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:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Salmon Net Pen Failure: Non-native Atlantic salmon are reported to have spread over an area of 60 miles

Timing is everything. Attend a meeting on why net pens in the Straight of Juan de Fuca is a bad idea.
Sequim Transit Center 190 W. Cedar Street
Kurt Beardslee - Executive Director Wild Fish Conservancy 
Chris Wilke- Executive Director Puget Soundkeeper Alliance 

"Science" said they would stay
closed to home and wait to be fed.

We're free and we never liked that stuff you were feeding us to make us look pink so we are going elsewhere.
The Seattle Times writes on August 28 the Department of Fish and Wildlife are reporting non-native Atlantic salmon, released from failed net pens off of Cypress Island, have spread over a 60 mile area. This completely destroys any belief in escaped salmon staying close to home, waiting to be fed. Instead, this non-native salmon is now spreading throughout the Salish Sea.

It was the eclipse! No, wait, sorry.
Saturn was in the house of Leo.
Or was it Cancer?
Meanwhile, while astrological charts are being read,
non-native Atlantic salmon are
spreading throughout the Salish Sea.

Caught in a gross understatement (to be kind) and a blatant mis-representation of the failure.
In addition, the initial reports of only 4 thousand fish having escaped has also been shown to be a gross understatement. To date, the Lummi Tribe alone has reported its commercial fisherman have netted over 200,000 pounds of Atlantic salmon, or an estimated 20,000 fish. This total does not include the unlimited amount the public has been allowed to catch or what other commercial fisherman may have caught. Or those who have found better food elsewhere.

They'll only eat processed food. Yum.
Of course when that food isn't 
being fed to them,
they eat other things.
Farmed and dangerous (thank you Scientific America)
Washington's Department of Natural Resources, who leases the bedlands below the pens to Cooke and is in part responsible for oversight of this operation, has notified Cooke their pen failure and subsequent release of the non-native Atlantic salmon into Washington's marine habitat (and now likely Canada's) has put Cooke in default of their lease agreement. They should put them to bed. The threat posed by the escaped salmon on native salmon is real, whether it be from consuming native smolt to spreading sea lice to spreading disease. Scientific America writes on the escape and notes a dearth of research, and many assumptions.

No worries. We're with the government and have formed an incident command response team to deal with our lack of prior oversight.
August 24, the various agencies responsible held a conference call to try and figure out what to do. As noted in the notes from the meeting, it was felt it would be a good idea to form a committee of various agencies responsible for oversight. Despite years of assurance that net pen farming was being regulated and that failures such as this were unlikely, they note:
"Much concern was expressed yesterday about the lack clarity as to which agency is responsible for addressing and managing the response of the incident." 
Get involved and tell Governor Inslee and your elected officials it's time to remove these industrial operations from Puget Sound's waters.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Salmon Net Pen Failure: Is this what regulatory oversight is? If so, all net pens should be closed down.

"DNR, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Department of Ecology 
are working on a coordinated response Friday in dealing with the fish emergency."
August 25, KING-5, 6 days after the failure.

(from KING-5)

WDFW action plan: Let the public go fishing! 
To date, the most meaningful attempt at a response has been for WDFW to let the public clean up the mess and tell fishermen to go catch as many as they can. But, be sure you have a license. Is that realistic? 

We can't count the fish. It's too dangerous!
(from KING-5)

DNR: You are in default. But we don't know by how much yet.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who leases the bedlands below to Cooke has filed a notice of default for releasing the non-native Atlantic salmon. A number ranging from a few thousand to over 305,000, and almost week later, a number still not known because of the danger from the twisted metal. What that means for the future of the farm off of Cypress Island is not known. Yet.

I'm not a security guard. I just monitor things.
How closely was DOE monitoring this?

DOE: "Commercial net pens have greatly improved in the last 20 year"
"Ecology will continue to monitor the science"
"Ecology said the county [Jefferson] could not prohibit net pens because a negative environmental impact could not be proven."
The Department of Ecology, responsible for overseeing net pen aquaculture in Washington, appears to  silent. They do, of course, have a web page devoted to explaining how raising non-native Atlantic salmon good for Puget Sound, pointing out how they will monitor these farms. That the failure occurred puts in question just what "monitoring" means. That one week later they are still working on a response puts in question why they are responsible for telling counties how to develop regulations for these operations, and more significantly, telling counties they cannot ban net pens (Peninsula Daily News in article discussing their Shoreline Management Program).

