Geoduck farming in South Puget Sound.
Silted net in Totten Inlet
Sustainable Shellfish -- Recommended Reading
'Sustainable Shellfish', David Suzuki Foundation

Watch the "Salish Sea" video to see how current practices of the shellfish industry have impacted the beaches of South Puget Sound.

Double-click on the video for a full screen view.

August 18, 2010. All current news is now being published on the new Protect Our Shoreline News Blog at

August 12, 2010. On August 24, 2010 at 3 pm there will be a pre-conference meeting between Thurston County and Taylor Shellfish in relation to the appeal by Taylor of the decision by the Thurston County Resources Stewardship Department that Taylor's application for a geoduck farm on Henderson Inlet requires a substantial development permit (SDP). The County has concluded that geoduck farming requires an SDP based on four criteria: geoduck farming involves construction of a structure with PVC pipe, removal of sand during harvesting, is an obstruction and interferes with surface water activity.

Additionally, if you are aware of any new geoduck farms being installed (since March 2007), please immediately contact Mike Kain of the Thurston County Resources Stewardship Department at (360) 786-5490 with parcel number or address of location. The application by Taylor for the Henderson Inlet farm is the only application tendered to the County under the new County rules so any other new farm has not gone through the County and is therefore being installed without County approval.

June 23, 2010. State settles with shellfish growers over trespass. The three companies - Taylor Shellfish, Seattle Shellfish, and Arcadia Point Seafood - will repay a total of $417,000 to the state. The trespasses occurred on public aquatic lands in North Bay and Arcadia Point in central Puget Sound over a period of five to seven years. Taylor Shellfish will pay the state $225,000 into a state account for habitat restoration projects in Puget Sound. Seattle Shellfish will pay $75,000; and Arcadia Point Seafood will pay $117,000. Phoung Le, Associated Press

Our Comment:
Citizens have long suspected that the shellfish companies were not observing boundaries on their aquatic farms. After citizens notified the State Auditor of a potential major trespass by Taylor Shellfish in Totten Inlet and it was confirmed by survey through DNR, other shellfish growing areas were reviewed. Taylor is required to pay $1,500,000 under the settlement agreement for the Totten Inlet trespass. The three companies are required to pay $417,000 for the current trespasses. Thus, the shellfish industry must pay nearly two millions dollars into public coffers for what is being called "unintentional" use. It may be unintentional, but until now, many of the largest shellfish companies seemed to have had the attitude that they could do anything they wanted, anywhere they wanted. Through the unpaid hard work of citizen observers of the shoreline, the watchdogs who so irritate the shellfish industry, the public has rightfully become a beneficiary of the unlawful use of state lands for growing commercial shellfish, and the shellfish industry can no longer profit from sloppy or non-existent attention to property boundaries.

June 16, 2010. North Totten Inlet Mussel Farm Topic Of County's June 22 County Meeting. Mussel farm impact small, report says. Mussel farm impact small, report says. The Olympian, John Dodge

June 10, 2010. North Totten Inlet Mussel Farm Topic Of County's June 22 County Meeting. Griffin Neighbors Blogspot. The meeting by the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Griffin Middle School gymnasium, 6530 33rd Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

The meeting will focus on Thurston County's Draft Environmental Impact statement, a document required by state law as part of the county's decision-making process for reviewing a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit application. The proposed project would be located adjacent to Taylor Shellfish Company's existing Gallagher Cove mussel farm, about midway through the length of the company’s tideland ownership. The proposal would also require a new Aquatic Lands Lease from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Residents have until July 12, 2010 to submit comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, either by attending the meeting, or by mailing comments to Robert Smith, Senior Planner, Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department, Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, 2000 Lakeridge Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98502. Comments may also be e-mailed to

June 6, 2010. Turning Tide as the state considers leasing public tidelands to commercial geoduck farmers, citizen and environmentalist concerns swell. ARLA SHEPHARD, Mason County Journal

June 1, 2010. Two sides of a geoduck tube . There were no doubts about who was responsible for the tubes found strewn on the beach. Photo courtesy Boysen family. Key Peninsula News, Dana Webster

May 26, 2010. The Washington State Department of Ecology has released their Geoduck Aquaculture Rulemaking Discussion Draft. Those concerned about the expansion of aquaculture in Puget Sound should be aware that Ecology has inserted language that directs geoduck aquaculture expansion and compels local governments to classify sites for geoduck aquaculture. Action Alert: Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee (SARC) meeting on June 2, 2010, with public comment period. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Laura Hendricks.

Our Comment:
Please read the citizen response to the Geoduck Discussion Draft from the president of the Case Inlet Shoreline Association. The rulemaking is supposed to conform to the requirements and intent of HB 2220 passed in 2007, which established the SARC process, limited leasing of state tidelands for geoduck aquaculture and required scientific studies related to geoduck aquaculture.

May 3, 2010. Click on the following Washington Department of Fish and Wildlike links that show the few public tidelands that remain in Puget Sound. We do not believe that the leasing of the few remaining tidelands is a benefit to anyone other than the shellfish industry.
South Hood Canal
North Hood Canal
Sequim/Port Townsend
All Others

April 28, 2010. DNR is hosting a GEODUCK WEB FORUM May 3 to May 7, 2010 with a new question each day. ACTION ALERT: All citizens concerned with the permanent conversion of publicly owned Puget Sound tidelands to commercial shellfish aquaculture need to speak out beginning May 3 on this forum.

Our Comment: It is unconscionable that our state agencies would even consider leasing public tidelands so that the shellfish industry can make money off selling geoduck to the foreign virility market. We need every citizen who is interested in a healthy Puget Sound and salmon recovery to comment about geoduck feedlots or we can be sure they will continue to expand. In addition to our comments regarding the habitat destruction caused by the shellfish industry practices, we have many reservations about how this forum was organized, why citizen organizations were not notified and why industry information is classified as "science" on the web page.

The following is a brief list of the major problems that DNR should address in this forum:
--Allowing industry to privatize our limited pristine sandy beaches that DNR manages for the benefit of the public;
--Receiving lease/production revenues that are far less than the ecological damage to Puget Sound which is already in a recovery mode:
--Allowing industry to target documented forage fish sandy beaches which are supposed to be protected and convert them to aquaculture;
--Allowing industry to scrape off all native species and marine vegetation to create a monoculture of bivalves:
--Adding geoduck seed which is food for native species that attracts them to the area and then destroying these "predator" native species;
--Introducing un-precedented amounts of plastics when the world is trying to stop plastics from being in our marine waters;
--Using non marine graded PVC which is known to leech;
--Planting up to 40,000 tubes, net caps, rubber bands and canopy nets in the most productive area of the Nearshore for feeding, foraging and cover;
--Placing structures (PVC, etc) in naturally unstructured sandy beaches which changes habitat for flounder and other aquatic life;
--Disturbance of shorebirds, aquatic life and residents by perpetual industrial operations;
--Liquefying tidelands which significantly increases siltation with no peer reviewed science documenting the long term effects;
--Liquefying tidelands which suppresses salmon prey according to the preliminary SeaGrant geoduck research which has not determined the long term effects.

In 2007, Bill Dewey (Taylor Shellfish) asked the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association to respond to the DNR Totten Taylor Trespass SEPA comment period. Over 75 comments, about half of all industry comments, were from non-Washington State residents and business people. The shellfish industry then later proclaimed that more people were in favor of their position than against it. It is our understanding that the call has again gone out to shellfish growers in other states and DNR is going to accept all email comments for this web forum even if they are not Washington citizens.

Please tell your neighbors.

April 3, 2010. Citizen witnesses the killing of thousands of sand dollars by Seattle Shellfish on a beach in Thurston County in preparation for a geoduck farm. Please read the letter for a description of the photos and a plea to whoever will listen regarding actions that she clearly identified as unconscionable.

Seattle Shellfish dumping of sand dollars Seattle Shellfish dumping of sand dollars Seattle Shellfish dumping of sand dollars

Our Comment
In light of the rhetoric and the millions of tax dollars being spent to protect and restore Puget Sound, the wholesale destruction of aquatic life by the shellfish industry is stunning in its arrogance. The idea that workers would kill thousands of sand dollars and other sea life in Puget Sound in order to grow geoducks for the foreign luxury food market defies logic--unless the money going into the pockets of the relatively few individuals in the industry is all that counts. The Seattle Shellfish claim in defense of their actions that they are "feeding the world," is delusional.

In addition to the report of unsanitary behavior on the beach and the killing of beach critters, the most disturbing aspect of this citizen report about her attempt to halt the destruction of thousands of sand dollars, was the statement apparently made by the Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement officer that "the Geo Duck Farmers were allowed to kill any living creature that interfered with their crop." Unfortunately, based on citizen interactions with state agencies over a period of several years, we think it possible, and even likely, that the officer was speaking out of frustration and was stating what to him was an unfortunate truth--that geoduck farmers are allowed to do whatever they want on their beach leases in Washington State. The Department of Fish and Wildlife seems to have no power. The Department of Natural Resources has no jurisdiction on privately owned tidelands. The Department of Ecology appears to be more concerned with politics than with the environment. The Governor, to our knowledge, is fully supportive of the expansion of shellfish industry production--the permanent conversion of natural beaches to industrial geoduck farming and other types of shellfish aquaculture that utilize invasive and destructive practices.

These practices are not confined to a single grower. Citizen groups in South Puget Sound have been documenting destructive shellfish industry practices since the mid-1990's and geoduck farming in particular since 2005. We would hope that the type of practice described in this citizen letter would cause the governor to dare to open her eyes. Contact Christine Gregoire and tell her to stop supporting the permanent conversion of natural beaches in Puget Sound to industrial shellfish aquaculture."

February 19, 2010. Agencies raid suspected shellfish poachers . Deputies and officers from state and federal Fish and Wildlife agencies swooped in on G & R Quality Seafood in Quilcene, which has been allegedly stealing oysters and clams from public and private beaches. "Legitimate harvesters, like Taylor Shellfish, say when people are stealing oyster and clams, the reputation of an entire industry and the health of the public is suddenly at risk." Gary Chittim, King 5 News

Our Comment
We agree with this comment posted about the news story: "To use Taylor Shellfish as an example (of the "good guys") is the pot calling the kettle black. Taylor has now been caught not once but twice using state lands to grow millions of dollars of shellfish. In both Totten Inlet and North Bay, they harvested all of the natural shellfish in those beaches. You have to wonder if the poachers will receive the same cordial treatment that Taylor Shellfish did--but only if they have the same strong lobbyists and attorneys."

February 3, 2010. The Green Warriors of Norway launch an international information campaign about Norwegian salmon farming, saying that:
1) Drugs used to rid farmed fish of parasites leads to potentially carcinogenic agents in fish both within and outside the fish farms;
2) Farmed fish are mistreated, developing open wounds and losing their fins;
3) Food spillage and fish faeces are released from the open fish farms directly into the sea, endangering native aquatic animals;
4) Wild fish are used as food for farmed fish, decimating wild fish and bird populations;
5) Parasites from farmed fish enter the wild fish population, causing disease and the collapse of wild fisheries
6) Millions of farmed salmon and trout escape their enclosed locations;
7) Norway's two top political figures who administer fisheries and coastal affairs have ownership in the industry that they regulate.

Our Comment
There are the same impacts that citizens and organizations are fighting in the Puget Sound region and British Columbia. The most telling statement is related to the power of the aquaculture industry in Norway. It could be seen as a mirror of the power of the shellfish aquaculture industry in Washington State and its close ties to both government agencies and ironically, environmental organizations. "The fact that the aquaculture industry has great power in Norway is above all possible reasonable doubt. A tiny number of actors dominate the industry, and the bonds between fish farmers, public authorities and elite politicians are strong. No wonder that in many cases, they are referred to as the Norwegian salmon mafia."

