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:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Taylor Shellfish Settles EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit for $160,000; New Training; and New Policies

Taylor Shellfish Settles EEOC Lawsuit over Race Based Discrimination 
(see EEOC lawsuit papers filed here)
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones has agreed to terms settling a discrimination lawsuit against Taylor Shellfish, filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for past employee Jeremy Daniels, an African American. Terms include payment of $160,000 and, of note, instituting new training and policies.

In papers filed September 28, 2016 the EEOC alleged that:
Defendant Taylor Shellfish Company, Inc. (“Defendant”) subjected Mr. Daniels to a hostile work environment based on his race, Black. The EEOC further alleges that Defendant retaliated against Mr. Daniels for opposing the discriminatory hostile work environment. Finally, the EEOC alleges that the discrimination Mr. Daniels suffered resulted in his constructive discharge. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief for Mr. Daniels, including non-pecuniary compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

Details of the discrimination experienced described in the lawsuit included:
...subjecting Mr. Daniels to frequent, offensive and unwelcome race-based conduct including: referring to Mr. Daniels as "spook," "boy," "nigger," and "nigga"; telling Mr. Daniels that that the Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor's father used to run his "kind" out of town; and making disparaging race-based comments about the things that Mr. Daniels would eat.
In addition, the lawsuit noted that when Mr. Daniels complained about the "racially hostile" environment:
Defendant, [Taylor Shellfish] through the actions of the Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor, assigned Mr. Daniels more difficult and less desirable work, referred to him as a "nigger," "stupid," and "idiot" when talking to other employees, and eventually caused Mr. Daniels to be disciplined unjustly.
Settlement Terms
The settlement  terms include paying Mr. Daniels $160,000. In addition, Taylor will now have to institute new training and policies, something which Taylor had already done when being considered for "responsible" operations certification by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in 2016, but which were apparently not sufficient.

ASC Certification is Not Good Enough for Judge Jones
Apparently, Judge Jones and the EEOC did not find Taylor's actions taken when seeking certification by ASC as a "responsible" company good enough. In 2016, ASC found that discrimination existed within the Taylor operation. In response, Taylor presented steps taken, including training and policies, which ASC was satisfied with. Judge Jones, as noted, apparently did not find them good enough for the case before him. Presented to ASC, and what ASC found acceptable for its "responsibility" certification of Key Peninsula are farms was:
All farm managers participated in HR training, including anti-harrassment. HR will maintain documentation on all discrimination and harassment complaints and any followup actions taken. They will work with Farm Directors and Ownership to ensure that policies are known and followed. HR Contacts have been distributed company wide via employee newsletter insert into paychecks and posted on all employee bulleting boards. Farm crews may utilize HR as an option in lieu of direct supervisor of Farm Director.
It is unknown what Judge Jones found lacking in Taylor's current policies, those policies which ASC apparently found to be good enough for them.

Contact EEOC if you are being discriminated against. It is against the law.
(click here for EEOC web site contact information)
The EEOC is in place to help ensure that company policies and actions taken by employees do not discriminate against you. Their website encourages anyone who feels they have been discriminated against to contact them. You don't have to put up with it. Especially when shellfish companies claim to provide good family wage jobs.

*Update 7/30: Despite the EEOC lawsuit in 2016, which ASC's evaluation firm was aware of, the evaluation of the Samish Bay "cluster" simply noted: "The company has a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy. The auditor also observed a diverse work force." It also noted "Discrimination training had begun for managers, although the effort was discontinued. As a result, an unknown number of managers and no employees have received such a training." With this, Taylor's anti-discrimination policy was found to be "Conforming with Observations". As noted above, the EEOC and Judge Jones felt quite differently.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Off Topic: Body of Tomales Bay Oyster Owner is Recovered from Tomales Bay

The body of Tod Friend, owner of Tomales Bay Oyster Company, was recovered from Tomales Bay. Mr. Friend was last seen heading out into Tomales Bay in his small flat bottom skiff, the latter found going in circles without Mr. Friend on board last Tuesday. The 70 year old was reported to have not been wearing a life jacket, a tragic lesson all should take to heart. Our sympathies go out to his family.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

California to Consider Aquaculture Industry's Development of Best Management Practices Plans

When: July 17, 1 PM to 3 PM
Where: Marconi Conference Center, Buck Hall
18500 Shoreline Highway (SR 1)
Marshall, CA 
*Note building change due to large interest.
(See map below)
What: Consider development of "Best Management Practices Plans" (BMPP)
Why: Currently, amending leases is considered to be an "excessive administrative burden" by agencies and growers.

allow different species to be cultivated 
or culture method to be changed
Should changing from growing clams in the sediments
to oysters in suspended cages require an
amendment to the lease or merely 
industry developed BMP Plans?

PIA - Politics in Action: BMPP's
California's Natural Resources Agency (CA Fish and Game Commission and the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife) will hold a meeting on July 17 from 1 PM to 3 PM to consider whether they should allow the aquaculture industry (and possibly public - if involved) to develop "Best Management Practices" (BMP) plans (BMPP). These broad based plans would be reviewed, perhaps every 5 years, and allow for changes in species grown and methods used without lease ammendments. Currently, when an operator wishes to change a species grown or a method used, a lease must be amended. The analysis which precedes the amendment has been described as being "an excessive administrative burden" (EAB).