Get involved. Help support Our Sound, Our Salmon and tell Governor Inslee it is time to close these operations down.
Oregon, California, and Alaska have banned net pens. Washington should not be allowed to be the only state which does. Support Our Sound, Our Salmon and tell Governor Inslee it's time to tell Cooke to go elsewhere and that industrial scale aquaculture is too much of a risk to Puget Sound. 

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Cooke's Net Pen Failure: An Eclipse of the Facts

Time for Cooke to go. 
(See Public Notice for expansion below)
(Image from http://www.deepzoom.com/#)

If Cooke Aquaculture's net pens fail in the protected area around Cypress Island in a 3.5 knot current, who believes they won't fail in the Strait of Juan de Fuca where currents are no slower and they are exposed to storms? It's time for Cooke to shut these operations down and for agencies to stop the expansion of industrial aquaculture. (See Public Notice below)

Only the facts are being eclipsed
for the cause of this failure.

NOTICE OF APPLICATION AND PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, pursuant to Section 26.10.410 & 430 CCC, that the Clallam County Department of Community Development has scheduled a public hearing before the Clallam County Hearings Examiner for September 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 160 of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 East Fourth Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362. The purpose of the hearing is to review public testimony regarding the Shoreline Substantial Permit for the Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC (CAP) proposal to move their existing Atlantic salmon net pen operation from within Port Angeles Harbor (Ediz Hook) to an open water area in the Strait of Juan de Fuca that is located over 1.5 miles offshore and 3.8 miles east of terminus of Ediz Hook: Proposal: (SHR 2016-00002) The proposal would be comprised of fourteen (14) floating high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipe circular net pens, which are designed for open water conditions. Each net pen will be 126 feet in diameter, 45 feet deep, and in approximately 100 foot deep water. The proposal also includes a 40 foot wide by 100 foot long feed barge. The height of the feed barge will be approximately 19 feet above the water level when empty and 14 feet when is fully loaded with about 350 tons of fish feed. The pens would be comprised of two rows of 7 pens each with a feed barge at the eastern end of the array. Each of the net pens and the feed barge would be located 72 feet apart from each other, and would be held in place by up to sixty 4,000 to 8,000 mooring anchor, anchor lines, chains, and hardware. This proposal would encompass 9.7 acres of water surface area and require a 52 acre Aquatic lease from the WA State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).Location of the Proposal: The CAP new aquaculture net pen facility is proposed to be located approximately 3.8 miles east of Ediz Hook, 1.8 miles north of Morse Creek, and approximately 1.5 miles north of Green Point, within Section 10, Township 30 North, Range 5 West, W.M. Information & Studies Submitted: A Joint Aquatic Resource Application (JARPA) with attachments, SEPA Environmental Checklist with attachments, Biological Evaluation, Current and Wave Report prepared by RPS Evans-Hamilton, Sediment Report prepared by RPS Evans-Hamilton, Mooring Analysis Report – Grid System prepared by Aqua Knowledge, and Visual Analysis Report (January 2016) were submitted with the application. Permits Required & Studies Submitted: Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Waste Discharge Permit and Coastal Zone Management Compliance Determination through the Washington Department of Ecology; Fin Fish Aquaculture Permit, Fin Fish Transport Permit, and Aquatic Farm Registration through Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Aquatic Use Authorization through DNR; Private Aids to Navigation with the United States Coast Guard; and Section 10 Permit Authorization with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will include ESA Section 7 Consultation with National Marine Fisheries Services and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA): Clallam County is lead agency and a SEPA environmental checklist (ECL 2016-03) has been submitted for the proposal. After review of the completed environmental checklist, the SEPA Memo dated July 5, 2017, and other information on file with the agency, the Clallam County Responsible Official has determined that a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) should be issued for this proposal. The MDNS for this proposal was issued July 6, 2017, and the comment period for this threshold determination ends on July 24, 2017. Unless the Responsible Official withdraws the threshold determination pursuant to WAC 197-11-340(3)(a), the threshold determination shall be final at the end of the comment period. The Hearing Examiner will consider the adequacy of the Threshold Determination at the open record public hearing. Public hearing and comment deadlines: Any interested person may submit written or oral comments on the proposal and the threshold determination of a MDNS prior to the close of the open record hearing. The staff report will be available seven days before the hearing. Any person may also submit a written request to DCD to receive a notice of the decision once it is made. The application and above referenced material is available at DCD On-Line Permit System web site or at our offices at 223 E. 4th St., Suite 5, Port Angeles, WA 98362, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please contact Greg Ballard, Project Planner at (360) 565-2616, or by email at gballard@co.clallam.wa.us if you have any questions. Pub: July 9, 16, 2017 Legal No.766276

