SHB Overturns Geoduck Aquaculture Permit

The Shorelines Hearings Board for the State of Washington overturned the Pierce County Hearings Board decision allowing geoduck aquaculture. (“Piece County’s issuance of SSDP No. 35-05 is REVERSED and the permit is therefore DENIED”).

The permit was denied by the Board based on a lack of analysis of ecosystem services, cumulative impacts and other issues such as impacts on other human uses of the waterfront.

The burden of proof is now on the industry to demonstrate that geoduck aquaculture does not have cumulative impacts and does not impede ecosystem services.

The Board concluded that “This farm located on a shoreline of statewide significance means that particular consideration must be given to balancing aquaculture as one statewide interest, with other statewide interests like the ecological values and the public’s recreational use.” “The careful review required for this shoreline of statewide significance weighs in favor of requiring a cumulative impact analysis…..”


This important decision comes at a time when Washington shellfish have been banned in China and the European Union due to human health concerns and a new peer reviewed study states that shellfish aquaculture, finfish aquaculture and shrimp aquaculture may contribute to coastal nutrient enrichment and harmful algal blooms.

The Coalition was formed by concerned citizens throughout Puget Sound and citizens presented their own case. The Sierra Club, the oldest and largest environmental organization in the United States has supported their protective efforts for several years. For more information on the Washington State Sierra Club, please visit:

Read the SHB decision

Read the Tacoma News Tribune article