Washington, NOAA launch next step of shellfish initiative – AP


Governor Inslee moves forward on more aquaculture support without spending any more money.  Locally, we support the efforts to restore Olympia Oysters, and the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee is doing so in Discovery Bay. The MRC  also support a variety of shellfish growers, and are happy that the Tribes are able to make good money selling Geoducks to China.

However, the article is accurate in that environmentalists and shoreline homeowners are very concerned over the State’s willingness to turn entire bays in the South Sound into shellfish farms, despite the fact that these beds are on beaches right in front of homes and will never really be allowed to go back to a natural state, if that’s even possible. It is important to understand that aquaculture rights were established as a priority of shoreline land use  when the State was founded. The shellfish industry has legal right to harvest on  almost all shores below extreme low tide, based on a reading of state statute RCW 79.96.010 (of course the State leases the land first), and seems willing to take as much as it can to do so, regardless of the opinions of the homeowners who’s “backyard” they are farming, or concerns of environmentalists. (this is a clarification of an earlier version of this article)

The harvesting often is late at night in the winter, and noisy enough to disrupt homeowners. Large scale netting of the beach to protect the shellfish from predators leads to birds being caught in nets, and the inability of shoreline homeowners to use their beaches. Real estate agents rarely seem to warn prospective buyers of the issue.  Lawsuits to reign in the growers expansion seem to be rarely successful. The industry is heavily regulated, and the growers need to get a variety of permits to set up a farm. Some recent Shoreline Master Plans have attempted to put some limits on shellfish growers, with little success.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday renewed the state’s commitment to protecting Washington’s lucrative shellfish resources. Inslee joined federal, tribal and other leaders at the National Fish & Oyster Co. in Olympia to launch the second phase of the Washington Shellfish Initiative, which former Gov. Chris Gregoire initiated in 2011. The state, working with many partners including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will take new steps to improve water quality, restore native shellfish such as Olympia oysters, improve the permitting process for shellfish-growers and promote ways to address how ocean acidification is affecting shellfish. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.kirotv.com/ap/ap/washington/washington-noaa-launch-next-step-of-shellfish-init/np6H6/

One Response

  1. A major problem with geoduck installations has been the overuse of PVC tubes in which to plant multiple geoduck seed. As geoducks grow and compete for space, they often dislodge the tubes that escape cover nets, float away or sink to the bottom. The new planting technique involves what I call a plastic net sleeve which is supposed to protect the seed. 43,000 p/acre may appear to be less visually intrusive than the same number of pvc tubes. However, during an August windstorm off Harstene Island, a barge listed and bags of plastic sleeves fell into the Sound. During this winter, we have found some of those sleeves all the way North in Burley Lagoon! We know the source because the thin plastic tie was stamped with the owner’s phone number on Harstene. New device,new problem.

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