January 29, 2010. In a propaganda piece from the Economic Development Council of Mason County, reprinted from an article in Washington Business, David Dicks, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, parrots the shellfish industry by calling geoduck farming a ""use conflict" fueled by hyperbole rather than facts.

Comments from Case Inlet Shoreline Association (CISA):
Dicks' comments are demonstrative of the deep institutional bias that permeates all state agencies on shellfish aquaculture. Dicks would have us believe that water quality is the only important issue affecting Puget Sound. The fact is the shellfish industry is expanding into pristine areas of South Sound that already have excellent water quality. Notwithstanding the obvious conflicts with the Shoreline Management Act and the Public Trust Doctrine, geoduck aquaculture and shellfish culture in general cause a variety of documented adverse impacts to the environment. For example, intertidal geoduck aquaculture suppresses eelgrass, sand dollars and sediment dwelling invertebrates. These are the facts, not hyperbole.

There is much more to protecting Puget Sound than simply water quality. Habitat alteration, thousands of tons of PVC plastics, displacement of native species -- these are some of the REAL problems associated with shellfish aquaculture -- but willfully ignored by Dicks and the PSP. Puget Sound needs leaders that will address ALL of the negative impacts to the Sound, not just those that are politically expedient.

It is equally inappropriate for Dicks and the PSP to use taxpayer dollars to promote the shellfish industry at the expense of local South Sound groups that are fighting to preserve the natural character of the shoreline for future generations. CISA calls for the immediate resignation of Dicks, and a reassessment of the Puget Sound Partnership.

January 19, 2010. In a victory for citizens , the State of Washington Growth Management Hearings Board rejected the shellfish industry's attempt to undo Pierce County's interim regulations on geoduck and shellfish aquaculture. For an in depth discussion of the ruling go to the Case Inlet Shoreline Association news page.

January 28, 2010. B.C. puts moratorium on aquaculture licences B.C. has slapped a moratorium on issuing new finfish aquaculture licences and won't accept new applications for shellfish aquaculture, the province announced Thursday. Victoria Times Colonist.

The move follows a court decision on Tuesday in which the B.C. Supreme Court granted an extension to the transfer deadline for finfish aquaculture to federal regulation until Dec. 18, 2010. As part of this extension, the court ordered a suspension on approvals of all new marine finfish licenses in B.C. "In addition, the province is also announcing it will no longer be accepting new applications for shellfish aquaculture licenses and will only process those applications received prior to Jan. 26, 2010," the provincial government announced in a press release today. "Furthermore, the province has announced its intention to negotiate the transfer of shellfish aquaculture regulation to the federal government."

January 21, 2010. Taylor Shellfish to Remove Geoduck Tubes on state owned tideland in North Bay, another Taylor Shellfish trespass. Once again, Taylor Shellfish claims to have "accidentally" farmed on state land. Arla Shephard, Mason County Journal.

Our Comment:
Taylor Shellfish has been caught again growing geoducks on state lands. In this case, geoducks valued at approximately $2 million have been planted on state lands without any input from citizens. Will DNR allow another "land grab" and let Taylor harvest the illegal crop for their benefit and to the detriment of Puget Sound's tidelands?

In the article Bill Dewey, chief spokesman for Taylor Shellfish, claims there were no geoducks planted in the 20,000 tubes to be removed, however the Holman and Associates Survey filed in Mason County on September 9, 2009, says otherwise. A detail of the Holman and Associates map shows that all tubes listed in the survey had 2 year-old geoduck in them along with several areas of two and three-year old geoducks without tubes. Did Bill Dewey "accidentally" misspeak about this or did Taylor Shellfish go ahead and put in 20,000 additional tubes after the survey was completed in July, 2009, which presumably marked the area as a trespass on state land? If there is a different explanation for this discrepancy, other than "on accident," we welcome hearing it.

January 20, 2010. Shoreline program is critical for clean water, our survival. The Olympian: opinion piece co-authored by Sandra Romero a Thurston County commissioner and Bill Taylor, Taylor Shellfish Farms, about the Thurston County Shoreline Master Plan update.

Our Comment:
We are deeply disappointed that Sandra Romero would taint her environmental credibility by partnering with the shellfish industry to write an opinion piece about preserving the shorelines. In 2007 a small group of citizens attempted to present information about geoduck farming in Zangle Cove to the Thurston County Commissioners (before Romero was in office). The Commissioners stopped the presentation because it might bias them in future rulings related to geoduck farming in Thurston County, even though one of the Commissioners admitted he had met privately with representatives of the shellfish industry. No doubt Romero's actions in partnering with the shellfish industry were vetted by the County's legal team as related to ethics, but at the very least, she has given the appearance of impropriety to many citizens who are concerned about the permanent conversion of our natural shorelines to industrial shellfish aquaculture.

We couldn't say it better than this comment to the article in the Olympian: "Be skeptical of this opinion. Bill Taylor is a millionaire aquaculture businessman that contributes to his personal fortune from the buying and leasing of tidelands and packing them with thousands of tons of PVC plastics to grow geoducks for export. And Commissioner Romero should be put to task for misrepresenting the Shoreline Management Act. The overarching policy of the SMA is that "the public's opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible". It is NOT the primary focus of the SMA to encourage water dependent uses such as aquaculture. There is nothing "historic" about tons of PVC plastic tubes, bags and nets littering the tidelands. Growing shellfish and thriving salmon shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence. Both the South Sound Salmon Recovery Group and the National Marine Fisheries Service indicate that shellfish aquaculture has an adverse impact to salmon habitat."

January 13, 2010. Scientists Critical of Bainbridge Man's Report on Shorelines. Fourteen scientists with knowledge of Puget Sound have harshly criticized a report by Don Flora, a retired forest researcher who says bulkheads and other shoreline structures don't appear to harm sea life.

See Chris Dunagan's earlier article published on October 26, 2009, on Bainbridge Man's Shoreline Statistical Analysis Raises Questions. Flora's report is being promoted by the Kitsap Property Owners Alliance, a community property rights group.

Our Comment:
The Washington State Department of Ecology is demanding strict upland standards for shoreline protection but at the same time allows direct shellfish aquaculture impacts to the very shoreline area that it is trying to protect. Scientists are now coming out against the Flora paper, yet officials, scientists and environmental groups, with the exception of the Sierra Club, have not uttered a word about the shellfish industry's self-serving "selective" use of preliminary non-peer reviewed data to justify their aquaculture expansion.

For the folks with the Kitsap Property Owners Alliance, we would think they would be incensed by the double standard and hypocrisy of government officials who allow or encourage aquaculture development directly in the tidelands, with known adverse affects to habitat and biodiversity, yet bulkheading, docks, buoys, etc. must be regulated or eliminated and shoreline buffers must be increased. Why are shoreline buffers of such intense importance if the tidelands themselves are not? Why are docks restricted but shellfish barges are left indefinitely moored near the shoreline (such as the Allen Shellfish barge that has been moored in Zangle Cove for the best part of the last three years) and mussel rafts operated in Totten Inlet?

The letter from the scientists states that the Flora report is questionable because it uses incomplete data, the method is flawed, information gaps exists, the report does not address cumulative effects, it is not peer-reviewed and it is factually incorrect. Many of the same arguments are used by the Sierra Club in its response to the Allen Shellfish application to the Army Corps of Engineers for a permit for a four acre geoduck farm on state tidelands on Stretch Island. The "science" used to justify the geoduck lease is preliminary data, not peer-reviewed studies. Protect our Shoreline favors limitations and regulations for any shoreline use that impacts habitat for native and endangered species. It makes no sense to regulate upland shoreline property but allow the permanent conversion of the tidelands to industrial shellfish aquaculture.

November 28, 2009. Independent Shellfish Growers of Washington State speak out against pesticide spraying practices of Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association in Willapa Bay and propose tax on shellfish to the governor. Gregoire is non-responsive.

August 23, 2009. People for Puget Sound shamelessly promotes Taylor Shellfish in their attempt to raise money for their "vital work"..."including: stopping pollution, creating marine protected areas,saving tidelands and shorelines (emphasis added), preventing oil spills, and educating kids and families."

Our Comment: People for Puget Sound continues their politcal alliance with Taylor Shellfish without regard for Taylor's expansion plans for permanent conversion of Puget Sound tidelands to industrial shellfish aquaculture. In doing so, People for Puget Sound cannot escape the fact that they condone and promote this type of activity, a complete contradiction to their stated goal of "saving tidelands and shorelines," a fact that diminishes their integrity and credibility as an environmental organization whose goal is to protect Puget Sound.

Taylor Shellfish tideland farm in North Bay, Case Inlet.

In 2006, People for Puget Sound People released a Policy on Geoduck Intertidal Farming. To our knowledge, this was basically their only honest attempt to confront the controversial issue of expansion and permanent conversion of Puget Sound tidelands to industrial aquaculture. Possibly due to backlash from the shellfish growers, in particular an hysterical letter from Seattle Shellfish on behalf of Taylor Shellfish, the policy is buried on the People for Puget Sound website and the introduction was revised to exclude mention of the precautionary principle and to tout the organization's relationship with Taylor Shellfish. The integrity of a few members of the policy board in creating the geoduck farming policy (now called a "harvest policy" which implies that the geoduck farming is a fait acompli, ) has been overshadowed by political interests of the leadership of People for Puget Sound. The idea that Taylor Shellfish is involved in "saving tidelands and shorelines" is ludicrus. Taylor is only interested in saving tidelands and shorelines for their own exploitation.

August 9, 2009. Tough choices in the recovery of Puget Sound. Special to the Times, Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands.

August 4, 2009. Final Draft Jefferson County SMP available. Comments by Al Bergstein on the SMP update process are labeled as "borderline libelous" by Peter Downey, geoduck grower and Jefferson County Commissioner. Downey calls for a public debate. Laura Hendricks, president of the Coalition to Protect Pugest Sound Habitat welcomes the debate, saying "Allowing the aquaculture industry to privatize Puget Sound shorelines is against the law in the Shoreline Management Act and the Public Trust Doctrine."

July 17, 2009. State Begins Systematic Look at Tideland Boundaries because of another potential trespass by Taylor Shellfish, this time in North Bay in Case Inlet. Bill Dewey, chief Taylor Shellfish spokesperson, opines that "if they (DNR) really start looking, they are clearly going to find more problems than with shellfish growers. Bulkheads, potentially even homes, buoys and a lot of things will come to light." The Kitsap Sun, Christopher Dunagan

Our Comment. All encroachments on state owned tidelands should be documented and the public should be compensated. But Mr. Dewey, please--if you have knowledge of private homes built on Puget Sound state owned tidelands, please bring that to the attention of DNR without delay. This is the type of rhetoric that the shellfish industry typically throws up when citizens question their practices or industry is caught trespassing on state lands--someone else is always more to blame than the shellfish industry.

July 14, 2009. State to inventory tidelands. Taylor Shellfish: Second possible trespass triggers surveying effort. The potential trespass was identified about two weeks ago by Taylor Shellfish and DNR staff following a complaint from an upland property owner. The Olympian, John Dodge.

July 13, 2009. Commissioner Goldmark calls for an inventory of state tidelands because of the recent discovery of another potential trespass on publicly owned tidelands by Taylor Shellfish, this time in North Bay at the end of Case Inlet near Allyn. A May 2009 settlement agreement between DNR and Taylor Shellfish required a $1,500,000 fine from Taylor related to a confirmed multiple acre trespass in Totten Inlet.

