Comments are due today (25 January 2018) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Seattle District regarding the Shellfish Activity Programmatic Biological Opinion's Conservation Measures. They’re due today because tomorrow the Corps will be meeting with the National Marine Fisheries Service to address objections to the Conservation Measures raised by the shellfish industry. Some suggested general comments are that strong regulations that protect our eelgrass, forage fish, and shoreline habitat are essential to preserve the ecosystem web that sustains our salmon, orcas, eagles, migrating birds and other animals (of which so many people have invested so many hours of labor and so many dollars) are much appreciated. Expanding industrialization of the shoreline will cause continued degradation of the Puget Sound.
Other points to consider: Self-reporting by the shellfish industry (for example, where it’s presumed that the shellfish industry will self-report animals trapped in its nets, as per section 23 of the Conservation Measures Verification Enclosure described below) is an inherently weak form of enforcement. Also, there should be penalties for infractions against the Conservation Measures, and these penalties should be posted.
Email your comments to Matthew Bennett, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Seattle District
You can access the Army Corps of Engineers website and the shellfish aquaculture section by clicking on http://www.nws.usace.army.mil, and then clicking on “Shellfish Aquaculture.” There you will find the “Shellfish Aquaculture Comment Form 2018” and the “Conservation Measures Verification Enclosure.”