State fines Brinnon boat owner more than $16,000 for spill after sinking; DNR presents $123,446 bill for vessel’s recovery – PDN

An unfortunate set of events, both for the owner, and taxpayers that had to pay to have it towed away and dismantled.

The state Department of Ecology has fined the owner of Avalon, a 1929 wooden purse seiner, $16,244 after it sank and spilled diesel near Brinnon on Sept. 14. The owner, Randall Schleich, 56, of Brinnon, said he plans to partially contest the ruling, although he said he doesn’t have the resources to hire legal counsel and accepts responsibility for the spill. “I am going to contest it because I can’t afford to pay it,” he said. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150816/NEWS/308169980/state-fines-brinnon-boat-owner-more-than-16000-for-spill-after

Volunteers provide crucial surveys of sea stars to monitor a mysterious, devastating disease – Everett Herald

I’ve not seen an article on the sea star wasting disease issue lately. Here’s a short update.

Touching sea stars sheltering during low tide will reveal not sturdy, sandpiper skin but a soft and pulpy texture with white and oozing lesions, its limp, weakened rays and strained tube feet unable to grasp at craggy surfaces.  But what has caused such a gruesome change in our ochre sea stars?

Will the sea stars ever be able to recover?http://www.islandsweekly.com/news/319471421.html Anna Meyer reports. (Islands’ Weekly)

Biotoxin infesting part of Hood Canal usually free of it – PDN

Warning for those of you going out to do some shellfish gathering.

…. The Department of Health found high levels of the marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in Hood Canal early this summer, leading the state to close several beaches in Jefferson and Mason counties to shellfish harvest, many for the first time. Aria Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/biotoxin-infesting-part-of-hood-canal-usually-free-of-it_77950401

See also: More shellfish harvest closures in effect in Clallam County; shut areas stretch from Cape Flattery to Jefferson line http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150816/NEWS/308169987/more-shellfish-harvest-closures-in-effect-in-clallam-county-shut (Peninsula Daily News)

Interest flags in pink salmon fishery at Dungeness River mouth after number of returning fish turns out lower – PDN

I’ve shot video on the small group of tribal fishermen that work the beaches at the mouth of the Dungeness. They are out at dawn and often working hard to catch a few fish. It appears that this year will be a washout for them. The fish just aren’t returning in numbers large enough to warrant going out.

Interest has waned in a pink salmon fishery at the mouth of the Dungeness River now that the numbers originally expected haven’t developed, said the natural resources director for the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. The beach seine fishery, in which weighted nets are used to pull fish to shore, was developed by co-managers of the Jamestown S’Klallam, Port Gamble S’Klallam and Point No Point Treaty Council and approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to weed out some of the 1.3 million pinks expected to return this season, said Scott Chitwood on Friday. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150816/news/308169973/interest-flags-in-pink-salmon-fishery-at-dungeness-river-mouth-after

See also: Crews deepen channels to help struggling salmon amid drought http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/crews-deepen-channels-to-help-struggling-salmon/ Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Letters of opposition needed now on Navy Electronic Warfare Range

This in from the Protect Olympic Peninsula people:
The Executive Director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics told citizens that letters to Mr. Bonnie may be the best shot we have to defeat the plan of the Navy’s to turn the Olympic Peninsula into an Electronic Warfare Range.  We only have a few weeks left before the Forest Service makes its “decision”.
The letters don’t have to be long…but we need a lot of them! Can you spread this Alert through your own network, and perhaps share it with the younger generation who are so adept at social media? Know any groups who would post it on their Facebook page?
ACTION ALERT: SAVE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Please help save beautiful Olympic National Park from becoming a Warfare training Range! We have only a few weeks before the decision is made. YOUR voice is needed! See how you can help:
It has been recommended that the letters to Mr. Bonnie also be cc’d to our representatives. Thank you for caring and taking action.
Derek Kilmer’s exec secretary’s email address:

Geoduck farms expand along with rules and critics -KING

The conversion of Puget Sound beaches into industrial aqua farms continues. For some participants, like the Tribes, it’s all about attempting to continue a tradition that goes back thousands of years, and now has an economic component to it. The Tribes are reaching the end of having high quality geoducks for the ever expanding Chinese market.

For others like Taylor, it’s all about profit. (nothing wrong with that, as they are working within the system). And with all the governmental entities, like NOAA, Department of Ecology, and others convinced that “nothing is wrong with expanding aqua farming on our shores”, there is little left but lawsuits for those attempting to slow or stop their expansion. Follow the money.

While the number of acres seems so small as to make the general population wonder, “what’s the issue?”, the conversion often takes place on very beautiful beaches, many times with expensive homes sitting right above the commercial farm. Who wants a sea of nets covering their beaches, or a compression going all night in December at low tide. No beaches will likely ever be converted back once they have been put into industrial use.

