ocean.

Time to stop.
Shellfish growers in Willapa Bay need to stop pressing for the continued application of chemicals into what they describe as a "pristine" waterway. If long line poles are falling over because mud shrimp are burrowing down 2 feet then get longer poles. It's not rocket science.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Willapa Bay Oyster Growers to the Public: You've been eating oysters sprayed with pesticides for 50 years. If you don't let us continue, we'll sue you!

Is it time to stop buying oysters
grown in Willapa Bay?

Now you tell me?
With help from their public relations firms and attorneys, Willapa Bay oyster growers are now letting consumers of oysters grown in Willapa Bay know they have been eating oysters which have been filtering pesticides they have been spraying Willapa Bay with for decades. As reported in the PI:
For 50 years, growers sprayed large quantities of the pesticide carbaryl onto tidelands
You don't like to consume oysters grown in waters sprayed with pesticides? We'll sue you and force you to like them! 
It is now being reported that if the Department of Ecology does not re-issue the permit, which the shellfish growers themselves asked to be withdrawn last May, they may sue. ("In a letter Friday that may presage a lawsuit, Willapa/Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association attorney Douglas Steding said his clients face a dramatic loss to their livelihoods if they can’t spray the tidelands soon.")
Lost on the shellfish growers is that threat alone may very well cause them more economic harm than changing their growing methods. As noted in the article, alternative methods are being used:
Hanging oyster baskets and platforms aren’t impacted by the burrowing shrimp.
Time to read your local paper and move on, not spend money threatening frivolous law suits or creating strained "public relation" events.
After the growers asked the permit to spray imidacloprid be withdrawn, the Chinook Observer wrote an article about how the shellfish industry needed to change. In that article, they reminded the shellfish growers of their responses to the over harvesting of Olympia oysters and the die-off of Eastern oysters, which they had thought would replace the native species. They wrote:
This weekend’s sudden collapse of a long-made plan to use the pesticide imidacloprid to kill burrowing shrimp could be one of the landmark events in the industrial history of the bay, perhaps on par with the decimation of native Shoalwater oysters in the late 19th century and the systemic failure of introduced Eastern oysters a couple decades later. These were grim events, both in terms of personal finances and the ecosystem of the bay, with causes and effects too complex to easily encapsulate here. But, importantly, the overall industry eventually did find ways to move forward. Despite difficulties now and then, the Pacific oysters brought from Japan starting in 1902 have made Washington’s industry the largest in the U.S.
If Taylor Shellfish can do it so can you.
Taylor Shellfish has stated they understand consumers do not want oysters grown in waters sprayed with imidacloprid so will not do it. Instead, they will use alternative growing methods. As written in the Seattle Times, May 2:
After receiving calls, emails and social-media comments from customers all day Friday, Washington’s largest shellfish producer [Taylor Shellfish] has announced it will not treat its oyster beds with a controversial pesticide [imidacloprid].

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Willapa Bay: Shellfish Growers Claim they had Only "Paused" Imidacloprid Permit, Not Withdrawn It

Monster from the Deep
The native shrimp, or the hand holding it?
screen shot from KOMO News broadcast
Bad timing.
Two days following the EPA agreeing imidacloprid has played a role in honey bee die-offs, and despite recent studies suggesting "...neonic [imidacloprid] pesticides may also harm birds, butterflies, and water-borne invertebrates", the hand of Willapa Bay shellfish growers has risen from the sediments again with claims of "family farms" being unable to survive without being able to use the neurotoxin on shellfish beds. (see article on EPA press release in Mother Jones) This, despite Willapa Bay shellfish grower Taylor Shellfish (a "5th generation family farm") being opposed to the use of the neurotoxin.

From Mother Jones, January 7
KOMO's story
KOMO News has released a story on how shellfish growers in Willapa Bay now claim they did not "withdraw" or cancel the permit to apply the neurotoxin imidacloprid to shellfish beds, only "paused" it. They have now asked to redefine "withdrawn" and use the word "paused" instead and have the permit approved again.