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A New Excuse for Aquaculture's Failures: The Eclipse

"Look! Up in the sky!"
Don't let politics blind you to the truth.

Trust us. Or not. We don't really care.
Reaching a level which reflects the current state of politics, Cooke Aquaculture blames Sunday's net pen failure releasing non-native Atlantic salmon on Monday's eclipse. Cooke states the pen, holding over 3 million pounds and an estimated 305,000 salmon, failed due to “exceptionally high tides and currents coinciding with this week’s solar eclipse”.

"Look! Up in the sky! See that big yellow thing! I'll make it dark!"
Apparently blinded from looking into the sun, reporters have accepted Cooke's excuse. Worse, so too have agencies responsible for ensuring that this non-native species will not escape into Washington's waters where disease, sea lice, and their appetite for native species threatens native salmon.
(Read Seattle Times article by clicking here)

How did he know? Science.

How were we to know? Look at a tide chart.
Get involved. This excuse is nothing more than an attempt to tamp down the real threat which this level of industrial aquaculture presents to Puget Sound and Washington's marine waters, seen as a palate for profits by corporations. Plans for expansion are in gear with this same operator proposing a large farm in the Straight of Juan de Fuca. If they cannot prevent pen failures due to a high tide predicted in advance for years they should not be allowed to operate in Washington's waters. Employees of agencies who believe it should be fired.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thurston County is Targeted By Geoduck Farmers

Better Duck if you live in Thurston County 
The latest county to be targeted for expansion by geoduck farmers is Thurston County. Located in south Puget Sound, Thurston County has seen a number of proposed or actual applications for geoduck farms in the south Puget Sound area. The most recent is an expansion of operations by Greg Reub, currently employed by Eco Analysts, Inc. Previous employment history of Mr. Reub included Environ (now part of Ramboll), a firm who performed numerous studies on geoduck aquaculture, intended to show impacts were not significant. Studies still quoted today and studies which Mr. Reub benefits from directly. [A public hearing on Mr. Reub's proposal will be held September 26. To be put onto the notification list, contact Leah Davis at davisle@co.thurston.wa.us]
(In addition to Mr. Reub, Dr. Fisher and Marlene Meaders were also past employees of Environ, the latter two co-authoring numerous papers on geoduck farming and the application of the herbicide imazamox in Willapa Bay. Dr. Fisher, as with Mr. Reub, benefits directly from positive outcomes of papers he authored on geoduck farming as he too operates a geoduck farm, close to that currently operated by Mr. Reub and close to where Mr. Reub proposes to expand his operations. Dr. Fisher, after leaving Environ, worked for the National Marine Fisheries Services - NMFS - who provided Biological Opinions to the Army Corps on their proposed Nationwide Permits covering aquaculture.)
An existing navigational hazard,
with another proposed.

Showing some mussel
In addition to Mr. Reub's proposed expansion, Chelsea Sea Farms is also proposing a 10 acre operation in Gallagher Cove near where Taylor Shellfish is planning on placing 58 rafts in Totten Inlet. At appeals and hearings for the Taylor Shellfish proposal there was no mention of any geoduck operation so close and what the cumulative impacts may be from the two operations may be, not to mention Mr. Reub's proposed expansion just north. The common refrain from attorneys at the hearings and appeals was that any expansion of aquaculture was simply "conjecture" and should not be considered. Therefor, Thurston County did not consider any of it and simply relied on an overwhelmed staff and papers, including those authored by Dr. Fisher and Mr. Reub.

