After a decade of litigation, NOAA Fisheries and EPA will prepare a biological opinion on harm caused by Atlantic salmon net pens

From the Wild Fish Conservancy Press Release this morning. It’s unfortunate that those of us concerned about this issue needed to spend 10 years trying to force them to get to this simple issue. NOAA Fisheries have been one of the biggest boosters of net pen Atlantic salmon, never studying the wider effects of pens beyond a few hundred yards away from them. There has never been a wholistic approach to studying the effects of fish waste, food waste, chemicals added to the water, fish escapement, nor the issue that wild fish are attracted to the pens by food. What we learned from the net pen collapse last fall, was that the claims of the industry, repeated by spokesmen for Taylor Shellfish (who support net pens), that there was no way that Atlantic salmon would survive after escapement, were nothing but wishful thinking. Atlantic salmon from the pens were found far up the Skagit River basin and along the north outer shore of Vancouver Island. The misinformation campaigns of these industries that put profit ahead of environment are stunning in their audacity.


After a decade of litigation, NOAA Fisheries and EPA make the 11th hour decision to prepare a biological opinion on harm caused by Atlantic salmon net pens to ESA- listed salmon and steelhead.

The agencies have finally begun formal consultation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to evaluate the potential harm caused by Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound October 11th, 2018

Duvall, WA – On the eve of court proceedings over a legal battle Wild Fish Conservancy initiated in 2015, NOAA Fisheries and EPA have entered into formal consultation under the Endangered Species Act, consultation that will lead to the issuance of a biological opinion.

Under the Endangered Species Act, a biological opinion evaluates the extent of harm a proposed action will have on threatened or endangered species and whether such harm could jeopardize the continued existence of the species. Biological opinions also include conditions for monitoring and reducing harmful impacts to protected species.

Considering the abundant scientific evidence that open-water Atlantic salmon aquaculture may harm threatened and endangered salmonid species, Wild Fish Conservancy first argued that formal consultation and a biological opinion was necessary back in 2008, when we argued against the agencies’ decision that Atlantic salmon net pens were ‘not likely to adversely affect’ threatened and endangered species. We won that case in 2010, with the court ruling that NOAA and EPA had failed to use the best available science when making their decision and must reconsider whether a biological opinion is necessary.

Less than one year later, after a brief consultation, NOAA and EPA again decided that a biological opinion was unnecessary. This decision was shortly followed by a large-scale disease outbreak in Atlantic salmon net pens off the coast in Bainbridge Island in 2012, which killed over 1 million pounds of farmed Atlantic salmon during a time when juvenile wild salmon were out-migrating through Puget Sound.

Wild Fish Conservancy again challenged the agencies’ decision to avoid a biological opinion in 2015, a case that prompted NOAA and EPA last week to announce their intention to re-initiate consultation and finally prepare a biological opinion. That decision came only after the Court soundly rejected the agencies’ efforts to dismiss the case and ruled that the duty under the Endangered Species Act to re-initiate consultation does apply to EPA’s underlying action.

Since the case was filed in 2015, we have learned far more about the potential for harm the Atlantic salmon net pen industry presents to wild salmon and steelhead. In 2017, a collapsed net pen off the coast of Cypress Island released over 260,000 farmed Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound, nearly all of which are estimated to have been infected with Piscine Reovorius, a highly contagious and potentially lethal virus that may infect wild salmon. A study in 2018

demonstrated that PRV leads to debilitating disease in Chinook salmon, the primary food source of endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

This case comes at a time when key provisions of the Endangered Species Act are under threat in the United States Congress and underscores the monumental importance of the ESA, an act that has been critical in providing key protections to over one thousand threatened and endangered species across the country.

“While it shouldn’t have taken ten years of litigation for our agencies to realize the necessity of a biological opinion,” said Kurt Beardslee, Wild Fish Conservancy’s Executive Director, “I am glad to hear they have decided to change course, and I am hopeful that a biological opinion will lead to conditions and terms that will limit and monitor the harm caused by net pens to ESA-listed salmon and steelhead.

“Taking the utmost precaution is necessary to avoid the extinction of imperiled Pacific salmon and steelhead species, especially when considering the dire plight of Chinook salmon and the Southern Resident killer whales that are starving due to their struggling population.”

