Industrial Aquaculture update

A lot has happened recently regarding industrial aquaculture in the Puget Sound. Laura Hendricks (of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat) provided this update in an email:

“1. The new Army Corps Biological Assessment finally recognizes the harm [of industrial aquaculture] and states: Shellfish Aquaculture Effect Determination: "The proposed action may affect, likely to adversely affect Puget Sound Chinook salmon, Hood Canal Summer Chum salmon, bull trout and their designated critical habitat." It also states "may affect, likely to adversely affect green sturgeon." 

The adverse effects of shellfish aquaculture are documented in the new report in the link below: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Portals/27/docs/regulatory/160907/Shellfish%20PBA_%20Oct30_2015_final.pdf

The prior 2009 Biological Opinions stated: The proposed action "is not likely to jeopardize" those same species. We have been providing extensive comments/documents to Federal agencies since 2007 to document the harm.

[Note: the 2015 reference being referred to is the Programmatic Biological Assessment: Shellfish Activities in Washington State Inland Marine Waters. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District. 30 Oct. 2015.]

2. The Haley/Taylor Shoreline Hearings Board Decision now requires a Cumulative Impact Analysis for new shellfish aquaculture sites in Washington State. 

3.  The Taylor Shellfish 30 acre proposed Dungeness Spit geoduck operation next to the wildlife refuge has been withdrawn. After our public meeting in Sequim, citizens expressed their adamant objection to this proposed geoduck industrial site.

4.  The City of Bainbridge has passed strict aquaculture regulations that will be submitted to the Dept of Ecology banning plastic aquaculture gear. The industry has 2 years to phase out all plastics.   See Kitsap Sun Story:

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local/bainbridge-crafts-strict-limits-on-fish-and-shellfish-farming-3f679cbf-a0b5-6c10-e053-0100007f08d4-397995161.html

5.  San Juan County, Pierce County and the City of Bainbridge have passed comprehensive aquaculture regulations and they have been submitted to the Dept of Ecology. Kitsap County and Island County have already passed comprehensive aquaculture regulations.

6.  Pierce County issued a Determination of Significance on the proposed 25 acre Burley Lagoon/Pierce County geoduck operation. This is the first DOS/EIS required for intertidal shellfish aquaculture in Washington State. The shellfish industry, Dept of Ecology and the Governor's Office maintain shellfish aquaculture is either beneficial or benign despite mounting scientific evidence. See Kitsap Sun Story:

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local/burley-geoduck-plan-draws-opposition-3fcc6a2e-7f39-2bb9-e053-0100007ffc71-398785191.html

7.  The Monterrey Bay Aquarium changed their Green Best rating on geoduck to a Yellow rating because of the adverse effects that were pointed out. We still believe it should be further downgraded to a Red rating.

8.  New science indicates that farmed shellfish are ingesting plastic particles from the High Density Polyethylene netting that is used to cover them. We have been pointing out for years that this industry's practices are poisoning our aquatic life and both the farmed & wild shellfish that consumers are eating. In addition, the PSEMP toxic contaminants mussel study documented that there were persistent organic pollutants found in the mussels at every site. So what are you eating tonight?

Pending Litigation

We are still waiting for Detienne's Superior Court appeal decision where industry is trying to overturn our win that denied the 5 acre Detienne geoduck operation in Henderson Bay/Pierce County. Our Federal lawsuit against the Army Corps is still moving forward to require cumulative impacts analysis on not only endangered species, but all aquatic species and the effects on humans as required by NEPA. We continue to monitor the growers Ecology application to spray imidacloprid in Willapa Bay which is toxic to bees and aquatic life.

Please keep us in mind when considering year-end giving. We still need help in protecting our communities from Taylor Shellfish's insatiable expansion. Over the years, we cannot thank enough the scientists and Center for Food Safety who have spoken out about the harm of industrial aquaculture.

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