Our Comment: Bill Taylor is again wringing his hands claiming that "waterward boundaries between private and state tidelands have been historically difficult to verify." The public should be asking: do any of the shellfish growers survey their beds before they plant them, or only when they are caught outside their boundaries? We would like other growers to come forward to assure the public that they employ good business practices so that the expense for monitoring their boundaries is carried by the grower and not by the taxpayers.

Taylor states that "Modern GIS mapping tools have made this (boundary verification) easier and in cooperation with DNR we're using them to identify other tideland areas we farm which may need survey verification," something they should have been doing all along without prodding from DNR. This suggests that Taylor Shellfish in particular requires monitoring because it cannot monitor itself. Puget Sound is apparently just one big candy $$ store. When caught, Taylor's excuse is extraordinary: its just so hard. In the Totten Inlet trespass, Taylor was outside its boundaries by some 20 acres, the equivalent of a football field. Is it hard to get a marine survey or is it hard to pay for a survey? Taylor representatives claimed in the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee meetings that they did not need local regulation because of their "best practices."

But its worse than that. GPS is not new to Taylor Shellfish who has been using it since 2004. Taylor claimed in legal proceedings that they keep records of exact locations of geoduck beds. In the December 13, 2007 Pierce County hearing on the Taylor Shellfish appeal of the permit expiration on the Foss farm in Pierce County, the Taylor Shellfish Farm Manager stated during testimony:

Q Does Taylor keep records of the exact location of the geoduck beds?
A Yes. We GPS our geoduck beds.
Q You GPS the coordinates?
A Yes.
Q And when did you begin recording the GPS coordinates of the geoduck beds?
A I believe we got our GPS unit in 2004.

May 6, 2009. Lands Chief Settles Dispute With Taylor Shellfish in Totten Inlet. Kitsap Sun, Christopher Dunagan.

Our Comment: The most interesting thing about the settlement is the complete avoidance of any language in the settlement agreement suggesting that Taylor Shellfish is being fined for knowingly trespassing on state tidelands. A Taylor spokeman called it a "negotiated settlement." As the Kitsap Sun article points out, however, "the $1.5 million is ... more than the treble damages that could have been assessed if Taylor had been found to be knowingly trespassing on state tidelands. That assessment was estimated at $1.3 million..." Given the brazen posturing of Taylor Shellfish in its assertion of rights to ownership of the state tidelands and its 4.5 million dollar lawsuit against DNR prior to the agreement, this is the elephant in the room that apparently no one wants to talk about: it looks like Taylor's been brought to task by our Lands Commissioner, who in the end apparently agreed not to bring that up in the press release or settlement document, though the evidence is laid out in the DNR legal response to Taylor's lawsuit. If Taylor is sufficiently humbled by these events, then it is possible that a more cooperative and less vituperative attitude on the part of the shellfish industry towards citizens who question the wisdom of permanently converting so many tidelands in South Puget Sound to shellfish aquaculture will emerge. But that remains to be seen.

May 6, 2009. DNR, Taylor Shellfish settle tidelands dispute in Totten Inlet. The settlement agreement allows Taylor Shellfish to harvest oysters and geoducks previously planted within a specified time frame, requires a $1,500,000 fine from Taylor, resolves the disputed ownership of the tidelands in favor of the State of Washington and requires Taylor to drop all pending lawsuits on the matter in Superior and Federal Courts.

April 22, 2009. Biologists say 3 pesticides harm salmon. Three pesticides used on agricultural crops jeopardize the survival of many Pacific salmon and steelhead listed as threatened or endangered in the West, federal biologists said Tuesday. Seattle Times, Phuong Lee.

April 22, 2009.Oyster bed pesticide cited in salmon study. "Dr. Richard Wilson, a board member of the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Grower's Association, has mixed feelings about potential restrictions on carbaryl. Wilson, who also runs Bay Center Farms near South Bend, said he foresees a negative impact on the oyster industry, but added restricted use of pesticides might improve the habitat for other species of marine life. 'If we can’t use carbaryl we wouldn't be farming," Wilson said.'" Associated Press.

April 8, 2009. Plug Is Pulled On Asian Oyster. Decision halts experiment of introducing asian oysters to Chesapeake Bay because of unanswerable questions about introduction of disease and native species. Efforts will be focused on the restoration of the native Virginia oyster, which is "down to 1 percent of its historic peak population, decimated by overfishing and disease." Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold.

There is good evidence that MSX, one of the diseases, came from the Japanese oyster, Crassostrea gigas, which was intentionally introduced into Delaware Bay.

In Puget Sound, the commercial harvest and production of the only native oyster in Puget Sound, the Olympia oyster, has been replaced by non-native oysters species introduced by the shellfish aquaculture industry, including the Pacific oyster, Kumamoto oyster, Eastern oyster and European flat oyster, along with the introduction of other non-native mollusc species including the Manila clam, Mediterranean mussel, Eastern Blue mussel and the Japanese scallop. Currently the Nature Conservancy is attempting to restore the Olympia Oyster in South Puget Sound.

Introduction of non-native mollusc species has also introduced unwanted and invasive hitchhikers such as the Japanese Oyster Drill to Puget Sound.

April 7, 2009. The deadline for public comment on the Final Progress Report, House Bill 2220 Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee (SARC) and the SARC recommendations for guidelines for County Shoreline Master Programs for geoduck aquatic operations is April 10, 2009.

Send public comment form by email to John Dohrmann or by mail to: John Dohrmann, Department of Ecology, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 09504-7600.

April 5, 2009. Our Comments on the ongoing controversy about the expansion of shellfish aquaculture in Puget Sound.

Taylor Shellfish, now embroiled in multiple lawsuits related to questions of permit expiration and trepass on state tidelands, is not just a little family business. Taylor Shellfish is the biggest shellfish producer on the West Coast with international holdings, sophistocated GPS and software systems, managing 12,000 acres of owned and leased tidelands in Washington State alone. Despite a business objective of clean water, changes in methods since the early 1990's have introduced highly invasive new practices using miles of PVC pipe, canopy netting, heavy duty black plastic oyster bags and 4-6 foot kiddie pools for incubators on the tidelands, along with liquifaction of the substrate up to 3 feet in depth in order to harvest 43,000 geoducks per acre. These practices permanently alter the shoreline habitat on which the aquaculture operation takes place because once they occur, they are "grandfathered" in to a perpetual planting cycle. There is no recovery period--there are just new methods or new species to be farmed on the tideland.

The shellfish industry has already gobbled up 90% of the Totten Inlet shoreline and large portions of Oakland Bay, Eld Inlet, Nisqually Reach and Case Inlet. How about leaving all the shorelines that have not been annexed by the shellfish industry in their natural state as prescribed by the Shoreline Management Act of 1971? Maybe the industry already has taken, without permits, oversight, environmental review or public comment, more than their "share." Let's preserve the natural state of the rest.

The Department of Ecology website gives an introduction to the Shoreline Management Act of 1971:

The overarching policy (of the SMA) is that "the public's opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible consistent with the overall best interest of the state and the people generally. Alterations of the natural conditions of the shorelines of the state, in those limited instances when authorized, shall be given priority for...development that will provide an opportunity for substantial numbers of people to enjoy the shorelines of the state."

Shellfish aquaculture does not "provide an opportunity for substantial numbers of people to enjoy the shorelines of the state." Rather, shellfish aquaculture excludes recreational users and shoreline property owners from enjoying areas in shellfish aquaculture operations through 1) no-trespassing signage, 2) intimidation, i.e, farm managers yelling at beach walkers, etc, 3) fenced off areas on the tidelands 4) the operations themselves precluding not only beach walkers but boaters because of possible entanglements in nets and tubes and damage from rebar and PVC barnacled encrusted stakes, 5) semi-permanent moorage of equipment on public waters without DNR permits. These exclusions have been made explicit by statements in letters and legal filings such as in the Foss case where the Foss attorney stated that a kayaker's paddle hitting the bottom over the Foss Farm would be trespassing. Another example delivering the same message is the comment from Peter Downey, geoduck grower and representative for the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association in a letter to Pierce County on January 15, 2007 that "the primary purpose of privately held tideland is shellfish farming and not residential recreation.

Shellfish aquaculture diminishes or eliminates the "public's opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state" in areas where shellfish aquaculture exists especially aquaculture using new methods of farming including use of thousands of PVC tubes or Vexar tunnels, canopy netting, oyster bags, long lines and other non-traditional methods of shellfish farming.

March 30, 2009. The deadline for public comment on the Final Progress Report, House Bill 2220 Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee (SARC) and the SARC recommendations for guidelines for County Shoreline Master Programs for geoduck aquatic operations is April 10, 2009.

Send public comment form by email to John Dohrmann or by mail to: John Dohrmann, Department of Ecology, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 09504-7600.

March 19, 2009. The Washington SeaGrant preliminary geoduck aquaculture study results that were presented by Glenn VanBlaricom on February 26, 2009 are now available on video. Preliminary results from research conducted by Washington Sea Grant indicates significant ecological disturbances from geoduck aquaculture harvest techniques. Aquaculture is not a preferred use of the water area if it results in a net loss of ecosystem function per Washington's Shoreline Management Act. Washington SeaGrant

March 19, 2009. Taylor Shellfish seeks $4.5M in tideland dispute. Taylor Shellfish wants the state to fork over nearly $4.5 million to replace revenue the company claims it lost by not having access to disputed property near Olympia. DNR officials say the disputed property belongs to the state and that Taylor should pay for the use of the land. State Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark has said he wants to find a solution outside of court. Michelle Ma, Seattle Times.

March 17, 2009. State lays out case against Taylor Shellfish. Kitsap Sun, Christopher Dunagan.

March 16, 2009. The Washington State Department of Natural Resouces files legal response to the Taylor Shellfish lawsuit against the DNR related to the trespass of Taylor Shellfish on state aquatic lands in Totten Inlet.

February 26, 2009. Ecology decides Pierce County shoreline amendment. Ecology rejected language that would have restricted the hours of operation and limited planting and harvest areas for the shellfish industry to use. Pierce County SMP Limited amendment OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Ecology. 09-048

February 24, 2009. DNR Notice of Final Determination for the Totten Inlet Intertidal Shellfish Culture proposal. The Department is not proceeding with its proposal to lease approximately 21 acres of state-owned tidelands to Taylor Shellfish... SEPA File No. 08-122201.

February 23, 2009. Taylor Shellfish sues Washington State over geoduck harvest Taylor Shellfish Co. is suing the Washington state Department of Natural Resources for not honoring a lease that would allow the company to harvest geoducks (gooey-ducks) on certain public lands. Seattle Times.

February 19, 2009. Lands Commissioner says no to lease for Taylor Shellfish on tidelands in Totten Inlet and promises to include public in any leasing decision. Mason County Journal, Greg Skinner.

February 15, 2009. Oyster Decision Could Alter Bay Officials Weighing Proposal to Add Asian Species. Sometime in the next few days, three men will make a decision that comes awfully close to playing God with the Chesapeake Bay. David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post, Page C01

February 6, 2009. "When a state agency asks for the public's input when the issue is already decided, it is a violation of the public's trust." Peter Goldmark, Department of Natural Resources Lands Commissioner.

February 6, 2009. Taylor Shellfish lease in limbo. The long running battle of Totten Inlet has a new chapter, or maybe it will close one. Taylor Shellfish Co. won't receive a lease to harvest geoducks on state tidelands until the new public lands commissioner can receive public input on the issue, the Department of Natural Resources announced this afternoon. Michelle Ma, Seattle Time.