Contact

Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director, 425.788.1167/kurt@wildfishconservancy.org

About

Wild Fish Conservancy is a science & research conservation non-profit dedicated to the preservation, protection & restoration of wild fish ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest. We are headquartered in Duvall, WA. Learn more at wildfishconservancy.org

Wild Fish Conservancy is represented in this matter by the law firm of Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, with offices in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.

EVENT:Lecture: Swimming Through Swirls at the PT Marine Science Center

Lecture: Swimming Through Swirls: Observing Ribbons and Rings of Ocean Circulation Autonomously

Location: Fort Worden Chapel
Date: October 14, 2018

Description

Sunday, October 14

3 pm

Dr. Charles Eriksen

Professor, School of Oceanography, University of Washington
The Fort Worden Chapel

Admission: $5

(students, teachers FREE)

Charlie Eriksen has helped change the way the ocean is observed, from top to bottom and shore to shore. His research group invented the Seaglider and Deepglider underwater vehicles. Scarcely six feet long, these autonomous vehicles swim thousands of miles while taking the pulse of ocean circulation: its temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, currents and biological properties. Eriksen deploys these robots to examine the undersea world of intense currents, where explosive turbulence and small subsurface waves interact with the global circulation. Together with students and colleagues, he has discovered new pathways for circulation in the far north, described the Gulf Stream and its deep relatives, and probed the structure of ubiquitous ocean eddies. Phytoplankton blooms revealed by these explorations feed the large mammals near Greenland and Iceland, and are keys to the up-and-down successes of major fisheries. Eriksen is Professor in the School of Oceanography at University of Washington and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

More info: https://www.ocean.washington.edu/story/Deepgliders

https://www.ocean.washington.edu/story/Be_Boundless%252C_Oceanography

Contact:  eriksen@uw.edu

This is the first installment of The Future of Oceans lecture series.

This event is offered with generous support by the Darrow Family.

Assisted Listening Devices available

Salmon at Salmon Cascades, Sol Duc River

From the great camera artistry of John Gussman, who gave us “Return of the River”

silver salmon

 

EVENT: Industrial Aquaculture Discussion – Sat Oct 13th 3 to 5 PM

aquaculturepanelposterprintpdf

Aquaculture MEDIA RELEASE – 2 October 2018

MEDIA RELEASE – 2 October 2018

CONTACT:         Darlene Schanfald, Vice-Chair

Sierra Club North Olympic Group

360-681-7565    darlenes@olympus.net

INDUSTRIAL AQUACULTURE  

FOOD or FOLLY?   LOSING THE WILD?

Saturday    13 October 2018     3–5 PM

Historic Dungeness Schoolhouse 

2781 Towne Rd, Just off E. Anderson Road

The Sierra Club’s North Olympic Group and the Sierra Club Chapter Water Salmon Committee invites the public to join them for this important forum about how our oceans are being commercialized for the few and the losses that follow.

We are pleased to have the following speakers present their work from years of experience.

Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director, Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC)

The Success of the Our Sound, Our Salmon Campaign: Phasing Out Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture in Puget Sound. 

Kurt Beardslee is the executive director and co-founder of the Wild Fish Conservancy. For over a decade Kurt and his science staff have investigated the substantial risk open-water Atlantic salmon aquaculture places on the Pacific Northwest’s wild salmon.

In spring of 2017, WFC launched the Our Sound, Our Salmon (OSOS) campaign with the goal of phasing out Atlantic salmon net pens from Puget Sound.  The OSOS campaign was fundamental to the passage of Washington’s recent net pen legislation marking the largest legislative removal of Atlantic salmon net pens in the world.

Following the 2017 Cypress Island collapse of Cooke Aquaculture pens that released 260,000 penned Atlantic salmon into the wild, WFC staff collected tissue samples from the escapees for that revealed 100% positive test results for Piscine Reovirus (PRV), a highly contagious and debilitating salmonid disease. Genetic sequencing revealed the virus to be of Icelandic origin marking the first time this foreign strain of the virus was found in Pacific waters.

In his talk, Kurt will discuss the numerous risks posed by farming Atlantic salmon in open-water net pens as well as potential land-based closed containment solutions for this industry. He will give a brief overview of WFC’s current litigation to hold Cooke Aquaculture accountable under the Clean Water Act for releasing 260,000 non-native Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound.  He will also discuss WFC’s ongoing Endangered Species Act (ESA) suit against the federal government for its failure to adequately protect ESA-listed species from the harm caused by industrial Atlantic salmon net pens.

