A Second Court Rejects Cooke Aquaculture’s Challenge Over Termination of Port Angeles Net Pen Lease

Port Angeles Netpen managed by Cook Aquaculture – Photo provided by Wild Fish Conservancy

Cook loses another one. Very good news.

Media Contacts: Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director, kurt@wildfishconservancy.org

DECEMBER 17, 2021—In another legal defeat for Cooke Aquaculture, a second Washington state court has rejected efforts by the seafood giant to sue Washington state over the termination of the company’s lease for their Port Angeles netpen operation. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming a lower court ruling upholding the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) decision to terminate the lease.

The Court’s decision represents another major step forward in the public’s hard-fought efforts to remove this dirty industry from Puget Sound waters,” says Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director. “I applaud the Courts for putting our natural resources and the interest of the public ahead of this powerful corporate interest.”

The court said:

We hold that the superior court properly applied the arbitrary and capricious standard of
review because DNR’s decision to terminate the lease was administrative, and that DNR’s decision to terminate the lease was not arbitrary and capricious. Accordingly, we affirm the superior court’s final order upholding DNR’s lease termination decision.

This week’s decision concludes a nearly four-year appeal process that began in early 2018 when Cooke filed suit against DNR, arguing the agency had wrongfully terminated the lease ahead of the 2025 expiration date. In 2020, a Thurston County Superior Court Judge rejected Cooke’s challenge and the company appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals which issued the opinion this week.

DNR terminated the lease in December 2017 after an investigation revealed various violations at the Port Angeles facility,including operating outside of its boundaries, failure to pay rent timely, and not operating the facility in a safe condition.Shortly following the termination, the net pens were completely removed from Port Angeles Harbor.This week the Court overwhelming rejected Cooke’s opinion that the decision to terminate the lease was arbitrary and capricious, finding DNR’s decision “was based on facts supported by substantial evidence, pursuant to plain terms of the contract, was well reasoned and made with due regard to the facts and circumstances.”Cooke is also suing DNR in a separate ongoing lawsuit over the early termination of the company’s Cypress Island lease.The lease was terminated following the 2017 catastrophic collapse of a Cooke net pen that released over 260,000 nonnative Atlantic salmon infected with an exotic virus into Puget Sound. A comprehensive investigation by Washington agencies found Cooke at fault for the collapse and Cooke was also required to pay $2.75 million in Clean Water Act violations in a lawsuit brought by Wild Fish Conservancy. The collapse also resulted in Washington passing a landmark and widely celebrated law banning all nonnative Atlantic salmon finfish aquaculture, Cooke’s only enterprise at the time.“I hope the public will join me in thanking Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and her department for their unwavering commitment to protecting Puget Sound in the face of Cooke’s meritless, costly, and time-consuming lawsuits,” says Beardslee. “Under Commissioner Franz’s leadership, DNR has a proven record as the only regulatory agency in Washington willing to take bold action to hold this dangerous industry accountable.”In a controversial decision, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife permitted Cooke in 2020 to begin rearing steelhead in their Puget Sound net pens where the company holds valid leases. With the Cypress Island and Port Angeles leases terminated by DNR, Cooke only holds valid leases for two net pen sites in Puget Sound. Both leases will expire next year and Cooke will need to apply and secure new leases from DNR to continue operating in Washington. In a letter to Cooke earlier this year, DNR warned the company that the agency has not yet decided if they will issue Cooke new leases.“This week’s Court decision could not have come at a more important time. With Cooke’s only existing leases set to expire next year, DNR is in a critical decision-making period that will determine the future of this industry in Puget Sound,” says Beardslee. “

The Court’s decision removes any opportunity for Cooke to try and recover millions in lost revenue from DNR, which would have provided Cooke important leverage to potentially negotiate their future and new leases in our public waters.”

In July 2020, Wild Fish Conservancy submitted official applications to DNR requesting to lease all of the sites used by Cooke for commercial net pen aquaculture. This alternative proposal, the Taking Back Our Sound Restoration Project,seeks to hold these waters in public trust for the sole purposes of restoring these polluted sites to their natural state and restoring the public’s access to over 130 acres of Puget Sound that have been restricted for private profit for over three decades. This proposal is supported by a broad-based coalition of over 100 businesses and organizations and over 6,000 individuals who have signed onto an ongoing petition to Commissioner Franz calling on DNR to not extend, renew, or reissue leases for commercial net pen aquaculture in Puget Sound and to instead lease these waters for this unprecedented restoration project.“The expiration of these leases comes only once in a decade and offers the public a rare opportunity to work together to take back our sound from the net pen industry, “says Beardslee. “Cooke’s first lease will expire in March 2022, there foreit’s critical at this time that we continue to work together to call on DNR to make the right decision for wild fish and the health of Puget Sound.