February 6, 2009. NEW LANDS COMMISSIONER WON'T SIGN LEASE WITH TAYLOR SHELLFISH. Dedrick Allan, Mason County Daily News

February 5, 2009. State Agreement With Taylor Shellfish Put on Hold. Kitsap Sun Staff

February 6, 2009. DNR rejects Taylor Shellfish lease agreement. John Dodge, The Olympian

Allen Shellfish barge in Zangle Cove -- since late November 2008.

February 2, 2009. DNR delays issuance of final threshold for Totten Inlet Intertidal Shellfish Culture due to public comment letters.

January 31, 2009. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources October 15th 2007 Geoduck Aquaculture BMPs for State Owned Aquatic Lands states that: "Lessees will not moor support vessels on the leasehold, or offshore from the leasehold for extended periods. If lessee wishes to moor a vessel for an extended period, they should apply to DNR for a commercial mooring buoy lease."

Allen Shellfish has moored a geoduck barge in Zangle Cove on public waters next adjacent to a private lease for the last three years for 3-5 months at a time. In 2006, complaints to DNR caused Mr. Allen to move his barge to the Boston Harbor Marina. In 2007 either the same or another barge was moored in Zangle Cove from approximately Thanksgiving of 2007 to April of 2008. A barge has similarly been moored from Thanksgiving 2008 until the present. During storms in early January 2009, this barge was blown onto the beach. If it had been blown north, it would have been out in the shipping channel.

Allen Shellfish is the winning bidder on offers of state aquatic lands for geoduck aquaculture. Because Mr. Allen apparently does not have the means or standards to moor his equipment in appropriate areas, he should not be allowed to lease state land.

January 26, 2009. Taylor Shellfish & State come to agreement on trespass? The long running battle of Totten Inlet has a new chapter, or maybe it will close one. Olympic Peninsula Environmental News, Al Bergstein.

January 14, 2009. Taylor offers evidence to justify shellfish trespass. The November 12, 2008 letter from attorney Robert Johnson to DNR outlines the legal arguments should DNR fail to give Taylor what it wants. The Kitsap Sun, Christopher Dunagan.

Our comment: Taylor brazenly and defiantly threatens to sue to take possession of the property they trespassed. Citizens wonder: who is calling the shots in Puget Sound?

January 13, 2009. Taylor must pay $630,000 back rent. The Olympian, John Dodge

January 13, 2009. New Lands Commissioner could have final say on Taylor Shellfish regarding the trespass of Taylor on over 16 acres of state tidelands in Totten Inlet. Taylor Shellfish lays out possible legal arguments in order to get their way, implying Taylor is the aggrieved party and will win any lawsuit, leaving the State with nothing. Kitsap Sun, Christapher Dunagan.

Original deed and Photo and earth map documentation show the extent of the encroachment. Photo documentation of the beach from local residents shows the state of the beach on Totten Inlet prior to the 1990's along with the state of the beach after the Taylor Shellfish expansion to geoduck and oyster bag culture in the mid 1990's.

8/5/08 survey of Taylor Shellfish plantings on Totten Inlet required by DNR. Encroached area is equivalent of 21 football fields. Click to enlarge.

8/5/08 survey of Taylor Shellfish plantings on Totten Inlet.

January 12, 2009. DNR settles shellfish farming dispute with Taylor Shellfish regarding the trespass of Taylor on over 16 acres of state tidelands in Totten Inlet. The Associated Press article portrays Taylor's attitude as defiant: Taylor won't pay the fine unless they get their lease on their terms. Seattle Examiner, Associated Press.

January 12, 2009. Outgoing lands chief settles shellfish trespassing case. Company's action deemed a mistake. DNR spokesperson Patty Henson states that Taylor didn't know it was trespassing and "the trespass was out in the water along a stretch of beach that's more than a mile long. You're out there working in the cold and the wet and ... it's not like a football game, where there's a bright line showing you where the line of scrimmage is." Seattle PI, Robert McClure.

Our comment: So Taylor Shellfish, the biggest shellfish producer on the West Coast with international holdings, should be excused (and pitied) because its "wet and cold" on a mile long stretch of beach? Taylor, with its GPS systems and web-based Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services that give Taylor executives the ability to "integrate with database information about the harvest beds and their growing schedules and harvest work schedules?" Taylor Shellfish, with their 12,000 acres of owned and leased tidelands in Washington State alone--we are to believe that they don't know what they are doing? Really? But Patty is right about one thing--there is no scrimage line--it is rather more glaring than that--an area of trespassed tideland equivalent to 21 football fields. And when Taylor stamps its feet, DNR gives them a shiny new lease for their troubles--a lease equivalent to nearly 28 football fields. Or Else. Or else they'll cross their arms and not pay. And they'll sue. Who's really calling the shots here?

January 9, 2009. After a year and a half of meetings, the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee (SARC) publishes its report on guidelines for Shoreline Master Programs, Guidelines for Geoduck Aquatic Operations.

January 9, 2009. Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish Public Affairs Manager, solicits comments from East Coast shellfish growers to support DNR's Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) on the proposed lease of 21 state tideland acres in Totten Inlet--the tideland trespassed by Taylor Shellfish.

Our Comment:
The SEPA process is used to determine whether an action will have a significant adverse effect on the environment and whether the information provided is enough to make that decision. WAC 197-11-550 defines how comments should be focused. By soliciting comments from East Coast shellfish growers on a local Puget Sound problem and by providing "cut and paste" comments, Bill Dewey is attempting to turn a serious issue into a popularity contest.

While Puget Sound citizens have been voicing concerns about shellfish industry practices for over ten years, the shellfish industry is still unwilling to admit that citizens have a valid point of view and that concerns about new intensive shellfish aquaculture practices are legitimate and widespread.

The mischaracterization of the issue by the past East Coast Shellfish Growers Association (ESCGA) president, Bob Rheault, only adds to the misinformation that citizens are attempting to bring to light. Mr. Dewey's apparent attempt to bias public perception indicate alarm at the number of citizens speaking out against the shellfish industry practices. It is far from the "small vocal minority" that the industry claims.

January 9, 2009. Goldmark inherits shellfish ruling. Doug Sutherland, outgoing Public Lands Commissioner, defers decision on profit from illegal planting. Robert McClure, Seattle PI.

January 8, 2009. DNR extends public comment period to January 23, 2008 for the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) to proposed lease of 21 acres of state tidelands to Taylor Shellfish on Totten Inlet. Comments should be submitted to the SEPA Center at or mail to P.O. Box 47015, Olympia, Washington 98504-7015 for distribution to the responsible official. Please include File No. 08-122201 on all comments.

January 6, 2009. Out-the-door actions by Sutherland look bad. THE NEWS TRIBUNE

--Sutherland, defeated by Peter Goldmark for Washington State Lands Commissioner, decided to allow one contributor, Taylor Shellfish, to harvest geoducks it had illegally planted on state lands in Totten Inlet – geoducks estimated to be worth anywhere from $3 million to $9 million. Comments should be submitted by January 8, 2008 to the SEPA Center at or mail to P.O. Box 47015, Olympia, Washington 98504-7015 for distribution to the responsible official. Please include File No. 08-122201 on all comments.

--Sutherland also awarded a lease of state tidelands off Maury Island to Glacier Northwest, which contributed $52,800 directly and indirectly to his re-election campaign. Glacier needs the lease so that it can build a 305-foot loading dock, allowing it to significantly expand its sand and gravel mine on the island.

January 3, 2009. The Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee (SARC) process is the most important step to date in bringing geoduck aquaculture under control, yet at the most critical time, in relation to transparency, the Department of Ecology (ECY) is AWOL and has been for several months.

While DNR is exquisitely timely in posting public comments and documentation in order to rush through the 21 acre lease of state tidelands that were trespassed by Taylor Shellfish to Taylor Shellfish, ECY has failed to post public comments since May 2008 and meeting notes since September 8. Additionally, recent comments that have led to changes to the final draft of the report to the legislature are nowhere to be found.

What is the public to assume from the SARC website? The ordinary person could well believe that the SARC process has stopped, rather than that ECY is about to deliver a significant document to the legislature.

We respectfully request that ECY personnel immediately post all meeting notes, public comment, committee member comments and any other relevant documents to the SARC website. Posting comments and meeting notes to a website is not rocket science. If DNR can do, then ECY can do it. Failure of transparency indicates that ECY personnel are, for whatever reason, not serious about public participation and/or they are intentionally withholding information from public view.

January 3, 2009. Send comments on DNR Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) to proposed lease of 21 acres of state tidelands to Taylor Shellfish on Totten Inlet by 4:30 p.m. on January 8, 2009. Comments should be submitted to the SEPA Center at or mail to P.O. Box 47015, Olympia, Washington 98504-7015 for distribution to the responsible official. Please include File No. 08-122201 on all comments. See below for additional details.

January 1, 2009. Lame Duck GOP State Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland bestows holiday season sugarplums on Taylor Shellfish. By JOEL CONNELLY, P-I COLUMNIST

December 30, 2008. Letters to the Mason County Journal. Bill Burrows of Harstine Island advocates for protection of state beaches from geoduck aquaculture. Jim Gibbons, president of Seattle Shellfish and geoduck farmer, attempts a flimsy character assassination of Mr. Burrows.

December 23, 2008. Why are ordinary citizens exercised about the shellfish industry plans to expand operations in Puget Sound?

Our Comment
One reason is demonstrated in the photos below from the state tidelands trespassed by Taylor Shellfish. Taylor promotes itself as a small family operation with environmental credentials and stewardship for the Sound. But in fact Taylor is a multi-million dollar corporation and is the largest shellfish grower on the West Coast, with international operations.

Running out of tidelands in Mason and Thurston Counties for geoduck farming, Taylor is fighting legally to expand its operations without permit expiration in a case in Pierce County. Most tidelands they operate in Mason and Thurston Counties are already "grandfathered in" as there were no permit requirements in the first place. Through its legal efforts, paid scientists, PR campaigns, high powered lobbyists and most importantly through its long-time relationships with Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources personnel and even prominent environmental organizations, Taylor may win its way into doing whatever it wants to the tidelands of Puget Sound--in order to sell a lucrative luxury food item to foreign virility markets.

The following are samples of photos taken on the Totten Inlet trespass area, most of them on one day, June 4, 2008. This is one small part of Taylor's overall operation. 90% of Totten Inlet shoreline has been converted to shellfish aquaculture (31 of 33 miles). Taylor and other growers have already significantly expanded operations in other inlets and bays in Thurston and Mason Counties without a substantial shoreline development permit process, environmental review or public comment. Taylor is fighting a legal battle to do the same in Pierce County.

Geoduck tubes and oyster bags
Geoduck tubes and oyster bags in Totten Inlet, 2006.
Nets over geoduck tubes.
Nets over geoduck tubes in Totten Inlet, 2006.
Pulling geoduck tubes
Pulling geoduck tubes in Totten Inlet, 2006.
Nets over geoduck tubes
Nets over geoduck tubes in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Vexar plastic oyster bags
Heavy duty black Vexar plastic oyster bags in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Oyster bags
Heavy duty black Vexar plastic oyster bags in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Oyster bag long lines/stakes
Oyster bag long lines and rebar stakes in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Oyster Bag clips
Oyster bag clips in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Tangled long line with clips
Tangle oyster bag long line with clips, June 4, 2008
Rebar in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Rebar in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Loose oyster bags
Loose oyster bags ain Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Rebar in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
*Non-native Asian mudsnail
Introduced non-native Asian mudsnail - in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Stream diverted by Taylor Shellfish
Stream diverted by Taylor Shellfish using heavy equipment in previous years.
Oyster bag clips
Rebar in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Broken oyster bag clip
broken oyster bag clip in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008
Buried oyster bag and stake
Half buried oyster bag and rebar in Totten Inlet, June 4, 2008

*The Nature Conservatory database of marine invasive species states the introduction history of the Asian mudsnail (Batillaria cumingi) as: "Transported to the Pacific Coast of North America with the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas (C. gigas), imported from Japan in the early part of the 20th century." The Pacific Oyster itself was introduced by the shellfish industry and is propagated for commercial purposes in Puget Sound. It is also listed in TNC database as an invasive species with high threat scores: 1) distrupts multiple species, some wider ecosystem function, and/or keystone species or species of high conversation value; 2) scope is multi-ecoregion; 3) Currently/recently spreading rapidly (doubling in < 10 years) and/or high potential for future rapid spreading; 4) irreversible and/or can not be contained or controlled.

December 23, 2008. Response from Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat.
"To Legislators, State & County Officials and Interested Parties:

DNR told the press that Taylor had only illegally used 16 acres, but now is stating that the new Taylor lease will actually be 21 acres of geoducks and oysters. Of the total 21 acres, there are now only 5-8 acres of remaining planted geoducks after Taylor harvested last spring when they knew they were under investigation. Few oysters are on the remaining acres since Taylor moved all of the oysters months ago before the press could see the entire trespass. There is no mention by DNR of the fine for Taylor's illegal activities which brought Taylor over an estimated $25,000,000. Photo documentation clearly shows their intentional illegal trespass on state lands started in the late 1990's when they brought in oyster bags and geoduck tubes & nets---not in the 1970's when they bought their parcel adjacent to state lands.

Adjacent residents and citizens are outraged that Taylor Shellfish continues to use their political influence to keep millions from illegal operations as state agencies face major cash shortages. Essential fish habitat continues to be converted to aquaculture feedlots as Taylor expands their operations in Totten Inlet that already has 31 out of 33 shoreline miles in aquaculture.

If you have any questions, please contact Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat"

December 23, 2008. State considers geoduck harvest on public land. Phuong Le, Associated Press.

December 23, 2008. DNR deal may allow shellfish harvest State. Company continues negotiations over damages for past years' yields. John Dodge, The Olympian

December 23, 2008. Goldmark sees politics in shellfish lease study. Warren Cornwall, Seattle Times.

December 23, 2008. State considers contract with company that took shellfish near Olympia. Associated Press

December 22, 2008. DNR documentation for SEPA review of proposed lease of Totten Inlet tidelands to Taylor Shellfish. The Washington Department of Natural resources (WDNR) will lease approximately 21 acres of the state owned tidelands that Taylor Shellfish trespassed on to Taylor Shellfish in Totten Inlet for a period of five years. The lease is for the purpose of harvesting existing illegally planted geoducks and continued cultivation of oysters. The oysters will presumably be cultivated as they were during the trespass in heavy duty Vexar oyster bags on long lines. To our knowlege the long lines were never removed after the encroachment was discovered.

Our Comment:
This proposal sets a precedent for all trespass areas on state lands to be dealt with through a lease or other private control, in effect rewarding the trespasser, Taylor Shellfish, for its negligent behavior. On a broader level, DNR owns far more property than just the tidelands. If all trespass/encroachment issues are dealt with this way, there is the potential for vast acres of timberland/public land to revert into private control for short or long term use because someone, knowingly or not, encroached/trespassed onto state lands.

Send comments on this proposed MDNS by 4:30 p.m. on January 5, 2009. Comments should be submitted to the SEPA Center at or mail to P.O. Box 47015, Olympia, Washington 98504-7015 for distribution to the responsible official. Please include File No. 08-122201 on all comments.

December 18, 2008. Taylor United (Taylor Shellfish) and North Bay Partners (Foss family) appealed the June 2008 Pierce County Hearings Examiner's decision that the Taylor Shellfish Foss geoduck farm permit had expired. Taylor and North Bay appealed in both Thurston County Superior Court and the Shoreline Hearings Board. Following are some of the legal filings to the Shoreline Hearings Board that represent the legal wrangling and maneuvering related to the issue of Taylor/Foss claims about their permit for the Foss geoduck operation.

December 16, 2008. Briefs filed by CPPSH and Pierce County in opposition to the motions for summary judgment by Taylor and Foss.
-- CPPSH Memorandum in Opposition to Taylor's Motion for Summary Judgment.
-- Pierce County Response to Taylor's Motion for Summary Judgment.

December 12, 2008. Taylor Shellfish Motion to Strike Third Party Petition. Taylor has now moved to dismiss the Coalition for Protection of Puget Sound Habitat (CPPSH) Superior Court claims on grounds that CPPSH will have to wait until the SHB process is over and on grounds that CPPSH couldn't append CPPSH's claim to the existing lawsuit; that CPPSH had to file a new one. Response is due December 29, 2008.

December 2, 2008. Taylor Shellfish Motion and Memorandum in Support of Summary Judgment. Taylor's own motion for summary judgment seeks the same result as Foss (a ruling that the old permit is still valid), but on different grounds. Taylor picks up on the SHB's prior decision in this case that said the old permit hadn't expired by its own terms and, therefore, the county's action was to rescind it. Taylor argues that none of the grounds for rescission have been met.

December 1, 2008. North Bay Partner's (Foss family) motion for summary judgment in SHB proceeding. North Bay argues that there are no facts in dispute regarding its claim that Pierce County is precluded from contending that the permit expired because the county told Taylor otherwise and Taylor relied on those statements to its detriment. A victory for NorthBay/Taylor will be trumpeted as a decision of broader applicability, e.g, that the SHB decided that these permits don't have time limits, even though the legal action is related to one farm (Foss).

December 1, 2008. Final draft SARC recommendations. Send comments to: John Dohrmann, SARC Guideline Coordinator.

November 25, 2008. Ban geoduck farms until the science is in , William Burrows, Shelton, The Tacoma News Tribune.

November 23, 2008. The need for permitting of the geoduck industry in Jefferson County. Al Bergstein, Olympic Peninsula Environmental News.

November 21, 2008. Final draft SARC recommendations reveal there is no consensus on guidelines for County Shoreline Master Programs with regard to geoduck aquaculture.

November 20, 2008. Geoduck ruling set for February, Tacoma News Tribune

November 11, 2008. Shoreline Hearings Board ruling on jurisdiction for Foss appeal .

October 30, 2008. $1.3 million geoduck fine? Robert McClure, The Seattle PI

October 30, 2008. State proposes to fine Taylor Shellfish $1.3 million for trespassing Robert McClure, The Seattle PI Blog

October 30, 2008. Shellfish grower may face fines. Taylor accused of using state-owned lands for profit. John Dodge, The Olympian

October 30, 2008. Taylor Shellfish may face fines from the state. Mason County Daily News, Dedrick Allan

October 29, 2008. Taylor Shellfish faces $1.3 million fine for cultivating shellfish on state tidelands in Totten Inlet. Kitsap Sun, Christopher Dunagan

October 27, 2008. Letter from Department of Natural Resources to Taylor Shellfish regarding potential fine for trespass of geoduck farming on state tidelands in Totten Inlet.

Our Comment:
Taylor's claim of ignorance of trespass on state tidelands are countered by the 1969 and 1979 deeds providing a clear property description of the oyster tract in question. Taylor's argument is further diminished through the wording in the 1979 deed on page 5 in Condition 6 that the purchaser (Taylor) had inspected the property and was satisfied with the boundaries described in the deed.

Additionally, the Totten Inlet residents' complaints both to Taylor and the state in 1997 put Taylor on notice that there was a problem. Taylor's claim that their encroachment was "unintentional" and/or "unknown" and/or "accidental" simply does not stand the test of common logic.

The original deed for sale of the property from the state in 1905 was provided by DNR to the Totten Inlet resident who complained about Taylor Shellfish encroachment on State tidelands in 1997.

Photo and earth map documentation with acreage calculations from June 2008 on Thurston County tideland parcel #93010401000 owned by Taylor United and state lands west and north of the parcel show the extent of the encroachment. According to a conversation with a reporter on 10/29/08, DNR is basing the fine for trespass related to geoduck culture on 17 acres of tideland after a formal survey of the property. Oyster culture on state land has not yet been assessed.

Photo documentation of the beach from local residents shows the state of the beach on Totten Inlet prior to the 1990's along with the state of the beach after the Taylor Shellfish expansion to geoduck and oyster bag culture in the mid 1990's.

DNR employees, who did not take seriously the complaints of Totten Inlet residents in 1997, are now saying that there is a 3 year statute of limitations on the encroachment. Because of this negligence, DNR should take care in the resolution of how the lands will be used in the future. It would be further negligence if DNR turns around and gives preference to Taylor Shellfish in any lease process or restoration effort.

Additionally, if the ignorance of the largest shellfish company in the country is this great, then the idea promoted by Taylor Shellfish in the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee (SARC) that the industry can regulate itself through Best Management Practices, is clearly nonsense. Guidelines to counties for their Shore Master Program updates should include the requirement of surveys for all aquaculture operations, along with a permitting process that allows for environmental review and public comment.

October 19, 2008. Muddy Waters In Washington State's Puget Sound, the world's largest burrowing clam have spawned a battle. Audubon, November-December, 2008, Ted Stevens.

October 11, 2008. Shellfish growers still face uncertainty related to the 33 million settlement with the Tribes because the growers cannot identify all of their farm property. Kitsap Sun, Christopher Dunagan

Our comment:
This should not surprise anyone. No shoreline permits are required for shellfish aquaculture in Mason and Thurston Counties (where most of the shellfish farms are), the records from the Department of Health as of 1/8/08 did not in many cases include acreage or species, and the farm registration records from Department of Fish and Wildlife were "pieces of paper in a box." While growers were claiming that only 150 acres of geoducks existed in 2007, they filed documents to the Army Corps of Engineers in June 2007, that indicated over 10,000 acres had geoduck culture. Revisions to the Department of Ecology in 2008 subsequently claimed 350 acres of geoduck culture, though we have not seen proper documentation of this figure. At the same time, we now know that at least 16 acres of geoducks, oysters and manila clams farmed in Totten Inlet by Taylor Shellfish were not owned by the shellfish grower at all but were a trespass on state land and Taylor Shellfish has claimed that their trespass was "inadvertant." (See news stories below)

While the shellfish industry, and particularly Taylor Shellfish, continue to promote conversion of natural tidelands to shellfish aquaculture without any need for County permitting both through the courts and the agencies, citizens have requested that expansion of shellfish aquaculture be put on hold until an accurate inventory is made. Both accurate surveys and baseline studies of the areas that the industry wants to expand into should be part of a County level permitting process that requires environmental review and public comment.

September 20, 2008. Letter to the Olympian from Bill Dewey, spokesman in chief for Taylor Shellfish says that he is ready to supply research from Canada and US to address the environmental issues raised by Pierce County.

Our comment:
Bill Dewey is the same guy who has been saying, with some quantity of crocodile tears, that the illegal encroachment onto sixteen acres of state land for geoduck farming by Taylor Shellfish in Totten Inlet was inadvertent and Taylor is not to blame. Why should anyone believe anything Mr. Dewey says or any of the studies that he produces?

