Event: Shellfish Aquaculture Educational Forum – Port Townsend

The Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee will be holding an educational forum on shellfish aquaculture on June 28th. Don’t expect any mention of the controversy over geoduck aquaculture in Jefferson County, unless of course, you come prepared to bring it up. They have decided that it’s too controversial to add to the agenda. However, they might need reminding  that the front page of their web site does say their mission is:

Our mission is to protect and restore the marine environments of East Jefferson County by raising community awareness of issues and generating support for Northwest Straits Commission (NWSC) programs and activities.

One has to wonder what protect means to them.

I have been told that Amy Carey is not going to be speaking. She has withdrawn. Correction: Though Amy told me she was canceling two days ago, she apparently has changed her mind as of today. Also, even though they claim there is representation from, “environmental groups” that is not true. There are no such groups on the agenda to discuss the issues of conversion of tidelands to monoculture geoduck farms nor the lawsuits that have been filed against one of the MRC member’s company.  I think that if you wish to bring your concerns about geoduck aquaculture, you should do so. No one will stand up and fight for your point of view at this “educational day” other than you, the reader. Since space is limited if you plan on attending you should let them know. Info on signup is listed below.

I need to also state that I was once the environmental representative to this MRC, but have resigned over the agenda to this educational day. I feel it is not representative of the spirit nor the mission of this organization.

The questions needing to be raised, that won’t be, can be summed up by a recent Sea Grant study, which found that:

This study, one of several funded by the state Legislature and overseen by Washington Sea Grant, found that more than doubling geoduck farming efforts in central Puget Sound could negatively impact salmon, eagles and great blue herons. Small crustaceans and moon snails might also decrease. Surf perch and small crabs fared better in this scenario, probably because they can find refuge and benefit from added farming structures like plastic piping.

Resilience of Soft-Sediment Communities after Geoduck Harvest in Samish Bay, Washington

“The study also found that under one scenario, geoduck farming in the main basin of Puget Sound could more than double before the ecosystem would feel significant impacts.”

The question needing to asked of Puget Sound shoreline landowners and others interested in the protection of salmon, eagles, and their ecosystems, which has not been debated, is “while the carrying capacity of this system might be that great, should we be accepting that as the outcome?”  It’s not whether it can support that much, but should we be doing that much? Who gets to decide? the industry or the people impacted?

If you want to get a quick overview of some shoreline homeowners in the South Sound that have been involved in trying to stop geoduck aquaculture from destroying their small bay, this web site will give you a small sample of what should have been given 10 minutes in a four hour agenda on the aquaculture industry. It’s a good quick read.


and for a more comprehensive story:


also this is a 2007 map by DNR outlining new aquaculture sites in Jefferson and Mason Counties. This is by no means exhaustive and obviously out of date. I’ve not seen a newer one yet.



PRESS RELEASE — June 6, 2019

Event: Shellfish Aquaculture Educational Forum

Date: June 28, 1-5 pm

Location: Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St, Port Townsend


Cheryl Lowe, Coordinator

Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee Cheryl.lowe@wsu.edu

360-379-5610 x 230

The Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) is hosting a Shellfish Aquaculture Educational Forum on Friday, June 28th at 1 pm at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend. The MRC has organized this forum to increase public understanding of shellfish aquaculture issues, management and impacts by providing a variety of perspectives and emphasizing science-based information. Presenters from the research community, regulatory agencies, environmental groups and shellfish growers will address a range of issues related to ecological, cultural and economic aspects of growing clams, oysters, mussels and geoducks.

Speakers include Jodie Toft (Deputy Director of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund), Kurt Grinnell (Council Member for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe), Bobbi Hudson (Executive Director of the Pacific Shellfish Institute), Rick Mraz (WA Dept of Ecology), Dave Kangiser and Mark Toy (WA Dept of Health), Amy Carey (Director of Sound Action) and Dave Steele (owner of Rock Point Oyster Co.).

The program is free, but pre-registration is required. For more info about the program and how to register, go to https://www.jeffersonmrc.org. Funding for this program is provided through the Northwest Straits Commission, Puget Sound Partnership and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Northwest Maritime Center is also a sponsor.

About Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee

The Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) is a citizen-based volunteer committee appointed by the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners. It is one of seven county-based MRCs which conduct marine and nearshore restoration, conservation, and education projects with diverse partners and community members. For more information visit http://www.jeffersonmrc.org.

2 Responses

  1. Shellfish aquaculture is a complex issue. The MRC is hoping people will come away with a better understanding of the current regulations, basic concepts and some of the issues of concern that can inform future conversations. FYI–Amy Carey is still planning to come speak about the work of Sound Action as part of the agenda.

  2. Well said, Al. I’m certain no one else will bring up the topic of industrial-scale growing of oyster seeds, but OFCO will be present nonetheless. It will be good to listen and take notes of their overall views for shellfish production.

    Connie g

    On Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 10:22 PM Olympic Peninsula Environmental News wrote:

    > Al B. posted: “The Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee will be > holding an educational forum on shellfish aquaculture on June 28th. Don’t > expect any mention of the controversy over geoduck aquaculture in Jefferson > County, unless of course, you come prepared to br” >

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