One word - plastics
The Graduate could not have had a more applicable scene when Dustin Hoffman was told by Mr. McQuire what to do with his life after graduation: "I just want to say one word to you. Just one word....Plastics. There's a great future in plastics." Who would have thought plastics covering Puget Sound's intertidal tidelands would have been the future that unfolded.

Get involved. You will make a difference for the future generations.
The shellfish industry has been for years. Lobbying, free shellfish fests, donations to non-profits, and authors of papers who have clear conflicts of interest have all resulted in an impending expansion throughout Puget Sound and Willapa Bay. You can help by donating to the following:

Consumers for Food Safety [click here]
Tell your elected officials enough is enough.
Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
Thurston County Commissioners

Friday, August 11, 2017

Aquaculture's Impacts: Center for Food Safety Sues Army Corps Over Lack of Regulatory Oversight

What could go wrong? The more the better.
Good for the profits of a few,
bad for all who care about 
Washington's marine habitat.

The Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit August 10 against the Corps of Engineers' decision to issue 2017 Nationwide Permit 48 covering aquaculture activities, asking the courts to:
 (1) declare the Corps’ decision to adopt 2017 NWP 48 in Washington State is unlawful under the CWA, NEPA, and arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the APA; (2) set aside or vacate the Corps’ March 17, 2017 decision to adopt 2017 NWP 48 in Washington (effective March 19, 2017); (3) declare that the Corps, prior to adopting any new NWP for commercial shellfish aquaculture, must comply with NEPA, including the preparation of an EIS, and the CWA, including the requirement that any general permit not cause more than minimal adverse individual or cumulative impacts to Washington’s aquatic environment. 
Read US News article here:
Read article in The Olympian here:

Good old boys, slapping the backs
of politicians, paying a dollar here and there,
with a free oyster or two. It goes a long way.
(2016 lobbying visit by shellfish growers in DC)

In the papers filed, the Center pointed out one of the most glaring assumption swallowed by the Corps at the behest of the shellfish industry, defining a "new" operation:
The revised definition of “new” makes all operations “existing” so long as any commercial shellfish aquaculture took place in the area in the last 100 years. This would allow an operation in 2018 to be considered “existing” and thus avoid restrictions on “new” operations if, for example, oyster culture was conducted in 1919, with nothing in between.
Individual discrete parcels are becoming
one large area with multiple harvesting
cycles impacting the marine habitat
on an ongoing basis. 
Cumulative impacts matter.

Kao Torgeson Roosa - Pierce County, Public Hearing September 27, 9AM (Confirm with Ty Booth at ty.booth@co.pierce.wa.us or 253-798-3727)
Cumulative impacts matter and isolated events do not represent impacts adjacent operations create or vastly increasing operations creates. Throughout Puget Sound alone, what had been individual parcels are now becoming one large contiguous operation. These operations operate on multiple cycles creating an ongoing impact to the marine habitat on a scale not studied. One example is in Pierce County where two previously separate parcels operated. Now before the County is a permit request which would result in one large contiguous parcel. In Burley Lagoon, Taylor Shellfish is proposing a 25 acre operation. Thurston County has a 10 acre operation proposed by Chelsea Sea Farms and numerous smaller parcels. As noted in the papers filed, cumulative effects is defined as:
the changes in an aquatic ecosystem that are attributable to the collective effect of a number of individual discharges of dredged or fill material. Although the impact of a particular discharge may constitute a minor change in itself, the cumulative effect of numerous such piecemeal changes can result in a major impairment of the water resources and interfere with the productivity and water quality of existing aquatic ecosystems. 
Get involved and help support Center for Food Safety's efforts.
The papers filed go in to great detail about the current and future adverse impacts which will result directly from the Corps's issuing the 2017 Nationwide Permit 48 covering aquaculture. While lobbying over the past 3 years was effective in minimizing regulatory oversight of the shellfish industry by the Corps, that does not mean it should be accepted. You can help ensure the future of Washington's marine habitat will be protected by helping.
Read the Center's release here: 
Donate to the Center for Food Safety here:
Read the suit filed here: