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:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

January 17: Zangle Cove Appeal and Permit Hearing Rescheduled/Sohn Separates Tidelands

Zangle Cove Hearing Continued to Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Thurston County Courthouse 
Building One, Room 152

Better bring lunch and dinner. 
The appeal of Thurston County's "Mitigated Determinatin of Non-significance" (MDNS) for a geoduck operation in the ecologically sensitive and enjoyed Zangle Cove and associated Shoreline Substantial Development Permit continues January 17. Based on an email from the Hearing Examiner, it may be a marathon, stretching into the night, noting parties should "... arrange to be available into the evening as late as necessary."

What are those tidelands really worth?

"I want to be a farmer." Be careful what you wish for, because your tidelands may now be taxed as "geoduck farmland" instead of open space. Unless lobbyists can prevent it.
As the hearing has progressed, Mr. Sohn has stated he wanted to be a farmer on his tideland parcel. Apparently to that end, or for some other reason, he has decided to separate his tidelands from his upland parcel. So doing creates the ability to now tax his tidelands at what their true value is, as tidelands created for a geoduck operation, instead of "open space" as they and others in Zangle Cove have been for decades in the past, affording an extremely low tax rate. For reference, Taylor Shellfish purchased 10 acres of tidelands, many used for growing geoduck, from Manke Timber in Mason County. Those 10 acres of tidelands are currently appraised at $872,000 (dropping slightly from $899,000 in 2013). If appraisers used "like sales" as they are supposed to, Mr. Sohn's 1.6 acres of tidelands, if used for a geoduck operation, would be appraised as high as $139,000.

Friday, December 23, 2016

British Columbia: Massive Chinese shellfish hatchery near completion on Sunshine Coast

Guess they're just not into you that much anymore.
Licensed to grow seed for geoduck, 
Pacific oyster, scallop and urchin.

Risk to investors and banks is a relative thing.
Apparently becoming aware that being beholden to a few shellfish operators in the United States was not an economically sustainable model, the Chinese are nearing completion of Phase 1 of what ultimately will be among the largest (if not the largest) shellfish hatchery and farming operations in North America. It will compete directly with current shellfish operators such as Taylor Shellfish and Coast Seafoods, who to date have had little real competition to disrupt pricing and distribution models which have existed for decades. How investors and those financing expansion will react to what appears to be a disruptive event is not known, but risk to returns is certainly elevated.

Comparison of Taylor Shellfish to Hummingbird Cove

Investors rule of thumb: Invest in an industry where anyone can make money. 
Yesterday, the Times Colonist wrote that Phase 1 of a Chinese owned shellfish hatchery facility in British Columbia is nearing completion and will cover over 34,000 square meters (365,000 square feet). By comparison, the Nisbet (Goose Point) hatchery facility moved from Willapa Bay to Hawaii is 20,000 square feet. Another perspective is seen in the image above, showing Taylor Shellfish's Quilcene Dabob Bay hatchery facility. Overlying the Taylor Shellfish facility in red is the estimated size of Phase 1. The Vancouver Sun has reported that Phase 2 is expected to result in a facility able to grow and export mature shellfish by the year 2020. Last year, Hatchery International reported that Hummingbird facility was approved to expand within a 27 hectare (~66 acre) area, outlined in blue and orange, an area dwarfing current facilities.

This Christmas, be careful what you ask for. You may just get it.
The shellfish industry for years has been lobbying at the federal, state and local levels to minimize regulatory oversight. Their success has been seen in many areas, ranging from minimizing eelgrass protection to convincing Mason County that tidelands sold under the "Bush Act" should be considered as existing shellfish farms. All aimed at allowing for an increased expansion of operations, then supply, and hoped for profits. That the Chinese business leaders were not born yesterday and can see a market controlled by only a few, for the benefit of those few, has resulted in a multi-million dollar investment by one company in Canada. Others will follow. Those shellfish grown will not be for Canada, but exported. When combined with expansion efforts in the US, a deflating commodity balloon may be what comes for Christmas.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Restoration of the Seattle Shoreline's Seawall Begins - Oyster Shell to Remain Permanently

Permanent habitat restoration taking place
along Seattle's shoreline.

These shells won't be removed in 2 years.
Using discarded oyster shell, the City of Seattle will create a 150' long underwater "bench" which will remain in place, creating permanent habitat for species in Puget Sound. It is one of a growing number of long term actions being taken to restore habitat in Puget Sound which will, over decades, benefit numerous species native to Puget Sound. Other projects being undertaken include bulkhead removal and soft armoring in order to restore the function feeder bluffs provide, through adding sediments to the tidelands of Puget Sound.

These cumulative impacts help.
Projects such as these, as small as they are, will cumulatively begin to help restore what developments and intertidal operations have altered over the last 100 years of activity. They are important and should be supported by all.