West Coast Dungeness crab season to open Dec. 1 for first time in years – AP

Very good news for both the crab and those of us that eat them.

For the first time in years, commercial Dungeness crab fisheries in Oregon, Washington state and Northern California will begin on the traditional Dec. 1 opener after recent preseason testing showed high meat yield in crabs across the region.

Seattle Times
Photo courtesy of NOAA

Read the whole story here.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/west-coast-dungeness-crab-season-to-open-dec-1-for-first-time-in-years/

https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/marine-area-10-seattlebremerton-reopens-nov-22-late-season-crab-fishing

DNR approves oyster farm in National Wildlife Refuge. Time to take action.

A Department of Natural Resources head who claims to be an environmentalist has “no knowledge” of her office letting commercial aquaculture invade a National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo of Dungeness Spit by Al Bergstein

Hilary Franz who is the head of the department of natural resources here in Washington state, approved putting a commercial shellfish aquaculture business inside the Dungeness Spit wildlife refuge just to the right in this photo. Up to 80,000 oyster bags covering the bottom. This refuge was created for diving birds and other wildlife that feed here. You and I can’t even fly a kite in there and haven’t been able to for 100 years.

As this author wrote back in 2018:

New concerns over the possible permitting of an oyster aquaculture farm within the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge have been raised by the Department of the Interior, which manages the refuge. In a letter written to Steve Gray, the Clallam County Deputy Director and Planning Manager, Jennifer Brown-Scott, the Project Leader for the Department of the Interior, has raised significant questions about issues concerning the application.

Of concern to the Department are a number of issues relating to wildlife in the refuge. The applicants have asked for permission to place approx. 150,000 (it appears that 80,000 is the current number at most) of “on bottom” oyster bags on the central west side of the bay, in approximately 34 acres of the tide flats 1141 acres of the inner spit. This appears to be approx. 3.35% the inner bay area.  The applicants propose to raise non-native oysters. To be clear, a significant number of cultivated oysters in the Salish Sea are non-native, so this is not a surprise.

Within the area of the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge are federally listed species that are protected or have environmental listings of concern. They include but aren’t limited to: Bull Trout, Marbled Murrelet, Puget Sound Chinook and Hood Canal Summer Chum. Also within the area is significant state listed wildlife habitat. Of somewhat lesser concern is the impact on the public to the scenic beauty of the wildlife preserve, which is one of the main reasons most visitors go to the area in the first place.

Herring also spawn at the west end of Dungeness Harbor and the Department of Interior raised questions about protecting Strait of Juan de Fuca herring, which have been designated “critical” (as in critically low).  Sand Lance and Surf Smelt spawning grounds are also found in the area of the application. These species have been identified as “Washington Species of Greatest Conservation Need within the State Wildlife Action Plan (WDFW 2015). A worry related to this is that these spawning fish will be competing with the oysters for plankton. A failure to find enough food could lead to a significant reduction in the survival rates. There is no know mitigation for this, other than limiting the size and scope of the project.

The area just to the east of the proposed site is the location of the highest infestation of European Green Crabs in the Salish Sea. Another concern is that the proposed oyster bags may provide habitat for green crabs, allowing them to be moved to other areas outside the Spit the bags are transported.

This shoreline has been designated “Natural” in the Critical Areas Ordinance, as far back as 1976. That designation limits activities to those that preserve the national features unchanged. One would assume that the tidelands are also part of that designation.

Noted bird biologist George Divoky commented:

When birds can’t find their food in an area they have used in the past they will not die at that location but fly elsewhere to find suitable habitat. Mortality could occur due to the costs of involved in seeking out that habitat. Certainly, the aquaculture being proposed would modify the habitat used by the birds and all of the far less visible components of the nearshore ecosystem. People tend to focus on birds being affected by anthropogenic changes to the marine environment – since they are visible and warm-blooded vertebrates – but this sort of exploitation of the marine environment by the growth economy would have ecosystem effects.

