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, July 29, 2016

City of Bainbridge SMP Revision Prohibits Non-Biodegradable Material Use In Aquaculture, Attorneys and Spokeswoman Testify in Opposition

An English Major and Marine Biologist Disagree

Bainbridge Island
Puget Sound

What two years of effort gets you: attorneys and promoters of aquaculture saying no.
July 26th the City Council of the City of Bainbridge Island held a hearing on a proposed revision to its Shoreline Master Program (SMP); a revision which was the result of over two years' effort to address concerns over how to regulate aquaculture (shellfish and net pen fish farming). Two years spent negotiating a balance between agencies, the aquaculture industry, and environmental groups who all had various needs and concerns the Council attempted to address. (See the revision here with words of concern on page 2, point 6.)

We don't know any other way.

Too many watched The Graduate: "One word: Plastics"
Within that SMP revision regulating aquaculture was one line which caused the aquaculture industry great concern: the prohibition of using non-biodegradable materials in aquaculture. That prohibition resulted in industry's attorneys and spokeswoman to testify and write in opposition. In response, others noted the "can't be done" sounded simply like any other industry being told it must stop polluting the environment. (To hear the complete hearing, click here. Ms. Peabody speaks at 1:05:40.)

Betsy Peabody
Executive Director PSRF,
President of Pacific Shellfish Institute

Time to think outside of the plastic bag.
Both verbally and in writing, the industry's spokeswoman, Betsy Peabody (a Stanford graduate with a degree in English) stated there was "no current alternative" to HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic bags. She compared aquaculture taking place in the critical marine habitat to terrestrial farming and wrote that were it not for aquaculture people would have no "connection to the very resources that help define and sustain" Bainbridge Island, believing somehow that plastic growout bags in the intertidal area was all that made people aware of this incredible ecosystem. 
(Ms. Peabody's letter may be found here.)
Jim Brennan

Plastic in Puget Sound is not restoration nor sustainable.
In response to Ms. Peabody, marine biologist Jim Brennan (with a Master of Science Degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs) wrote in support of the ban. Point by point Mr. Brennan addresses the concerns of Ms. Peabody (no alternatives, the ban would end resident's connection to the tidelands, etc.) ending by noting her using "...her status and organization [Puget Sound Restoration Fund] to lobby for allowances of aquaculture and the use of harmful plastics in the marine environment of Puget Sound." He goes on to note: "It is unconscionable for an organization that claims to be promoting conservation and restoration to also promote practices that degrade, pollute, and are destructive of the marine environment."
(Mr. Brennan's letter to the Council may be read here.)
City of Bainbridge Island Contact Information
Let Council members know how you feel.

Background Information

Jim Brennan – Marine Biological Consultant
Fish Biologist
Jim has a Master of Science Degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and 33 years of work experience. The majority of his work has focused on marine fisheries and habitats on the west coast of the U.S. (California, Oregon, Washington), but ranges from Antarctica to Alaska. Jim has worked in both the private and public sectors with responsibilities that include research, education, environmental assessment, watershed planning, restoration, regulatory, and policy programs. The last 24 years of his career have been spent working in Puget Sound on marine resource management issues with a focus on marine nearshore habitats and species. Jim has served on numerous technical assessment and advisory committees for federal, state, and local entities and as President of the Pacific Estuarine Research Society (PERS) and Governing Board Member of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), an international science organization. Jim is currently self employed, providing technical assistance, education and outreach, and other marine consulting, restoration, and technical services.
Betsy Peabody 
Ms. Peabody is also the President of the Pacific Shellfish Institute. PSI is, in large part, an organization using public funds to support the shellfish industry. Projects have included publicly funded surveys to determine attitudes in Washington, Oregon and California about shellfish aquaculture and how best to promote the industry and its expansion. Recent grants have included: $224,000 to study non-native manila clam farm management and harvesting "tools" (a "repurposed" tulip bulb harvester); $295,000 to help expand shellfish culture in seagrass with data to "inform regulatory decisions"; and $392,000 to culture overharvested sea cucumbers, in part to determine if they are able to help mitigate waste from a mussel farm in Totten Inlet and a sablefish farm in Alaska. She is also the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and a resident of Bainbridge Island.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hundreds of Dead Sea Birds Reported In Eastern Portion of Strait of Juan de Fuca

Why are you dying?

The Peninsula Daily News has reported up to 300 rhinoceros auklets have washed up onto the eastern shorelines of the Strait of Juan de Fuca since May. The cause of death is unknown, with theories ranging from starvation to possible contagions, poisons or toxic algae blooms.

An earlier report from KLCC noted that autopsies in Wisconsin showed "zero body fat" indicating starvation and a probable lack of food. In the recent Daily article, Julia Parrish, executive director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team notes 72,000 of the birds are successfully breeding, indicating food appears to be relatively plentiful, and is quoted as saying, “That actually is the information we're using to decide it's not a general lack of food.”

While a concern, KLCC also notes: It's a tiny toll compared to the dieoffs of other species of seabirds in 2014 and 2015. Common murres and Cassin's auklets washed up by the hundreds of thousands up and down North America's west coast.