California Aquaculture
without BMP Plans
(Tomales Bay, 2014 before public pressure rose 
forcing growers to clean up derelict gear.)
From the Coastodian

Washington Aquaculture 
with BMP and ECOP

Public resources will only be protected if the public is involved.
Get involved. This is a political process which can be easily bent to placate an industry's desire for expansion with less oversight. BMP's in Washington's Puget Sound result in loose PVC pipes, despite 10 years of "BMP" and "Environmental Codes of Practice" (ECOP). Navigational hazards continue to impact the public's use of navigable waters in areas of Puget Sound. Nighttime noise continues to disrupt residential neighborhoods, despite "good neighbor" plans. This is an industry made up of a few large corporations which is motivated and well funded, who wants to expand into critical marine ecosystems. If they are allowed to develop "BMP Plans" without public involvement there will be irreversible impacts. Get involved. Washington's residents weren't and are now picking up the pieces.

California - Consider these examples of the shellfish industry in CA. Then act.
One merely need look to Drakes Estero for an example of what happens when an operator's lease ends, leaving taxpayers to clean up the mess. One only need look to Humboldt Bay to see what the industry wants with Coast Seafoods' proposed expansion (a permit denied) into the native eelgrass beds to grow non-native oysters, and the cleanup the state is requiring because Coast was unable to on its own. Consider these examples and that actions now being taken elsewhere are only being done as the direct result of public pressure from a few. 

Meeting Location

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Puget Sound Is Under Stress: Help Protect Native Species and Preserve and Restore Puget Sound

"Don’t buy the lies and bullying tactics of the industry spokesmen who sit on our local boards and collect their paychecks while trying to buy us off with a few clams, like their forefathers did with the Tribes over the centuries." Olympic Peninsula Environmental News

2/3 of killer whale pregnancies fail -
because of low availability 
of Chinook Salmon.

Our Sound, Our Salmon - Stop Net Pen Expansion in Puget Sound
While a fitting quote to why the intertidal tidelands are being allowed to be transformed into industrial facilities requiring little regulatory oversight, the above quote is in reference to another threat to Puget Sound: Salmon net pen farming. These large enclosed pens concentrate non-native salmon in densities so high that threats from disease and sea lice raise the risks to our native salmon, and the Orca who depend on them, to an unacceptable level. As with shellfish aquaculture, painting these operations as being nothing more than "farming" ignores the very real differences between terrestrial farming (on land) versus activities taking place in a marine ecosystem.

Washington is the only West Coast State to Allow Net Pen Farming
Alaska, Oregon and California have banned net pen farming. Our Sound, Our Salmon is now demanding that Governor Inslee stop following industry's lead and instead take a stand with those who believe there is more to Puget Sound than its ability to generate profits for corporations in the aquaculture industry. [Sign the petition here] They write:
"Puget Sound is our Sound. The salmon that swim in its waters are our salmon. They have been the lifeblood of our past, and they will be the lifeblood of our future.

"Cooke Aquaculture, an Atlantic salmon net pen conglomerate, is threatening the health of Puget Sound with their plans to further transform it into an epicenter of Atlantic salmon net pen production. We cannot risk putting our Sound, our salmon, and our future into the hands of an industry with a long history of negative environmental, social, and economic impacts - impacts that led California, Oregon, and Alaska to wisely ban this industry.
"It’s time for us to stand up for our Sound. It’s time for us to stand up for our salmon. And it’s time we stand up for our future by stopping the expansion of destructive Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca." Our Sound, Our Salmon
Infected fish? Just dump them. After they've
been shedding virus for months.  
Get involved and get educated
"In Puget Sound, the potential for catastrophic damage to wild fish populations as a result of Atlantic salmon net pens has already been demonstrated. In 2012, an outbreak of Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV) caused the death of over 1 million pounds of net pen salmon. Worse still, this outbreak occurred during the time of year juvenile salmonids are migrating out to sea through Puget Sound." (KING5 - see video clip of news here)

Land based systems exist.
"The quality of the fish is extraordinary, the taste is great,
the look of the fish is fantastic."
Ned Bell, Chef at Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver BC

You don't need pesticides, antibiotics, nor Puget Sound's open waters
"Kuterra is proof positive that you can grow Atlantic salmon on land in a sustainable and economical way. If Washington wants to increase farmed salmon production, we should do it by helping pioneer a burgeoning, environmentally responsible industry of land-based systems like Kuterra." (See Vimeo clip of Kuterra's upland operation here
Upland operations, currently operating profitably, separate the "farmed environment from the wild environment." At the same time they also provide a product which is free from pesticides and antibiotics which most consumers do not believe should be in seafood they consume. (See public response when pesticides in Willapa Bay in 2015 were proposed by shellfish growers here

Genetics at its best.
Disease at its worst.
from Alexandra Morton)

Is this really what you want to be eating? 
"On August 23, 2016, Alexandra Norton put a GoPro on a pole and submerged it for ten minutes in a salmon net pen run by Marine Harvest. This video is a compilation of what she saw – large numbers of farmed salmon likely suffering from viruses and Atlantic salmon preying on juvenile wild fish." To get a sense of what the reality of "open net pen" salmon are, look at the short clip taken by Alexandra Morton when cruising on the Sea Shepherd in British Columbia

Get involved so future generations
are able to experience Puget Sound.
Photo: Heather MacIntyre/The Pacific Whale Watch

Get involved. Tell Governor Inslee there is far more to Puget Sound than the ability to make a profit from open water net pens growing non-native salmon. If you don't 
Sign the Our Sound, Our Salmon petition here:
or, Email the Govenor directly: