Aquaculture Revenue

One might think that significant success in regional aquaculture would generate revenue for the state. After all, the shellfish industry uses public waters and agency resources. But when you compare costs and benefits with other land-use industries, an imbalance emerges.

Sales Tax: None collected on shellfish exported.
Export Tax: None collected.
Excise Tax:All shellfish (including oysters, clams and geoducks) grown on private aquatic lands are exempt from the Enhanced Food Fish Excise Tax (Fish tax).
Business and Occupational Tax: Most of the shellfish industry is taking the Agriculture Wholesale B&O Exemption found in RCW 82.04 (Jim Jesernig to PCSGA, January 2012). Shellfish which are exported are exempt (Department of Revenue).
Property Tax: Tidelands which have commercial aquaculture are not appraised by counties at their true value and in most cases the taxes are very low (e.g. – Taylor Shellfish’s 12 acre geoduck farm in Hammersely Inlet pays $24 in annual property tax).

Measure these minimal revenues against the toxic impacts on the shoreline ecosystem, and you begin to understand the need for a serious re-assessment of our statewide aquaculture policies.

Abandoned PVC tubes

Growers claim that the shoreline ecology rebounds quickly from industrial aquaculture use, but this assumes that when growers stop using a parcel (which they rarely do), they pick up after themselves.