According to a posting on the Olympia Penninsula Environmental News blog by Al Bergstein, Board Member of People for Puget Sound, studies were produced for Jefferson County by Mr. Peter Downey (geoduck grower, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association representative, Jefferson County Commissioner and colleague of Bill Dewey). These studies are presumably the same studies that Mr. Dewey is going to produce for Pierce County. Mr. Bergstein states that "..the industry claims that many 'studies' have shown that there is nothing to worry about, however, this reporter has read through well over a hundred studies sent by Mr. Downey, and sees nothing in these studies that relate to the situation we find ourselves in here in Jefferson County." If the studies have no relevance for Jefferson County, then neither do they have relevance for Pierce County.

Krystal Kyer, Tahoma Audubon, in an Op-Ed in the Tacoma News Tribune on April 6, 2008, entitled Research will help us make aquaculture safe, sustainable. stated that "one of the themes found in Washington Sea Grant's draft literature review on geoduck aquaculture is that in an overwhelming number of instances, there is either little or no (or conflicting) peer-reviewed research on multiple facets of the geoduck aquaculture issue - including whether geoduck aquaculture helps or harms the environment. This ranges from diseases to genetics to birds to water quality."

The final version of the Sea Grant Geoduck Literature Review, prepared by University of Washington scientists, was published on January 25, 2008, confirms the lack of research on the issues surrounding geoduck farming.

September 16, 2008. Virtual Earth aerial photo shows that Seattle Shellfish has installed 1000+ plastic kiddie pools in Spencer Cove, Harstine Island, to grow geoduck seed. This calculates to approximately 28,000 square feet of plastic on the beach at this one location.

Jim Gibbons, President of Seattle Shellfish, is loudly and obsessively complaining about a faucet and drain in a small summer cabana, the equivalent of an outside faucet on a house, while at the same time promoting the activities you see in these photos as good for the health of Puget Sound.

Seattle Shellfish Spencer Cove kiddie pools used for geoduck seed.

July 4, 2008 Seattle Shellfish runs a tractor on the fragile tideland to install and maintain the 1000+ kiddie pool seed incubators. While the Puget Sound Partnership is set to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to protect Puget Sound, the shellfish industry is allowed to engage in this type of activity without permit, public comment or environmental review in Mason and Thurston Counties. These activities were characterized as "innovative" by the industry representative on the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee.

Seattle Shellfish Spencer Cove kiddie pools used for geoduck seed.

September 12, 2008. In 2007, the shellfish industry publicly distanced itself from geoduck grower, Jim Gibbons, but do they back him behind the scenes?

Jim Gibbons, President of Seattle Shellfish, routinely distributes inflamatory communications with the apparent intention of personally discrediting those attempting to bring regulation to his industry.

A year ago, in a widely distributed letter, Gibbons spuriously attacked both the state legislator who had initiated the HB 2220 legislation and the citizen representatives on SARC (Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee). A letter of apology was issued by Robin Downey, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA), on August 21, 2008, who said: "..On behalf of the shellfish growing community, and the duly nominated shellfish representatives that on the SARC, please accept our apologies for any communications that have gone forward that were less than constructive. These communications did not come from the "industry" at all -- they were sent forward independently by a single individual, without the knowledge or concurrence of the rest of our group. We have strongly requested that these communications cease, (prior to this email), but please understand that we don't have the ability to control what any one particular individual chooses to communicate..."

Another email from Robin Downey to Tom Clingman, Department of Ecolocy, on August 23, 2007, obtained through a public records request, stated that "several of us have spoken to Jim about his emails and ardently requested that he cease sending out anything else ..." In the same email thread, Mr. Clingman states that he (Clingman) separately sent a response to one of the targets of Gibbon's defamatory emails "explaining that individuals may send such emails despite the intent of Ecology and the Committee participants," without any public rebuke from Ecology to Gibbons or the shellfish industry.

While Mr. Gibbons is now attempting to discredit the citizen representative on SARC in the eyes of People for Puget Sound (PFPS), in the fall of 2006, Gibbons was attempting to discredit People for Puget Sound in the eyes of everyone else, because PFPS had published an Intertidal Geoduck Policy. He accused PFPS, among other things, of betraying Taylor Shellfish, a contributor to PFPS, and of traipsing across Taylor's private property in Totten Inlet without permission--property we now know is owned by the State and has been illegally farmed by Taylor Shellfish in geoducks and oysters for at least 11 years. DNR has stated that the illegal encroachment was nearly 16 acres.

Ms. Downey and the industry may want to distance themselves from Gibbons publicly, but in fact, an email from the Taylor Shellfish attorneys to the Department of Ecology commends Mr. Gibbon's 2006 letter blasting PFPS, and reveals the close connection between Jim Gibbons and the rest of the shellfish industry. Additionally, a Seattle Shellfish employee is on the Board of PCSGA.

September 9, 2008. Lawsuit filed over proposed gravel mine expansion. Challenge could test protections for orcas. Seattle PI, Lisa Stiffler. Susan Gordon, The News Tribune. "This site on Maury Island is a very important part of Puget Sound habitat, and the project itself is a major example of exactly the kind of thing that needs to stop if we're going to restore the health of Puget Sound," said Kathy Fletcher, executive director of People for Puget Sound.

Our Comment:
Kathy Fletcher's statement in the article that "the problem is they're trying to put an industrial project into an area that is essentially an unspoiled part of Puget Sound" is exactly the same argument citizens are putting forth in opposing unregulated expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture into all viable beaches of South Puget Sound and Jefferson County. Totten Inlet beaches are already 90% filled with shellfish aquaculture--30 miles of beaches--without environmental review, public comment, and apparently without surveys as to the tidelands utilized based on the recent discovery of 16 acres of illegal farm trespass by Taylor Shellfish on state owned tideland.

September 5, 2008.County planners cite concerns about geoduck farming. Susan Gordon, The News Tribune

August 31, 2008. Jefferson County gets earful on geoduck issues in SMP. "After two years of collaborative work from over 20 people across all spectrum’s of Jefferson County, the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) seems to be caving in to pressure from one powerful member of the committee, Peter Downey, who with the help of his wife, a shellfish lobbyist, is forcing the county to rewrite agreed upon rules to suit their industry's demands." Al Bergstein, Olympic Peninsula Environmental News.

August 29, 2008. People for Puget Sound letter of concern about the aquaculture section in the draft Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program. The letter concludes that " is important that local governments and agencies take a precautionary approach to avoid adverse impacts to nearshore species and habitats."

August 29, 2008. State to fine Taylor Shellfish for using public aquatic lands in Totten Inlet. By Lisa Stiffler, Seattle PI.

August 29, 2008. Geoduck Dialog Continues Here, the Mason County Journal, Bill Burrows, Letter to the Editor. Local Harstine citizen speaks for Mason County property owners in opposing leasing of public beaches for geoduck aquaculture.

August 28, 2008. Claims About a Clam, Journal of Opinion, the Mason County Journal, discusses issues related to the DNR leasing program for geoduck aquaculture in Mason County.

August 28, 2008. Geoduck harvest back on again in Pierce County. County allows Taylor Shellfish to renew digs despite suit, objections. Susan Gordon, Tacoma News Tribune

August 18, 2008. Administrative decision from Pierce County allows Taylor Shellfish to harvest planted geoducks at the Foss farm in spite of permit expiration.

July 31, 2008. Taylor Shellfish, neighbors, state will talk about remedy Chester Allen, The Olympian.

July 23, 2008. Letter from Attorney General to Billy Plauche, GordonDerr LPP, attorney for Taylor Shellfish, discusses pending issues regarding the unresolved trespass on state-owned aquatic lands caused by Taylor's aquaculture operations in Totten Inlet.

July 23, 2008. Taylor Shellfish ceases harvest at Totten until issue can be resolved. Bill Taylor, Special to the Gateway. Mr. Taylor continues his protestations of innocence in the matter of several acres of trespass on state lands for shellfish aquaculture. He refers inquiries to his public relations consultant in Seattle, Gallatin Public Affairs.

July 23, 2008. Tideland boundary questions could be Pandora's Box, Christopher Dunagan, The Kitsap Sun.
Our Comment
Tideland boundary issues are complex because tidelands are not neat extensions of the upland properties and may exist separately from upland properties. To make it more complicated, when the tide is in, the waters are in the public trust and are not private waters. This points to one of the most serious problems related to the expansion of shellfish aquaculture into residential areas--the social impacts. Tideland boundaries were never an issue for most shoreline owners until shellfish employees (including Taylor Shellfish) started running people off the beaches, putting up no trespassing signs and engaging in lawsuits where shellfish industry lawyers claim that "if your kayak paddle hits the ground under the water, then you are trespassing." By these behaviors, the shellfish industry has made boundaries a big issue and has brought condemnation on itself.

July 22, 2008. Shellfish Company's Encroachment Raises State Revenue Questions. Christopher Dunagan, The Kitsap Sun.

July 21, 2008. Fines warranted if shellfish were farmed illegally The Olympian Editorial Board states: "If Taylor Shellfish made a mistake, company officials need to own up to the mistake, take responsibility for their actions and make restitution to the public by paying whatever fine is assessed against them."

Our Comment
In the November 1, 2007 Foss geoduck farm permit expiration hearing testimony (page 163), a Taylor Shellfish employee said Taylor Shellfish is a "good player" compared to another shellfish company that she characterized as a "bad player," making this one reason that a permit was not required for Taylor's Foss geoduck farm. She stated that "just because you have a regulation doesn't mean you have compliance, and it doesn't mean that you have everybody playing by the same rules." The recent revelation of extensive illegal encorachment onto state land by Taylor operations proves that permits are needed in Thurston County as well as Pierce County for all players, most particularly for Taylor Shellfish. A county permit process, which does not now exist in Thurston County, would allow for public comment, environmental review and conditions, such as a marine survey, on any approved activity.

July 19, 2008. Hearing in Thurson County Superior Court on the Taylor Shellfish/Pierce County Joint Motion for Consolidation of Entry and Settlement Agreement. Motion proposes terms for dropping Taylor Shellfish 25 million dollar damage claim against Pierce County in exchange for ability to harvest geoducks from the Foss Farm. The judge declined to approve the proposed settlement on procedural grounds -- that the matter was too complex to be decided without more study by him. The matter was re-scheduled.

But while the ruling was as said above, the Judge commented that he did not see how the parties could enter into a settlement that didn't include the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat.

Pierce County Reply to Motion
Taylor Shellfish Reply to Motion
Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat Reply to Motion
North Bay Partners Reply to Motion
Letter to Judge from Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat
Letter to Judge from North Bay Partners

July 18, 2008. Four letters to the editor of the Seattle PI: two letters chastizing the PI for the article on the illegal encroachment of Taylor Shellfish on state tideland, and two letters thanking the PI.

Our Comment
Supporters of the shellfish industry continually mislead by stating that the number of people who question the practices of the industry are a small vocal group. In fact, entire communities have been working on this issue, communities in Totten Inlet, Harstine Island, Anderson Island, Stretch Island, Thurston County, Henderson Bay, Case Inlet and Shine Beach. The tragedy is that people have to go to such lengths to get local government to do the right thing--in this case, bring regulation to an industry that is "one of the last unregulated industries in the country", words from Jim Gibbons, President of Seattle Shellfish, in a letter dated March 15, 2007.

July 16, 2008. Geoduck farming is not good for the environment. Kris Mansfield, Letter to the Editor, The Olympian

July 15, 2008. Taylors were early leaders in protecting Puget Sound. Gail Taylor respond to Totten Inlet trespass issue, Letter to the Editor, Seattle PI.

Our Comment:
We agree that saving Puget Sound requires partnership, but for partnerships to occur, there must be an acceptance by all parties that there are different viewpoints on how the tidelands of Puget Sound should be used. We accept that Taylor wants clean water so tidelands can be economically productive. We request Taylor accept that citizens would like a say in the siting of shellfish acquaculture operations in their communities and that tidelands are minimally impacted. Perhaps then a true partnership will evolve.

July 14, 2008. Taylor Shellfish/Pierce County Joint Motion for Consolidation of Entry and Settlement Agreement. Motion proposes terms for dropping Taylor Shellfish 25 million dollar damage claim against Pierce County in exchange for ability to harvest geoducks from the Foss Farm.

July 13, 2008. Taylor Shellfish speaks out after tidelands survey.
--Staff and Wire Report, The Olympian.

Our Comment
The Olympian, for a long time, has appeared to be an apologist for Taylor Shellfish complementing the "do nothing about this for now" mentality of the Thurston County Commissioners as regards regulation of the shellfish industry on a County level.

Where's the in depth story here? Thurston County is the "scene of the crime," yet the Olympian took the very good PI article, changed the headline, removed comments by Bill Dewey, chief spokesperson for Taylor, mentions that the actions of Taylor were unintentional no less than three times and fails to use the term "illegal," a term used in the headline of the Seattle PI story. All this has the effect of watering down the implications of the illegal actions and helping Taylor Shellfish promote itself as a victim. Taylor has its hands in the million dollar cookie jar but states that they won't be fined because it was unintentional. This defense only serves to support the efforts by many communities to bring regulation to the industry.

July 12, 2008. State's largest shellfish company illegally used public waters: Encroachment likely brought Taylor Shellfish millions in revenue.
--Drew Harwell, Seattle PI.

Bill Dewey states in the article: "I don't feel like we're getting away with anything," he said. "We're no different than any other business community anywhere. ... If we're guilty of something, I don't know what it would be."

Our comment:
Mr. Dewey appears to be saying that being ignorant of the boundaries of the business property and reaping millions from unauthorized use of land owned by others is the norm for busnesses. We think that is preposterous and that most other business owners would take exception to this characterization.
--Mr. Dewey should take responsibility for the actions of his company, rather than play the victim.
--Since Taylor Shellfish is pleading ignorance, all of their geoduck and oyster operations should be surveyed and audited by DNR to determine if there is additional encroachment. A Taylor Shellfish farm manager testified in the Pierce County hearing in Nov-Dec 2007 that Taylor has 56 geoduck operations in South Puget Sound.

July 10, 2008. Tide is turning for two Taylor Shellfish farms: Local resident, DNR, county all reviewing geoduck activities. The Peninsula Gateway, Paige Richmond. In the article, Rick Doenges, Aquatic Resources Division Manager for the DNR, "confirms that any mistake on Taylor Shellfish's part is 'an unintentional occupation' and said that the company is 'reputable.'" What Mr. Doenges does not say is that DNR itself has irresponsibly failed to properly manage state lands. It is completely inappropropriate for a DNR employee to be advocating for a private corporation in a situation where the corporation has engaged in illegal activity. Although Bill Dewey is obviously attempting to minimize the damage, this is not just a little mistake and both DNR and Taylor Shellfish should be held accountable for it.

July 10, 2008. Geoduck aquaculture should be debated. Donald Stave in a letter to the editor of The Olympian, responds to Robin Downeys earlier comments in the Olympian. Robin Downey, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Associations, declines Don's offer to a public debate.

July 9, 2008. Taylor Shellfish illegal encroachment onto approximately 25-30 acres of state lands in Totten Inlet brings a call for an investigation by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat.

--1997 Letter from DNR to Totten Inlet resident detailing leasing activity on State land next to the Taylor United parcel #93010401000 along with the original 1905 deed for the parcel itself.
--Photo and earth map documentation with acreage calculations on Thurston County tideland parcel #93010401000 owned by Taylor United and state lands west and north of the parcel.
--Letter from the State Auditor to Henderson Bay Shoreline Association states that "we were informed by the Department (DNR) that the company (Taylor Shellfish) had stopped planting additional shellfish and had ceased harvesting activity on the area in question until the boundary issues are resolved."
--Email from DNR aquatic lands staff confirms that "there are some areas of state-owned aquatic lands that are occupied with unauthorized geoduck and oyster cultivation."
--Letter from Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat to DNR enforcement officer details that residents of Totten Inlet requested an investigation as early as 1997 and again requests an investigation. In addition, the letter asks that:
    1) all planted geoducks, oysters and clams on state lands should become the property of the state and revenues from the sale of these shellfish should be used for restoration of Totten Inlet for forage fish and salmon;
    2) all past revenue generated off these state lands should be repaid to the state along with the statutory penalties and fines;
    3) Taylor Shellfish be held accountable for the illegal poaching of wild geoducks;
    4) an investigation be started on all state lands adjacent to parcels owned or leased by Taylor Shellfish to assure citizens that other state land's native shellfish are not being poached and lease and production revenues are not being avoided.
--Email from Bill Taylor, President of Taylor Shellfish, denies intentional wrongdoing, confirms that Taylor has been illegally conduting business on state land since 1972, and implies that Taylor Shellfish is the victim.
--Email from the Coalition to the State Auditor's chief investigator requests a financial and performance audit of DNR's aquatic division to insure that they are properly discharging all of their duties on behalf of the citizens of the state of Washington, and that Taylor cease illegal harvest and removal of evidence of encroachment on State land.
--Subsequent telephone communication with the DNR investigator detailed in the above letter reveals that DNR aquatic staff is "working out" the issue with Taylor Shellfish without asking for an investigation, that the situation is "under control" and that they had worked out with Taylor that the oysters on state lands could be moved to other private tidelands because the oysters were getting too big.

Our comment:
Whether the encroachment onto 25-30 acres of state land was intentional or unintentional makes no difference--it is still illegal. Ignorance is not a defense. It is hard to understand how Taylor Shellfish, one of the the largest shellfish companies in the country, who has farmed here for decades according to their own history, is unaware of how much one acre covers on the shoreline or that their total farming on the specific parcel in Totten Inlet and next to it on State land exceeds by nearly 200% the number of acres of the actual parcel.

Additionally in the December 13, 2007 Pierce County hearing on the Taylor Shellfish appeal of the permit expiration on the Foss farm in Pierce County, the Taylor Shellfish Farm Manager stated during testimony:

Q Does Taylor keep records of the exact location of the geoduck beds?
A Yes. We GPS our geoduck beds.
Q You GPS the coordinates?
A Yes.
Q And when did you begin recording the GPS coordinates of the geoduck beds?
A I believe we got our GPS unit in 2004.
Q So what did you do in 2004?
A We started GPSing all the previous plantings on the Foss farm: the 2001, 2002, and so on.
Q And since 2004, have you continued that practice?
A Yes, we have.

DNR is apparently doing its best to work out a behind the scenes deal with Taylor Shellfish without an investigation. We ask that a formal investigation be conducted by DNR enforcement to ascertain the extent and duration of illegal activity on state lands and to determine monies owed to the state and the citizens of the state.

Additional facts:
--The Taylor Shellfish parcel in question #93010401000 is not listed as certified for harvest on the Department of Health shellfish certification list, despite the fact that harvesting according to Bill Taylor's letter, has occurred there since 1972.

--The Taylor Shellfish parcel in question #93010401000 did not appear as part of the 2007 public records request to the Army Corps of Engineers for NWP 48 Existing shellfish forms which included geoduck culture. These forms were required to be filed with the ACOE by the end of June 2007. Taylor Shellfish has planted and harvested geoduck on the state lands next to their parcel since approximately 1997.

--June 27, 2007 email from Army Corps of Engineers confirms that Taylor Shellfish encroached on State land in Henderson Inlet and was forced by DNR to remove tubes planted for geoduck farming.

--In April 2006, a small geoduck operator held a neighborhood meeting in Boston Harbor to promote geoduck farming, stating that a marine survey would be done before a farm was put in. Yet it is only now, in 2008 after farming illegally for 36 years, when prompted by a citizen request to the State Auditor, that Taylor Shellfish performs a survey of its property and that DNR is forced to take an interest in what is happening on the public tidelands that it is charged with managing.

--June 7, 2008. Taylor Shellfish continues to illegally harvest on lands believed to be outside the boundaries of their property.

Harvest of Taylor Shellfish oyster on state land.

July 2, 2008. The unfortunate, but predictable consequence of the expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture in Puget Sound is the tearing apart of neighborhoods and communities and the pitting of neighbor against neighbor. The letter from attorney Jerry Kimball to the neighbors to the north of the Taylor Shellfish Foss geoduck farm gives an example of what is in store for shoreline communities, especially when adjacent neighbors try to speak out about aquaculture impacts to Puget Sound and their neighborhood. The geoduck operation managers and the private owners alike become the beach police.

No Trespassing sign on privately owned tideland with Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm.

June 27, 2008. David Dicks, Executive Director of the Puget sound Partnership states that part of the mission of the Puget Sound Partnership is to "promote products." Mr. Dicks had been questioned about a promotional for Taylor Shellfish in the Puget Sound Partnership newsletter. Last we looked, the mission of the Puget Sound Partnership was "to restore Puget Sound's health by 2020." Our request to David Dicks to provide documentation about the new "mission to promote products" has gone unanswered.

June 26, 2008. The Olympian Letters to the Editor regarding geoduck aquaculture.
--Jules Michel writes
regarding the David Jamison article on sandy beach habitat, which is important for marine life. Mr. Michels comments that these sandy beach habitats are the very ones being converted to intensive industrial geoduck farms.
--Robin Downey, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Associates calls Mr. Michel "disingenuous." (Calling citizens "disingenuous" appears to be a favorite namecalling tactic of the shellfish industry representatives.)
--Bill Burrows, Harstine Island resident asks Ms. Downey for an apology.

Our comment: Robin Downey makes a false argument in her criticism of the comments by Jules Michel about the impacts of industrial geoduck farming on the tidelands. She claims it's a choice between shellfish farming and development. Maybe she should ask her husband, Peter Downey, Jefferson County Commissioner and geoduck grower, why he voted last year to approve a massive new development in Brinnon on Hood Canal. Mr. Michels, the person Ms Downey criticizes, on the other hand, put many acres of his private timberland on Grays Harbor into a conservation easement in order to preserve it from development.

Many citizens are from families who have lived in the Puget Sound region for generations and take exception to Ms. Downey's gratuitous attempt to paint us as rich landowners who only care about our view. We care deeply about Puget Sound--the one we grew up with. It is the shellfish companies who are the greedy ones--wanting to permanently convert both public and private tidelands into geoduck feedlots so as to export thousands of pounds of geoducks, alive in water, as a luxury food item to foreign markets. Just imagine the carbon footprint of that little operation. And try walking on the beach when Taylor Shellfish takes it over.

June 26, 2007. On Al Bergstein's Olympia Peninsula Environmental News Blog, Peter Downey, geoduck grower and representative of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, laments the "potential" that live aboard boats in Mystery Bay might spread the Norwalk virus, even though no fecal coliform has been found by DOH. Yet Mr. Downey says nothing about the "potential" for spillages from the Marrowstone Shellfish Company also located in the bay:

Shellfish facility in Mystery Bay.

Jules Michels writes:

What "might happen" if one of the 17+ vehicles parked on the shoreline leaked oil?
What "might happen" if one of the boats moored at the dock discharges its bilge (and is it a marina)?
What "might happen" if the many shellfish processing facilities dotting the shorelines of Puget Sound have similar "potential"?
And, what "might happen" if the truck facility across the highway spills diesel into the adjacent wetland, it floods, and spills into Mystery Bay?