In the end,assuming the marine waters will remain a safe source for sea food with no action remains a risk.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Taylor Shellfish Seeks Responsibility Certifications on Puget Sound/Hood Canal Tideland Plots

Public meetings, July 26, 27 and 28 (see below).

Grow Out Bags:
Oysters responsibly grown?
(Totten Inlet)

Onwards and upwards in a responsible manner.
After achieving responsibility certifications on a limited number of tideland plots in a portion of south Puget Sound and Willapa Bay, Taylor Shellfish is seeking to expand the number of its plots
it may say are certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), an organization headquartered in the Netherlands. Prior to Taylor Shellfish, ASC had certified bi-valve farms in Chile, Peru, Japan and the United Kingdom. Its goal is to promote "...industry best practice to minimise [sic] the environmental and social footprint of commercial aquaculture..." allowing use of a label which "...promotes certified responsibly farmed products in the marketplace." Taylor seeks certification for oyster, manila clam and geoduck operations.

Jersey Oyster Farm: Industry best practice
to minimize the environmental and social footprint
of commercial aquaculture.
(United Kingdom)

We have a few questions for you.
Taylor Shellfish will use SCS Global to audit the farms and determine if they meet the standards Taylor Shellfish helped to develop and used by ASC, the Dutch organization, through the Aquaculture Dialogues. That audit includes site visits (which have already occurred) and public meetings (see below) at which those aware of them may provide input. A final draft report will then be developed which may be commented on over a ten day period, after which SCS Global will determine if the plots looked at meet ASC standards. (See here for reports on earlier plots approved in south Puget Sound and in Willapa Bay.)

Public is Invited to Provide Input July 26, 27 and 28 or on Draft Report (to be released)
Listed below are the areas where the plots are located and associated public meetings. Included is Burley Lagoon where Taylor is proposing a 25 acre geoduck farm. It is unclear whether any geoduck farms exist there at this time. No geoduck operation of that size currently exists anywhere in Puget Sound or Willapa Bay. Comments may be emailed to Juan Aguirre, JAguirre@scsglobalservices.com. If you would like to be notified of the release of the draft report, you may also email Mr. Aguirre and request to be notified.

Samish Bay Areas (see public announcement here)
Community Meeting 1 – Samish – July 26th, 2016, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Mt. Vernon Fire Station #2 – 1901 N Laventure Rd, Mt. Vernon, WA
Plots in Samish Bay: Samish Bay, Samish West and Samish East. 

South Puget Sound Areas (see public announcement here)
Community Meeting 2 – SE Puget Sound – July 27th, 2016 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Port of Allyn – 18560 E. SR 3, Allyn, WA
Plots in south Puget Sound: North Bay, Minterbrook, Burley Lagoon, Case Inlet, Harstine Island

Hood Canal Areas (see public announcement here)
Community Meeting 3 – Hood Canal – July 28th, 2016 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Brinnon Community Center – 306114 US 101, Brinnon, WA
Areas of Hood Canal Plots: Dosewallips, Dabob Bay, Discovery Bay, Anna’s Bay 

If you net over $1 million/acre
and pay little to no taxes
you have disposable income.

It's not free, but little in sales is.
The cost to be able to use the ASC label includes the audit and then, depending on use, annual fees and/or royalties. It limits the use to those able to afford it and able to track their product. Whether it helps to differentiate the product enough to offset the cost(s) is unknown. What is known is Taylor and others are generating immense profits from sales of geoduck to China. t

Get involved. Attend a meeting or email your thoughts to Juan Aguirre at: JAguirre@scsglobalservices.com

Monday, July 18, 2016

BC Salmon Farm Impacts on Wild Salmon to be Investigated by Alexandra Morton and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The Martin Sheen

Undercurrent News reports that biologist Alexandra Morton and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will begin a weeks long investigation of salmon farms in the northern area of the Salish Sea. Through use of Society's vessel, The Martin Sheen, Ms. Morton will audit and monitor salmon farms along the migration route of the wild salmon leaving and returning to the Fraser River along the eastern shoreline of Vancouver Island.

Salmon Net Pen Locations
and Routes of The Martin Sheen
and Wild Salmon

Along the route Ms. Morton will be looking for impacts from these pens of concentrated populations of salmon and risks those impacts pose to wild salmon.* Testing will look specifically at the plumes flowing down current from these structures, measuring concentrations of parasitic sea lice, Piscine reovirus, ISA virus, and Salmon alphavirus (see here for a discussion of the virus and their impacts).
*most farmed salmon are non-native with genetically modified species ("frankenfish") having been recently approved
Decades of research leave little doubt to the risks these operations pose to the wild populations of salmon. In Puget Sound there is a press by industry to expand these operations, putting at risk the native salmon runs. Marketing efforts which claim farmed salmon lessen pressure on wild salmon ignore the risks Ms. Morton continues to elevate.

Ms. Morton has spearheaded the effort to bring to light the risks posed by what has been marketed as a benign operation. You can help Ms. Morton on this page or the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on this page. Get involved. Tell your seafood buyer to stop buying salmon farmed in open water net pens.