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This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Oyster Farm

This document is a concise summary of our concerns with regard to current industrial aquaculture practices, and the inadequacy of government oversight of this industry. Please take a few minutes to read,  “This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Oyster Farm.”

Hazardous PVC

Hazardous PVC at a geoduck farm

Seagrass, Macroalgae and Forage Fish Protection

Seagrasses and macroalgae hold a particularly important place in shoreline ecology. They provide protection, food, and support for the reproductive cycle of birds, forage fish, and other species, as well as binding and detoxification for the ecosystem as as whole. These plants are threatened by the expansion of industrial aquaculture, and by efforts by the industry to eradicate Zostera japonica, the non-native (but beneficial) Japanese Eelgrass that grows alongside native species.

The Coalition has filed a petition, plus supplemental information, before the State Noxious Weed Control Board, to delete Japanese Eelgrass (Zostera japonica) from classification as a Class C noxious weed.

Our thanks to Dan Penttila, Salish Sea Biological, Anacortes, WA, for providing the images used in this article. Dan is Washington’s foremost expert on forage fish.

Herring eggs on native eelgrass

Herring eggs on eelgrass

 

Red algae with herring spawn

Red algae with herring spawn

 

Herring spawn on native eelgrass

Herring spawn on eelgrass

Circle of Loss

This image was designed to depict environmental impacts to tidelands from the perspective of the shellfish industry’s own documents and testimony. When it was presented on March 27, 2013, during the public hearing in Pierce County for the Detienne geoduck farm application, one shellfish industry representative referred to it as a “circle of death.”

We agree.

Click to enlarge.

circle of loss image

Washington Shellfish Initiative: Is It Sustainable?

PCC Natural Markets questions the sustainability of industrial aquaculture.

When Governor Chris Gregoire announced a $4.5 million state-federal initiative to boost shellfish production in Puget Sound and clean up the environment last December, it was met with both praise and criticism.

Eco-Hazards

The list of hazards associated with industrial aquaculture will continue to grow as long as adequate oversight is lacking.

  • Invasive species dominate natives
  • Pesticides and other chemicals spread rapidly in this ecosystem
  • Materials ensnare wildlife
  • Harvest methods strip the tidelands

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Plastic on the Beach

How much plastic does modern industrial aquaculture introduce into the shoreline ecosystem?

Geoduck farms, as an example, generally embed over 40,000 PVC tubes per acre into the shallow waters and tidelands of Puget Sound. Tubes are often covered with nets, which are held in place with rubber bands. All of these materials pose toxicity and habitat hazards, not to mention the loss in aesthetic value to the shoreline.

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Industrialization

Puget Sound Aquaculture Industrialization – A Plea for Balance and Environmental Healing: How ‘Big Business’ factory farming is threatening the balance of nature in the waters of Washington State.

This video was created by APHETI – Association for the Protection of Hammersley, Eld and Totten Inlets.

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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.

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