New geoduck farming rules are rolling out across Puget Sound, prompting a renaissance in the clam harvest and a growing movement to stop it. In the last decade, Taylor Shellfish has expanded geoduck farms by 30 acres, with another 25 awaiting permit. They produce 700,000 pounds of geoduck per year, through which hundreds of jobs have been created. Their nursery is filled with tens of thousands of growing geoduck seed…. Now, counties across Puget Sound are adopting the new geoduck rules. That’s prompted renewed interest, along with big demand in Asia. The Department of Ecology counts 28 new geoduck farm permits since 2012. However, geoduck growth has also grown grit from critics. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

http://www.king5.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/08/13/geoduck-farm-taylor-shellfish/31679243/

Foundation removes 5,667 lost fishing nets from Puget Sound – AP, KOMO, and others

nwstraits derelict

The boats used to haul up the derelict nets deliver the speakers to the celebration. Some of faces of the celebration.

Thursday in Everett, the Northwest Straits Initiative celebrated the culmination of it’s shallow water derelict net removal project. It’s been a great project and they hope to eventually get funding to go after the deep water nets next. But the numbers below are really impressive. The takeaways from today’s celebration was how politicians of both sides of the aisle actually came together to fund this project. Furthermore, both Republicans and Democrats who spoke, including Senator Patty Murray, hailed the fact that this is an environmental project that actually accomplished what it set out to do. The Northwest Straits fund our local Marine Resources Committee, which has established the eel grass protection zones in Port Townsend Bay, and helped implement and monitor shellfish protection zones in Mystery Bay and Lower Hadlock.

The Northwest Straits Initiative identified the problem of lost and abandoned (derelict) fishing gear in Puget Sound in 2001 and began removing this gear in 2002. Through the years, the program (now managed by the Northwest Straits Foundation) has combined aggressive removal operations with research and prevention outreach to combat this problem on all fronts. The simple goal is to eliminate harm from derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound. Over the course of 13 years, the program has evolved into a national model of how to effectively address this problem.

June 30, 2015 marked the culmination of the removal of shallow (to 105’) water legacy derelict nets in Puget Sound. 5,667 nets have been removed, recovering 812 acres of marine habitat and protecting from entanglement thousands of animals every year. This represents 94% of the estimated 6,000 nets lost over decades. This marks a major milestone in the recovery of Puget Sound.

The removed nets contained over 450,000 entangled animals representing over 260 unique species, including 65 mammals, 1,092 birds, and 5,659 fish. Animals caught and killed in the gear include porpoises, seals, otters, diving birds like pigeon guillemots and cormorants, sharks, salmon, crabs, and octopus. Removing 5,667 nets has protected more than 1,700 mammals, 28,000 birds, 110,000 fish, and over 4.4 million marine organisms in total, from entanglement in derelict gear annually. More information about this effort can be found at www.derelictgear.org. Because of this net removal work, porpoises, diving birds, and fish can now swim and dive in Puget Sound without the risk of being entangled in derelict fishing nets. They now have free access to over 800 acres of marine habitat formally covered by dangerous derelict fishing nets.

In Puget Sound, derelict fishing nets were identified as a stressor on ESA listed marbled murrelets, salmon, and rockfish. Culmination of this work marks the successful completion of Near Term Action B3.2.1 in the 2014 Puget Sound Action Agenda, the comprehensive plan designed to clean up Puget Sound by 2020.

This work was supported by literally dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals over the years. Its final funding was supported by a bipartisan team of state legislators working across the aisle to solve this seemingly daunting problem.

The Northwest Straits Foundation is now working in collaboration with the fishing industry and fisheries co-managers to ensure that newly lost nets do not become. It is also developing methods to remove derelict fishing nets from deeper water and addressing the problem of derelict shellfish pots.

The Northwest Straits Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Northwest Straits Initiative, a collaborative model for marine conservation with a vision of diverse communities working together to restore a thriving marine ecosystem in the Northwest Straits of the Salish Sea. The Foundation works in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and seven local Marine Resources Committees (MRCs) of the Northwest Straits whose members represent the diverse stakeholders of their communities, and who identify and implement local marine conservation and restoration projects in their communities. Northwest Straits Foundation works with the MRCS to develop projects and attain funding support, as well as implement regional restoration and education programs, including its internationally-recognized Derelict Gear Removal Program. See www.nwstraitsfoundation.orgfor more information.

KOMO short piece on NW Straits Initiative ending it’s successful Derelict

This week the organization is celebrating the removal of 5,667 such nets, a feat it calls a “major milestone in the recovery of Puget Sound,” according to a news release. The foundation has removed 94 percent of about 6,000 nets reported as lost in Puget Sound.

Mhttp://www.komonews.com/news/local/Foundation-removes-5667-lost-fishing-nets-from-Puget-Sound-321765361.html

Lost nets, crab pots pulled from Puget Sound waters http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article31054404.html
Divers pulled more than 5,660 derelict fishing nets from Puget Sound’s shallow water — within 105 feet of the surface — as part of the work to remove lost and abandoned gear that had snared and indiscriminately killed marine life, sometimes for decades. Bellingham-based Northwest Straits Foundation led the project. It started in 2002 and ended June 30 this year. About 3,800 crab pots also were removed. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Long-running effort to remove deadly ghost nets reaches major milestonehttp://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2015/08/13/long-running-effort-to-remove-deadly-ghost-nets-reaches-major-milestone/Christopher Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

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