What attorneys get paid to ask:
What is the definition of is? Or in this case, "withdrawn."
(screen shot from KOMO News)
The "heritage of Washington" is not polluting its waters with neurotoxins. It is preventing them from being used in its waters.
The attorney representing shellfish growers in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor claims use of this neurotoxin is about "family farms" and the "heritage of Washington". Not application of a neurotoxin shown to have devastating effects on bee colonies, and more importantly, native aquatic species.
Shellfish attorney Doug Steding, paid to
redefine what's asked.

(screen shot from KOMO News)
The Department of Ecology needs to look beyond what is spoon fed to them by the shellfish growers and their attorneys.
The Department of Ecology now says "...we just don't know" what studies will show. It may be the current studies are correct, which show that imidacloprid and "...neonicotinoids represent a significant risk to surface waters and the diverse aquatic and terrestrial fauna that these ecosystems support." (from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25454246)

Department of Ecology: "We just don't know."
Paid to explain why the permit was
 approved in the first place and what
a re-issuance may mean.
(screen shot from KOMO News)
Everybody smile - the camera's on.
PR photos are nice, but they really don't show the reality of what the shellfish growers are doing to the intertidal areas. Every business wants to make a profit, but sometimes it turns out the way that profit is made is not in the state-wide interest nor the long-term benefit to aquatic ecosystems. Shellfish growers need to adapt to the reality of what their consumers want: shellfish grown in pristine waters, not a chemical soup which has lessens the diversification of species so they may make more money.

Shellfish growers out for a walk,
looking for somewhere to step and sink.
(screen shot from KOMO News)
Let loose the PR
Get involved. January 15, from 2 to 4 PM, Governor Inslee will meet with shellfish growers and others to discuss Washington's "Shellfish Initiate" at National Fish and Oyster, 5028 Meridian Rd NE, Olympia, WA. You can also contact him and legislators here to tell them how you feel about pesticides in Washington's tidelands:
Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:

Friday, January 8, 2016

Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Sponsors Ecosystem Photo Contest - Shell Oil Enters

Oil prices are down so anything helps.
Shell Oil, co-sponsor of a lobbying dinner with shellfish growers in Washington DC, offers its entry to the photo contest currently being held by the Pacific Shellfish Growers Association, asking for photos showing how aquaculture gear provides "ecosystem services" through providing habitat and structure. The prize is $100. It is believed Shell has been told there is no conflict of interest.

Beat that structure and habitat!

Invitation only - oil and oysters.

Off damned species, off I say!
Shell Oil feels their gear is actually a better example of "gear" providing habitat and structure, as it typically remains in place for decades. As seen in the photo below, Taylor Shellfish has other ideas about what to do with those species which happen to take a liking to their shellfish "structure" - take a street sweeper to it and remove it.

"But I thought structure = habitat and a place to grow?"
Not to sound exclusionary, you have to be the right species
to be allowed to grow on this structure.

Who needs a landfill? Call it structure.

Get involved. The shellfish industry is and their pictures don't tell the true story.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

UW To Map Puget Sound's Bedlands - Should also Map Intertidal Area

KCTS9 has written about and created a video of how the University of Washington has begun to map the bedlands (subtidal area) of Puget Sound, something which has not been done to any great extent. If the University of Washington is going to promote expansion of shellfish aquaculture throughout Puget Sound's intertidal areas they should prioritize that project. How can anyone plan if they don't know how many acres of what shoreline types there are?

Get involved and tell your elected officials that it's time to compile intertidal information of Puget Sound before any expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture occurs.

Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Update on Detienne Geoduck Farm Permit Appeal

Get involved.

Released by those opposed to the proposal to site a geoduck farm on the Detienne subtidal parcel where one of the few eelgrass beds in south Puget Sound exist. The reversal of Pierce County issuing a permit by the Shorelines Hearings Board, followed with agreement by the Superior Court, is being appealed.