 

Laura Hendricks, Founding Director Coalition To Protect Puget Sound.

Shellfish and Disappearing Beaches

Over the last 11 years, Laura Hendricks’s Coalition has educated the public and regulators on shellfish aquaculture’s harm to WA State’s marine life. Hendricks represented citizens against the shellfish industry at a hearing before the Washington State Shorelines Hearings Board and won the case to protect eelgrass, a WA State Appeals Court precedent-setting case.

Hendricks will give an update about pending legal action by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, Protect Zangle Cove, and Wild Fish Conservancy filed against the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).  That suit demands an end to WDFW’s exemption of industrial shellfish aquaculture projects from Hydraulic Project Approvals (HPA).  HPAs are state standards designed and required to protect fish and marine habitats.

“With threatened Southern Resident killer whales and endangered native salmon at extreme risk, our state agencies have failed to implement the environmental protections that are critical to the broad scale ecological recovery of Puget Sound,” says Patrick Townsend, president of Protect Zangle Cove. “The action we are taking today is one important step toward restoring sanity to the recovery process. We must protect the tidelands from further loss of ecological function or we will see the loss of iconic species so important to the people of Washington State.”

Alfredo Quarto, Co-director and Co-founder of Mangrove Action Project (MAP)

Question Your Shrimp, A consumer Awareness Campaign

For twenty-five years, Alfredo Quarto has worked with indigenous cultures around the world helping them restore their mangrove forests and way of life, prior to corporations having destroyed their ecosystems to industrialize the raising of shrimp. He will have a short video about these villages and mangrove trees.

Quarto is a veteran campaigner with over 40 years of experience in organizing and writing on the environment and human rights issues.  Formerly an aerospace engineer, his experiences range over many countries and several environmental organizations, with a long-term focus on ocean issues, forestry, indigenous cultures, and human rights.  Prior to MAP, he was the executive director of the Ancient Forest Chautauqua, a multimedia traveling forum with events in 30 West Coast cities on behalf of old-growth forests and indigenous dwellers.

Anne Mosness, Go Wild Campaign

Current and Pending Efforts of the Federal Government to Raise Penned Fish

Anne Mosness has been tracking the federal NOAA Department of Commerce in its push to raise penned salmon in offshore waters, beyond jurisdictions and regulations of states.  She will speak on the current pending efforts, and losses, of such government efforts.  The public will hear about the recent Center For Food Safety legal win for fishing and public interest groups that challenged the Department of Commerce’s rules permitting industrial aquaculture offshore in U.S. federal waters.

Anne Mosness is a fisherwoman that fished Copper River and Bristol Bay, Alaska for decades, a multi-general family profession.  She secured a position with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and founded the Go Wild Campaign. She has worked for several other national environmental and food organizations, received a fellowship from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, represented US fisheries at UN forums and Slow Food/Slow Fish conferences in Italy, and other global and national events focused on sustainable foods and fishing, seafood labeling, organic certification, marine ecosystem health. Anne has been a long time contributor to the Puget Consumer Coop’s Sound Consumer magazine.  Her latest article in the PCC magazine is entitled,  “Wild salmon, killer whales and us” published July, 2018.

Cosponsoring the event are Friends of Miller Peninsula State Park, Olympic Environmental Coalition, Olympic Forest Coalition. and Protect Peninsula’s Future.

The October 13 event is free.  Handouts from the sponsoring and presenting organizations will be available.  Coffee and tea will be served.

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Shoreline Real Estate: Course for Real Estate Brokers

Coming up in October.

ShorelineRealEstate_WorkshopFlyer_Page_1

 

EPA to eliminate office that advises Agency Chief on Science – NY Times

The EPA has abandoned any pretense at using science to instruct their decisions, made by their chief, who is an ex-coal lobbyist. The corruption in this administration will likely never be duplicated. We have not seen anything like this since the early part of the 1900s. You want to change it? Get out and vote.

 

 

Washington man gets prison for overharvesting sea cucumbers, must pay $1.5M – AP

Interesting outcome to a sting operation. According to the charges, this did “serious harm” to the Puget Sound ecosystem. Kudos for our government for better policing our waters.

Read the whole story here:

Washington man gets prison for overharvesting sea cucumbers, must pay $1.5M

 

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