George Divoky

It is certainly reasonable for the applicants to want to return to aquaculture in the Bay, however the scale is being significantly increased. Science has learned a lot about the environment since the time when the State allowed the use in this location, dating back to around the time of WWII. In many other locations we have decided that the tradeoff of commercial activity is outweighed by a newer appreciation of the value of the natural landscape for a variety of species.  One example of this is that we have ended other bad practices, such as gold mining in salmon streams, which was accomplished not that long ago.

It is up to all of us to question our elected officials and bureaucrats, not the applicants, as to why they believe that this is in all our best interests, when we so clearly have set this aside this location for wildlife protection and enhancement.

What the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Reserve will soon look like. As many as 80,000 of these bags will be located on the bottom.

The head of DNR, Commissioner Franz, when recently asked at a fundraiser for Jefferson County Democratic supporters about her department permitting this controversial site, said, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” However, the Department approved it on her letterhead. She also had a direct report of hers send out a response letter to an environmentalist who was expressing their concern in August. The letter stated that “Commissioner Franz has asked that I respond to your concerns on her behalf.

As the old saying goes, “The buck stops here.” Commissioner Franz, in her second term, has run on being an environmental supporter if not an activist. Her campaign web site states” Hilary is on the front lines protecting our lands and waters and standing up for our communities.” A search of her campaign finance contributions showed both the Grantee, along with Pacific Seafood and Taylor Shellfish as donors. That in and of itself seems unseemly, if not worse, to be taking donations from the very people who you are regulating. But we all know it happens all the time. However, her ongoing blanket approvals of the ever-expanding shellfish industry now has apparently been a bit of environmental protection that she does not even pay attention to in her department.

What could she have done instead? Land swap. It’s being done by her department all over the State, where environmentally sensitive areas are being protected. That it wasn’t even a point of discussion is irresponsible.

In a letter to local activists, by Katrina Lassiter, the Interim Deputy Supervisor for Aquatic Resources it was stated that “These measures were created through collaboration and input from scientists, regulatory agencies, and the environmental community including the Audubon Society.”

On 8/20/21, Ms. Lassiter was asked to provide documentation for the statement: She has not responded. No environmental organization that was contacted offered any support for that statement.

Where were the local Audubon Society and Sierra Club members? They both apparently thought it was too controversial and choose to take no action. Why be a member of groups that were created to protect the environment and now can’t even take verbal stand against an action like this? Where is the Washington Environmental Council and their People For Puget Sound Campaigns? Silent. Remember this as you consider your end of the year donations.

Want to put your money where it works? Try starting with the Protect Our Peninsula’s Future, or the Olympic Forest Coalition, or Sea Shepard’s legal fund, or the Wild Fish Conservancy, or the Center for Environmental Law, or any of the other organizations who will sue for change, since we cannot rely on paper “environmentalists” to do the work we expect of them. They all seem to be beholden to the people continuing these policies of destruction. Everyone seems to want to restore destroyed environments but few want to stop them from being destroyed in the first place.

The call to action on your parts, if you choose to take one, is to call Commissioner Franz’ office and let them know your dissatisfaction with this decision. When she comes to your county looking for donations for her future political ambitions, tell her when she reverses this decision, you’ll consider funding her next campaign.

Her number is (360) 902-1000.

Learning from a legacy of overfishing – Salish Sea Currents Magazine


Fishing for rockfish was once promoted as a sustainable alternative to salmon harvests, but when rockfish numbers plummeted, fisheries managers realized they had a problem. Now a rockfish recovery plan seeks to reverse the damage as scientists learn more about protecting this once-popular game fish. David Williams writes. (Salish Sea Currents Magazine)

Learning from a legacy of overfishing

Good news out of COPS-26

There was so much to be cynical about over the last two weeks of the climate meeting in Glasgow, called COPS-26. But a little discussed part of it was the awards for the places in the world that are acting without waiting, moving us towards a future that we hope the rest of the world will catch up to eventually.

Samsø: An Island Community Pointing to the Future | Denmark

https://unfccc.int/climate-action/un-global-climate-action-awards/climate-leaders/samso

This was one of the winners of the United Nations Climate Leaders Action Awards:

Denmark’s municipality of the island of Samsø has completely transformed its energy system from fossil fuels to renewable energy, becoming the world’s first renewable energy island. Key results that have been achieved include: becoming carbon negative; 100% local ownership of renewable energy investments; and significant socio-economic benefits from the energy transition.

https://unfccc.int/climate-action/un-global-climate-action-awards/climate-leaders/samso

Here is a short video on some of the winners of the 2021 Action Awards. Can we be next? Kiwi over at Edensaw has gone 100% solar, as he mentions in the comments below!

Don’t Be So Quick to Doubt China’s Climate Change Dedication -NY Times

While watching the COPS-26 Circus in Glasgow over the last couple weeks it’s easy to get dismayed especially about China’s commitments to solving global warming. However this interesting article in the New York Times today has a different perspective on it from someone who has followed the Chinese environmental stories for the last 20 years. Well worth a read if you’re feeling down about what happened in Glasgow. some of you might have also missed that China announced about a month ago or so the largest solar farm in the world to be constructed in the deserts in eastern China. I think that China takes global warming far more seriously than we do in some cases. They are a leader in electric bike and car production and have ambitious goals to produce vastly more of them. It’s just that, given their behavior on the world stage, it’s very hard to know what it all really means.

www.nytimes.com/2021/11/07/opinion/cop26-china-climate.html

U.S. to reopen land border to fully vaccinated Canadians next month. 

It’s time.

Fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed to enter the United States at land and ferry border crossings starting in early November.

Senior U.S. officials announced Tuesday night a plan to begin reopening the land borders with Canada and Mexico, which have been closed for non-essential travel since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

An exact date for the reopening has not yet been determined, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters earlier about the plan during a conference call.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/us-canada-border-reopen-1.6208838

Valuable crab populations are in a ‘very scary’ decline in warming Bering Sea

The latest from the Alaska seafood front. The warming planet is now severely impacting Alaskan crab.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/valuable-crab-populations-crash-in-a-warming-bering-sea/

In the Absence of Cruise Ships, Humpbacks have different things to say -Hakai Magazine

Hakai Magazine always has interesting stories. It’s amazing to me that we spend billions trying to land on other planets, yet we cannot spend similar funds to unlock the mysteries of the languages of the creatures we share this planet with, who we clearly know are communicating with brains much larger than ours. We don’t need to go to another galaxy before we really understand the home planet. We don’t have much time left, as our species seems hell bent on ending it’s short time here. Maybe the whales who have lived here far longer than us, may have something to tell us about saving ourselves.


Researchers don’t know exactly what the whales were saying, of course, but the discovery that the proportions of call types changed is intriguing on its own. Amorina Kingdon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

In the Absence of Cruise Ships, Humpbacks Have Different Things to Say

Hydrogen Fuel may not be the salvation we have been told.

New studies show the dangers in betting on hydrogen fuel. By the way, who has been promoting it’s use? The oil and gas industry, of course.

www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/climate/hydrogen-fuel-natural-gas-pollution.html

Cooke Aquaculture Secures Permit to Stock Risky Washington Fish Farm

From the Wild Fish Conservancy. Reproduced in it’s entirety.

Cooke Aquaculture Secures Permit to Stock Risky Washington Fish Farm
For Immediate Release, August 6, 2021


SEATTLE— Despite ongoing litigation and timing questions regarding the lease for the facility, the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife has granted fish farming giant Cooke Aquaculture a permit to stock its Hope Island
facility in-water net pens with steelhead.


A group of conservation groups challenged the initial permits for stocking steelhead in Cooke’s net-pens, and that
challenge will be heard by the Supreme Court of Washington in September. Fish farms can degrade water quality,
introduce disease to native fish populations and threaten imperiled animals like the Southern Resident orcas.
But the new permit, signed August 5 by the department, will allow for 365,000 steelhead to be transported and placed
in Cooke’s facility off Hope Island in south Puget Sound before the court’s decision.


“We feel blindsided by this fast-moving process, which could cause major environmental damage,” said Sophia
Ressler, Washington wildlife attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The stocking of this facility has the
potential to contaminate our waters and threaten the species that are so dear to our Puget Sound ecosystem.”
The lease for the facility expires in March 2022. Based on Cooke’s own timeline, this is long before the rearing of the
365,000 steelhead at this facility would be complete. Without a valid lease for this farm beyond that deadline, Cooke
would be required to remove these fish and relocate them.

“Right now, Washington’s highest court is deciding whether Cooke Aquaculture’s new project should have ever been
approved. Before the end of the year, the court could invalidate every permit granted to Cooke and require the
comprehensive environmental review demanded by Tribal Nations, elected officials and thousands of members of the
public,” said Kurt Beardslee of Wild Fish Conservancy. “This decision to approve the transport of fish into Puget
Sound net pens while the court’s decision is pending is fundamentally reckless and further demonstrates an alarming
pattern of state agencies putting the wishes of a billion-dollar industry ahead of wild salmon recovery, tribal treaty
rights and the public’s best interest.”

“The state failed the public and our imperiled wild fish when it granted these permits and allowing stocking to go
forward while our case is pending at the Washington Supreme Court is the epitome of irresponsible,” said Amy van
Saun, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety. “Industrial fish farming is not in the public interest.”
“We are dismayed to see the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife again greenlighting Cooke’s plans to
industrially farm steelhead in Puget Sound,” said Hallie Templeton, senior oceans campaigner and deputy legal
director at Friends of the Earth. “That this permit has been issued before oral arguments in our appeal over the
agency’s aquaculture permit is a slap in the face to all Washingtonians and the wildlife who depend on a clean and safe
Puget Sound.”

Background

Following a catastrophic failure at one of Cooke’s facilities in 2017, Washington state passed a law phasing out all
Atlantic salmon net-pen aquaculture by 2022. The permits issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife allow Cooke
to continue operating its net pens, which are placed directly into Puget Sound waters, by growing steelhead instead of
Atlantic salmon.

During a public comment period in fall 2019, thousands of Washington citizens and organizations filed comments
with the state agency, overwhelmingly calling for the proposal to be stopped and urging the state to draft a new
“environmental impact statement” on open-water aquaculture net pens.
Instead the state wildlife department issued a permit that relied on a cursory analysis and “mitigated determination of
non significance.” The calls for deeper scrutiny came from environmental advocates, commercial fishers and anglers,
legislators, other state agencies and at least five tribal governments from the lands around Puget Sound.
Washington is the only state on the Pacific coast that permits these facilities. At the beginning of 2020, Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to transition all open-water industrial aquaculture in British Columbia
to land-based facilities by 2025.

The conservation groups that brought this challenge are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC and by
attorneys at the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity.
Additional Information:
• Open Brief (filed 2-11-20)
• More Information on the Lawsuit (press release 11-23-20)
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org Wild Fish Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation ecology organization headquartered in Washington State and dedicated to preserving, protecting and restoring the northwest’s wild fish and the ecosystems they depend on, through science, education and advocacy. For more information: http://www.wildfishconservancy.org
Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture, including aquaculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and a healthy, resilient environment.
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who
live and work near them

Canada and the United States release new action plan for Salish Sea Ecosystem – Yahoo Finance

More good news as the Biden Administration opens up communications and cooperation with neighbors.

…Today, the governments of Canada and the United States announced that they have signed a new four-year “Action Plan” under their Joint Statement of Cooperation—first signed in 2000—that commits both countries to work together on transboundary issues and challenges facing the Salish Sea ecosystem. Under the action plan, the two nations will continue to engage with partners across the region to advance shared priorities for ecosystem health, including information sharing, improving transboundary coordination, and reporting on ecosystem health. Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also updated their joint “Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report” analyzing ten indicators of the health of the Salish Sea. Overall trends described in this report reveal some improvement, but also areas of no change or decline that can be identified as ecosystem priorities for future action. (Yahoo Finance)

Canada and the United States release new action plan for Salish Sea Ecosystem (yahoo.com)

New short video by Pacific Wild

Pacific wild opposes wolf culling. The have been doing some beautiful short 30 second spots. No message, just the beauty of the wolf.

https://vimeo.com/572671100

Solar rooftops fight solar farms in Infrastructure bill.Seattle Times

Interesting take on a battle for the future of energy transmission. Note that solar rooftops provided a small but significant amount of California’s electricity when needed during the wildfire electrical outages.

More power lines, or rooftop solar panels? The fight over energy’s future.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/more-power-lines-or-rooftop-solar-panels-the-fight-over-energys-future/

Virus spreads from B.C. fish farms to wild Chinook salmon, study finds – Seattle Times

For years, Alexandra Morton, the leading scientist in documenting the effects of farmed salmon on wild salmon stocks, has been talking about the presence of piscine orthoreovirus in farmed salmon and it’s apparent devastating spread to wild stocks in British Columbia. It’s been a bit unclear whether fish from the United States have been impacted by it, but  “our” fish travel far and wide before returning home. If they got the disease they very likely would die before reaching their spawning grounds. Horrific footage done for her documentary film “Salmon Confidential” from 2013, documented what Alexandra claimed was Picene Orthorevirus.  She asked for help from researchers to validate what she was seeing. Now, researchers from the University of British Columbia and other organizations, using genomic techniques,  have documented the disease and warned against it’s spread.

Why does this matter to us on the Peninsula?  Locally,  a few years ago, in order to educate and warn on this issue, I brought this to the attention of the local Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, who has a member who is the local manager and spokesman for Taylor Shellfish. He denounced Alexandra in angry tones, and has used his bully pulpit to belittle her research to the committee, calling her a “fake scientist” and urging support for farmed fish in our waters. He never offered a shred of evidence to support his claims, and showed up at a public meeting with other members of his company to shout down a leading scientist and professor from British Columbia who spoke at a forum in Port Angeles a few years ago on the topic. The Committee, who’s charter it is to protect our local waters, has done little to challenge the claims of the member, who provides them with Olympia oyster brood stock for local recovery efforts.

While the shellfish and the fish farming industry, comprised of local tribes and international companies from Canada and Norway have continued to mount a propaganda and lobbying campaign at both the local and national level  to support fish farming, the evidence continues to mount of the cost to wild stocks. We have been told for decades of the wonders of farmed fish and of hatcheries, only to see native stocks continue to plummet. Have one doubt and they call it treason, as Les McCann once said. We as taxpayers spend tens of millions of dollars funding salmon restoration while this newest science shows that one of the answers to the decline in our stocks may be found right in front of our doorsteps, in the shape of net pens. It is obviously not just this one thing but death by a “thousand cuts”. Climate change, destruction of habitat through logging and farming, a history of overfishing sanctioned by the state up until the Boldt Decision,  and yes, disease.  The danger of these concentrated feed lots to our wild stocks is easy to see, and now we are getting more proof of them spreading disease. The fact that the managers of these feed lots need to put various chemicals into the waters to keep fish healthy is just one indicator. The vast amount of feed they pump Into the waters attract wild fish, who can then be exposed to any illness carried in the farmed fish. The ecosystems under the pens is destroyed for decades, if not permanently.

The science has shown over the decades that wild fish are more resistant to changes in their climate and surroundings than farmed fish. They have learned to evolve as the ice ages came and went, destroying their home streams. They are survivors. But can they survive our efforts to ‘improve’ engineered fish?

The people who profit from this industry continue to put forward the notion that “nothing is wrong”. This article is yet another clear warning that the dues will come due sooner than later. Our wild stocks continue to struggle to survive, as do the mammals like Orcas that rely on them. It is worth noting that since time immemorial we have been gifted with an enormous source of free protein in the shape of these wild animals. They have supported civilizations on this coast for centuries, who harvested sustainably, even though they never used that word. Many of the poorest of us have been fed in the past by simply putting a cheap boat in the water or a line in a river.  Now with stocks dwindling and costs skyrocketing far beyond the reach of most people who need the protein the most, we continue to buy into the notion that “all is well” as propagated by those who make a profit off the resource and will simply pack up and go somewhere else when they have exhausted it.

It is a sad commentary that the very people charged with protecting our waters, continue to stand by and do nothing, take no stand,  while the paid mouthpieces of the industry shout down our scientists. Like the poem by Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, where the two cry tears over the sad fate of the oysters as they proceed to eat every single one.

The study traces the origins of piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV, to Atlantic salmon farms in Norway, and found that the virus is now almost ubiquitous in salmon farms in B.C. The virus has been shown to sicken farmed fish.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/virus-spreads-from-bc-fish-farms-to-wild-chinook-salmon-new-study-finds/

New survey offers a glimmer of hope for declining native bee populations – WaPost

I know I’ve seen questions about a lack of bees lately. Thought you might appreciate this.

The tribulations of the honeybee are well-known, even if the origins of the mysterious colony collapse disorder that wiped out hives a few years ago are not easily explained. Then came our awareness of the afflictions of the bumblebee. Of more than 40 species of this beloved creature in North America, half are said to be in decline. One of the most vexing developments is the near disappearance of the once ubiquitous rusty-patched bumblebee over the past 25 years. Adrian Higgins reports. (Washington Post)

New survey offers a glimmer of hope for declining native bee populations

Kurt Grinnell, ” A tower of strength for the Jamestown S’klallam tribe” dies in car crash

In perhaps the most shocking death in a year of death and illness, Jamestown S’Klallam tribal council member Kurt Grinnell, died in a single car crash on Mount Pleasant road outside of Port Angeles. He was heading home at the time.

