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, June 30, 2017

Imidacloprid Pesticide in Willapa Bay Again: The Dirty Dozen (or so) Who want to Apply Pesticides to Shellfish Beds in Willapa Bay

These are not terrestrial farms.
These are tidelands
over which public waters ebb and flow.
WGHOGA wants to apply neurotoxin
into those waters.

Get out or our way and let us spray pesticides into Willapa Bay's waters and on shellfish beds.
The Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) has asked the Department of Ecology to move forward on their application to apply the pesticide Imidacloprid, a neonicotnoid, into Willapa Bay again. A public outcry stopped the ill thought proposal in 2015 (see May 3, 2015 Seattle Times article on cancellation of permit here). Should promoters of clean water also be promoting the application of pesticides (Imidacloprid) and herbicides (Imazamox to kill Japanese eelgrass) into Willapa Bay? The growers below see nothing wrong with that dichotomy. (Click here for DOE public notice of moving forward with permit.)

Who is WGHOGA?
The following are either members of WHGOGA or are companies, families or individuals who have Willapa Bay shellfish beds onto which which they will be applying Imidacloprid, directly or in the waters above them. 

They include:
Goose Point Oyster and Nisbet Oyster - The Nisbet family
New Washington ShellfishWiegardt BrothersWiegardt and Sons, Wiegardt Oysters and Jolly Roger Oysters - The Wiegardt family
Heckes Oyster Company, Heckes Clam Company - The Heckes family
Bay Center Mariculture - Dick Wilson
Olson and Son - Phil Olson
Willapa Fish and Oyster - Eric Petit
Herrold Fish and Oyster - John Herrold
Willapa Bay Shellfish - Warrnen Cowell
Long Island Oyster and Station House Oyster - The Kemmer family
Kim Patten - WSU scientist who has supplied a vast amount of information to support this project will be a direct beneficiary through profits from shellfish grown on his tidelands.
*Taylor Shellfish and Coast Seafoods both claim not to be involved, yet still remain members of the WGHOGA.

Parcel ownerships below are based on Pacific County and DOE information. Based on County records it is believed to be accurate. Not all owners are shown.

North Willapa Bay - 100 acres 
(click on image to enlarge)
Central Willapa Bay 1 - 335 acres (1+2)
(click on image to enlarge)
Central Willapa Bay 2
(click on image to enlarge)
South Willapa Bay 1 - 50 acres (1 and 2)

(Note: Kim Patten is the WSU extension agent
who has performed numerous studies
which support the use of Imidacloprid
on shellfish beds.)

It's not dirt. These are tidelands supporting native species and threatened Green Sturgeon over which public waters ebb and flow.
These are not terrestrial farms - this is a critical marine habitat over which public waters ebb and flow. It is a habitat which supports native species, including burrowing shrimp, which are a food source for many other species, including the Green Sturgeon, a species considered "threatened" and whose protected habitat includes Willapa Bay. The oyster the growers wish to grow is an invasive species from Japan, the Pacific oyster, called a "weed" by Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish (“The Pacific oyster is kind of the weed oyster of the world,” Bill Dewey, crosscut.com, June 6, 2016). This habitat is no less critical than  wetland and should be recognized as such. 

Make a difference - Don't buy oysters from Willapa Bay or from those who support this proposal or who are members of WGHOGA. There are alternatives.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hot Weather, Lowest Tides of the Year Raise Risk of Vibrio in Puget Sound Oysters

Get out and enjoy the low tides.
But be careful what you eat.

Saturday (June 24) and Sunday (June 25) will see tides 3.9 feet below average in south Puget Sound. Temperatures are forecast to be 90 and 93 degrees, respectively. The combination, however, leaves oysters out of water, exposed to the hot summer heat for so long that the naturally occurring bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp), filtered from the water by the oysters, grows at an accelerated rate inside of them. 

Historical outbreaks of vibriosis traced to oysters harvested from Washington state has already lead the Department of Health to issue its "vibrio advisory" warning for shellfish harvested from Hood Canal, Oakland Bay, Hammersley Inlet*, Totten Inlet, Eld Inlet, Pickering Passage, northern Case Inlet, North Bay and Burley Lagoon. It has also lead to more stringent rules surrounding harvesting, ranging from "time to ice" to complete closure of growing areas if water temperatures reach a certain level.

The Department of Health recommends you eat only well-cooked shellfish, especially in summer months, going further to say: "Do not consider shellfish to be fully cooked when the shells just open; they need to cook longer to reach 145° F." For additional information see the DOH website on vibriosis.

Get out and enjoy the low tides and warm weather this weekend. It won't get much better.

*Earlier in the year, oysters harvested from Hammersley Inlet were declared to be the source of norovirus, causing multiple illnesses and closure of commercial harvesting in the area. While the source has not been discovered, shellfish growers point to Shelton's waste water treatment facility which discharges directly into Hammerlsey Inlet and Oakland Bay. The City of Shelton denies its facility was the problem, claiming to have met all Department of Ecology standards.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Changing Times: Pyrosome "Explosion" off of the West Coast is Unprecedented and Unexplained

From one...
..come many.

Colonizing the waters of the world.
In a little noticed article written by northwest environmental reporter Chris Dunagan and published in the Kitsap Sun in July of 2016, he described the little known pyrosome. Consisting of colonies of zooids, Pyrosome are able to clone themselves and to create giant tube like structures, some as large as that seen in the image above. Typically found in the tropics, they have until now simply been interesting but little seen and little heard about in the northwest. Until now.

Those aren't worms
being used for bait.

More than flowers blooming in the northwest.
Both National Geographic and Northwest Sportsman have written, on June 13th and 14th respectively, of a massive bloom and increase in pyrosomes now occurring off of the west coast and as far north as southeast Alaska. The Northwest Sportsman writes that "...this spring [it] appear to be everywhere off the Oregon Coast to the point they are clogging fishing gear by the thousands." NOAA's research biologist Rick Brodeur is quoted in the National Geographic article as saying, "It's just unbelievable how many of them there are."

Climates change and so do we.
The National Geographic article notes, "In 2014 and 2015, when a warm water blob temporarily transformed the eastern Pacific, animals of all stripes appeared where they didn't belong. Warm-water sharks and tunas were caught in Alaska. Tropical sea snakes appeared off California. The longest and most toxic bloom of algae ever recorded poisoned crab, anchovies, and seals and sea lions. And a handful of pyrosomes began washing ashore." As the waters cooled in 2016, species present returned to their historical locations - except pyrosome. They remained and for reasons unknown began to multiply. Currently, nobody seems to know why. As biologist Laurie Weitkampt with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center is quoted as saying:
"For something that's never really been here before, the densities are just mind-boggling. We're just scratching our heads."
What do they eat - and what eats them?
Currently the impact of the sudden increase - both on what they eat and on what eats them - is not known. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center simply says:
"Some bony fish, dolphins and whales are known to eat pyrosomes, but scientists know little about their role in the offshore ecosystem or how they may affect the food web in areas where they are now appearing in such high densities."
Times are changing and so is the ocean. 
Get involved and become aware of what's happening to our marine ecosystems. Whether along the entire coast or within Puget Sound, things are changing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

For President Trump to Consider: Massive Fish Kill on Puget Sound Blamed on Hot Weather

KOMO reports on a massive fish kill in south Puget Sound being blamed on hot weather.

(KOMO photo)