Hello Friends & Neighbors.  Happy New Year!
Please take a moment to read the attached letter [see letter here] from the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound which identifies progress and goals for 2016. One of the goals is to continue efforts in support of the Washington State Shorelines Hearings Board and Superior Court order which reverses the Pierce County permit to build out the deTienne geoduck operation in Henderson Bay. 
As you may know, the deTienne case has now moved on to appeals court with briefs due January 8th. The attorney writing the brief is optimistic in prevailing again, however this comes at a cost. We are grateful for all that you and the Coalition have provided in both effort and funds in 2015. Due to your support this fight has gained protections not only for Henderson Bay but for Puget Sound. Please see what you can do at this time to keep that momentum going. 
How you can help?
+ Donate. 
You can donate online to the Coalition at their site http://coalitiontoprotectpugetsoundhabitat.org/ 
Or you may send your check to THE COALITION at PO BOX 233 BURLEY WA 98322
Buy sustainable seafood. 
Know where and how your seafood is produced. What industry practices does your favorite seafood restaurants/supermarkets allow like pesticide/herbicide use?
+ Help dispel the MYTHS 
From the Coalition document, with references: Dispelling the Myths of "The Benefits of Shellfish Aquaculture".

MYTH #1:   the great myth that "shellfish will clean up our waterways"  
There are no studies in Washington state that verify this statement. Pollution must be stopped or removed at the source. 

MYTH #2:    "shellfish aquaculture creates beneficial habitat & species diversity"                     
According to the industry's own management practices, many native species are considered pests, intentionally excluded or killed. Are plastic nets and tubes blanketing our tidelands really going to improve marine habitat for the long term? [Added: Creation of habitat means nothing if that habitat has first transformed the natural ecosystem and, worse, is destroyed every time harvesting occurs. Does replanting a clear cut old growth forest create habitat?]

MYTH #3:   "cultivated geoduck is important for our economy" 
Over 90% of the geoduck cultivated in Washington State is sent over seas, the state receives very little revenue.  [Added: Tidelands converted to aquaculture production are not taxed at their "best use" value. No research shows the expenses incurred by taxpayers for the benefit of the shellfish industry are offset in any meaningful way.]

MYTH #4:   "shellfish industry provides a critical source of jobs"
When compared to other businesses or industries, their jobs numbers are relatively small and these are not high paying jobs. [Added: Mechanization currently underway will eliminate a large number of jobs, just as was done in the timber industry. Further, these jobs are in the worst possible conditions and provide no transferable skills, locking these workers into a life of low paid labor.]

MYTH #5:   "shellfish cultivation is a sustainable use of our aquatic environment"
Sustainability depends upon a healthy natural environment, not just a focus on what sustains an industry. Let's not let industry redefine the term.

MYTH #6:   "shellfish industry provides a good stewardship of the aquatic environment"
Allowed to modify habitat, spray herbicides/pesticides into waterways and on tidelands placing native species such as eelgrass (the bread and butter of the marine environment) in jeopardy, this industry has effectively lobbied to weaken laws and environmental oversight.

MYTH #7:   "no or minimal impacts associated with shellfish aquaculture"
Aquaculture is recognized as a threat to ecosystem health.  Numerous studies show adverse impacts in Washington State and worldwide.

MYTH #8:  "no evidence... geoduck aquaculture causing...shifts in ecosystem...in Puget Sound".
Studies that have attempted to evaluate impacts are, by design, focused narrowly and fall short of representing potential functions altered by intensive aquaculture practices. [Added: Recent papers released now claim it is "too difficult" to determine what the impacts are and have devolved to the use of subjective plusses and minuses forced into a cycle created to benefit aquaculture, not the natural ecosystem.]
+ Contact your representatives/regulators. 
Encourage elected officials and regulators to stand up to an aggressive industry and their lobbyists to protect our public waters and stop the plastic pollution and loss of marine life in Puget Sound.
Thank you for your continued support in this effort and Best Wishes for 2016!