Kurt was the CEO of Jamestown Seafoods, and chaired the tribe’s natural resources committee, as well as represented the Jamestown S’Klallam on the Point No Point Treaty Council and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

I worked with Kurt on a number of tribal video projects in the last decade. I also talked to him during the battle to shut down Atlantic net pen salmon operations in the state after the disaster of a net pen failure. While he and the Tribe supported the end of Atlantic Salmon net pens, they had their own plans to run native fish in net pens. It raised the hackles of some in the environmental movement that wanted an end to all net pens. But Kurt’s perspective helped end the practice of using Atlantic salmon in pens here. I supported his position. It was a workable compromise to achieve a needed goal. And I knew that if he and the Tribe backed that position, it would prevail in Olympia.

Kurt Grinnell – Photo by Al Bergstein – © 2010 & 2021 by Al Bergstein and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. All Rights Reserved.

Kurt was a man who would always say hello when we we ran into each other in some event. I was clearly aware of how he was a mentor to many and a gentle and thoughtful voice on the tribal council and in the meetings where I presented projects and asked for feedback. He was at the center of many of the Tribes work in aquaculture, and fishing issues. He and other members of the council, Rochelle Blankenship, his daughter Loni Greninger, and Theresa Lehman seemed to be a great next generation of leadership for the tribe, in addition to the long standing leadership of Ron Allen, the elected Tribal Council Chairman.

As stated on the Tribal Council web site: Kurt was elected to the Tribal Council in October, 2004. He served on the Hunting and Fishing Committee for 33 years. He was the Tribe’s Aquaculture Manager. He served as Tribal Policy Liaison for the Tribe’s Natural Resource Department and Chair of the Natural Resource Committee. In 1981 he became a gill-net fisher, and then began attending fin-fish negotiation meetings with the Makah and Point Elliot Treaty Tribes. In the early 90’s he served as the Indian Child Welfare Case Worker, Chemical Dependency Counselor and Social Worker, and since that time he has also served the Tribe in the areas of education, housing and culture. In 1995, he became a commercial geoduck diver.

I cannot begin to understand the depth of sorrow that the tribe must feel over this loss. I felt a hole in my heart hearing this news because people like Kurt are few and far between. I can honestly say he was one of the finest men I have ever met and I do not say that lightly. He was a leader that led by example. He had the skill, too rare in this time, of actually making you feel that he was listening to you. He looked you in the eye as he talked and listened. The words, trustworthy, soft spoken, dedicated and integrity, are words I would use to describe him. During one of our video sessions, he related to me how he would lay in bed late into the night with a laptop in front of him, negotiating with China over the price of geoduck. He was incredibly devoted to his family, his people and their needs. I send my heartfelt sympathy to his wife Terri, his children Loni Greninger and Jaiden Bosick, his mother, the legendary storyteller, Elaine Grinnell, his father Fred, along with his entire tribe in this time of their grief.

Comments and ratings have been disabled for this post in honor of Kurt’s family.

Clean fuel legislation could be blocked again by one WA Democrat – Investigate West

The power of the oil industry continues to contaminate our state legislators, even with Dems in control. Can they push this through, around the objections of a Democrat who apparently doesn’t get the issue of climate change yet? 

“The annual push in Olympia to promote electric vehicles and biofuels at the expense of gasoline and “dinosaur” diesel has again failed to woo a key senator who killed the bill twice before. But whether that will matter this time is an open question…This year’s bill, House Bill 1091, cleared the state House of Representatives, 52-46, and passed a Senate committee hearing Tuesday morning. While boosters celebrate the bill’s progress, it may yet land before the Senate Transportation Committee — the place where the idea stalled in 2019 and 2020. The Transportation Committee chairman, Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, declined to put the legislation up for a vote both years, and still isn’t smitten with it. “Levi Pulkkinen reports. (InvestigateWest)

The future is arriving, and it’s not cheap

This New York Times article documents the increasingly difficult position coastal communities are being put in as man-made climate change heats the planet and raises the oceans. One can continue to pretend that it’s not happening, that it’s all a hoax, but it’s very real to these people in North Carolina.

www.nytimes.com/2021/03/14/climate/outer-banks-tax-climate-change.html

Great web site for tracking state legislative bills

Recently I stumbled on this web site for tracking bills and the legislators that are backing them. Check it out.

Legiscan https://legiscan.com/WA/
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