Many things have the potential to impact Puget Sound and its tidelands. The shellfish industry driving the "potential" of moored boats in Mystery Bay to the level it is might be better directed elsewhere, perhaps on itself.

June 13, 2008. Letter from Taylor Shellfish attorneys stating their intention to appeal the amended decision by the Pierce County Hearings Examiner.

June 12, 2008. Amended decision from the Pierce County Hearings Examiner in the Taylor Shellfish Foss geoduck farm appeal.

May 30, 2008. Order from the Thurston County Superior Court confirms that the initial proceeding will be before the Shorelines Hearings Board, not in court. Taylor Shellfish filed their appeal in both jurisdictions.

Taylor Shellfish farm in North Bay, Case Inlet

Taylor Shellfish tideland farm in North Bay, Case Inlet.

May 30, 2008. Aerial photos of Taylor Shellfish farm in North Bay and a Seattle Shellfish farm in Spencer Cove, both in Case Inlet, demonstrate how privately owned tidelands have been converted to permanent agricultural use in Mason and Thurston Counties without any permitting process or regulation. Some tidelands are leased from private owners and some are owned outright by the shellfish corporations.

The shellfish industry is now attempting to expand operations in Pierce County and Taylor Shellfish is appealing a Pierce County Hearing Examiner's Decision that affirms that the permit for the Foss geoduck farm has expired and that Taylor must obtain a substantial shoreline development permit for their geoduck farm every five years. See below for additional legal documents.

Documents that help to identifify locations of shellfish farms.
--Department of Ecology listing of ACOE NWP 48 existing shellfish operations that include geoduck aquaculture as of 6/29/07.
--Compilation of ACOE NWP 48 existing geoduck farms in Mason, Thurston and Pierce Counties from public records request to the Army Corps of Engineers as of 9/07.
--WA Department of Health water certification listing for shellfish harvest as of 1/8/08, obtained from public records request to the DOH and compiled by Protect Our Shoreline.

Locate parcels and maps at these Thurston and Mason County websites:
--Thurston County geodata and parcel maps
--Mason County geodata and parcel maps

May 25, 2008. Geoduck farming's drawbacks require careful permit process. Taylor Shellfish owner Bill Taylor's characterization of his geoduck-farming industry as a benign force in Puget Sound is disputed. Tacoma News Tribune, Richard Wooster, Letter to Editor of the Gateway, published April 13, 2008.

May 23, 2008. Most islanders oppose exploiting public beaches for DNR leasing of commercial geoduck operations. Bill Burrows, The Tacoma News Tribune.

May 14, 2008. Studies show geoduck farming hurts intertidal zones of Sound. Curt Puddicombe, Special to the Gateway

May 5, 2008. Sandy beach habitat provides a "dramatic increase in life" such as "little-neck clams, green sea lettus, red seaweed called Nori, amphipods..." The Olympian, David Jamison.

Sandy beaches on Puget Sound are the precise areas that the shellfish industry desires for commercial shellfish aquaculture. The sandy beach habitat was described by a representative of Taylor Shellfish at a Key Peninsula geoduck forum in May of 2007 as "barren."

May 5, 2008. Video presentations from the Harstine and Stretch Island meeting with Department of Natural Resources and Department of Ecology about DNR leasing public beaches for commercial geoduck farming.

Harstine citizens speak out on DNR leasing. Overview of citizen concerns regarding using public beaches for private profits, with doubts about the environmental stewardship of the DNR.
DNR Beach Lease Story Description of a public beach leased by the DNR for clam and oyster aquaculture with the question: Why is the DNR so interested in making money off our public beaches?
Q&A Two hours of questions and statements from the audience. With much passion, citizens ask "why is DNR doing this?"

May 2, 2008. Citizen requests for documentation from DNR scientists related to the impacts of geoduck farming leases on forage fish have brought a consistent response from DNR that "our scientists have looked at the forage fish issue and determined that there would be a minimal interaction between the geoduck aquaculture methods and forage fish (sand lance and surf smelt)." Francea McNair, Aquatic Lands Steward, August 11, 2006.

After many public records requests, citizens finally learn in a letter from DNR in April 2008 that the the source for the DNR scientists' determination was merely a review of the WDFW website, not scientific studies. We continue to be astonished by the the apparently amateurish and unprofessional use of unnamed scientists in DNR to support the conversion of the fragile tidelands of Puget Sound to commercial agricultural use.

May 1, 2008. DNR eyeing public beaches for geoduck farming. Public hears plans for local aquaculture Susan Schel, The Gateway

April 26, 2008. Taylor Shellfish Proposed Legal Issues and Witness Exhibit List for their appeal of the Pierce County ruling before the Shoreline Hearings Board. If it is determined that the SHB is the proper jurisdiction for this appeal, as opposed to Superior Court, all witnesses, exhibts and arguments heard during the four day proceeding heard before the Piece County Heaings Examiner, who ruled against Taylor, will be revisted.

The SHB hearing to determine jurisdiction is waiting the Pierce County Hearings Examiner's reconsideration on his decision related to wording in the decision about which shoreline designation the Foss farm has been given. Ty Booth, Pierce County Planner, has written a Letter to the Hearings Examiner stating that the County reserves the right to review any new applications for the Foss site "in accordance with the correct shoreline environment as set forth in the Pierce County Shoreline Master Program." The Hearings Examiner Decision has required Taylor Shellfish to submit a new application for the project.

April 26, 2008. Talk about your 'Dirty Jobs.' Tacoma News Tribune Blog, Kim Bradford. Editorial blog regarding the controversy over the Taylor Shellfish/Foss geoduck farm. Includes comments problem solving from Jules Michel, Shelton.

April 25, 2008. 120+ citizens from Harstine and Stretch Islands speak out about DNR leasing public beaches for commercial geoduck farming.

Harstine citizens speak out on DNR leasing. Harstine citizens speak out on DNR leasing Barge in Zangle Cove DNR income from aquatic leasing. Q&A Q&A

April 16, 2008. Taylor Shellfish Petition for Review to the Shoreline Hearings Board of the Pierce County Hearings Examiner decision on the Foss geoduck farm. Taylor has filed both an appeal in Suprior Court and this petition to the Shoreline Hearings Board.

April 16, 2008. Taylor Shellfish keeps beach property cleaner than its previous state: a response to the Pierce County Hearings Examiner decision from the owner of the Foss property where Taylor Shellfish has installed a geoduck farm on a 12 acre, one mile long track of beach. Leslie Foss, The Gateway.

Ms. Foss states that the geoduck farm is the means to pay taxes on the 126 acre parcel so the family doesn't have to sell the land to developers. According to Pierce County tax records, the Foss family owns three waterfront parcels totalling 53 acres taxed at a total of $8,854 for 2008 and 80 acres of upland property taxed at $98 in 2008.

According to the post-hearing Taylor Shellfish brief, Taylor currently has over 20 millions dollars worth of unharvested geoducks in the ground on the Foss tideland. The usual cut for the property owner is 10% of the gross. Since we believe that geoducks were not planted in 2007, the current amount represents age classes for approximately four years of harvest, which makes the cut to the property owners $500,000 per year or a total of $2,000,000. Taylor intends to plant this farm in perpetuity.

If Ms. Foss truly wanted to save the land from developers, why did she turn the tidelands over to perpetual commercial development rather than put the land into a conservation easement? The conservation easement would have reduced both property and estate taxes. Instead, Ms. Foss apparently wanted to retain the ability to sell the upland property to developers in the future, something a conservation easement would prohibit. Though we think that Ms. Foss's intentions to preserve the upland in its natural state are laudable, we question the vehicle she chose for doing it.

April 16, 2008. Taylor Shellfish Petition for Review to the Shoreline Hearings Board of the Pierce County Hearings Examiner decision on the Foss geoduck farm. Taylor has filed both an appeal in Suprior Court and this petition to the Shoreline Hearings Board.

April 16, 2008. Taylor Shellfish appeal in Thurston County Superior Court to the Pierce County Hearings Examiner decision on the Foss geoduck farm.

April 15, 2008. Taylor Shellfish re-application for Foss geoduck farm.

April 15, 2008. Beachside Homeowners Clash with Sea Farmers. KPLU audio, Austin Jenkins

April 11, 2008. Parties sound off on geoduck ruling. Pierce County Examiner says Taylor Shellfish permit has expired. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Schell, Gig Harbor Gateway.

April 11, 2008. Taylor backed Pierce County into a corner and lost. Laura Hendricks, Letter to Editor, Tacoma News Tribune.

April 11, 2008. Taylor Shellfish has right to pursue appeal. Jim Gibbons (Seattle Shellfish), Letter to Editor, Tacoma News Tribune.

April 6, 2008. Research will help us make aquaculture safe, sustainable. Krystal Kyer, Tahoma Audubon, in an Op-Ed in the Tacoma News Tribune, states that "one of the themes found in Washington Sea Grant's draft literature review on geoduck aquaculture is that in an overwhelming number of instances, there is either little or no (or conflicting) peer-reviewed research on multiple facets of the geoduck aquaculture issue - including whether geoduck aquaculture helps or harms the environment. This ranges from diseases to genetics to birds to water quality."

The final version of the Sea Grant Geoduck Literature Review, prepared by University of Washington scientists, was published on January 25, 2008, constrasts with statements made by Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish in his April 1, 2008 Op-Ed article that "considerable research has shown that the environmental issues raised by these opponents are unfounded and that geoduck farming does not harm the environment."

April 5, 2008. Ugly clams spawn even uglier fight. Tacoma News Tribune.

April 4, 2008. Based on their Letters to the Editor, Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish and Robin Downey, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, apparently both failed to read Condition 5 of the 2000 Pierce County permit for the Taylor-Foss geoduck operation.

Condition Five of the 2000 Taylor-Foss geoduck farm permit states:
If a project for which a permit has been granted pursuant to the Act has not been completed within five (5) years after the approval of the permit by local government, the local government that granted the permit shall, at the expiration of the five (5) year period, review the permit, and upon a showing of good cause do either of the following:
(1) Extend the permit for one(1) year; or
(2) Terminate the permit, provided that nothing herein shall preclude local government from issuing Substantial Development Permits with a fixed termination date of less than five (5) years.

This is only an eight page permit and there were only five (5) conditions, so this condition would have been hard to miss with even a cursory review of the permit.

April 2, 2008. Geoduck lawsuit in the works? The attorneys for Taylor Shellfish, Gorden Derr, make mamouth document request from Pierce County related to geoduck aquaculture and the Taylor Foss geoduck farm. Tacoma News Tribune, Dave Wickert.

March 31, 2008. Shellfish industry surrogate resorts to namecalling in an article entitled "NIMBY Stupidity" on, an organization calling itself "the global leader in seafood industry news." In both the article and the recent Tacoma News Tribune article about the recent Pierce County ruling against Taylor Shellfish, it is clear that the issue is money. Good. We are glad that Taylor is finally calling a spade a spade rather than trying to sell us on the idea that installing 43,000 PVC pipes per tideland acre and then liquefying the entire area 3 feet in depth is going to help save Puget Sound. A shoreline property owner responds.

March 30, 2008. In a recent advertisement posted to the non-profit section of Craig's List, Taylor Shellfish seeks a new face to convince citizens, agencies and elected officials that Taylor should be able to turn as many tideland acres as possible to profit in South Puget Sound. Instead of Taylor standing on its past reputation, and people supporting Taylor because of that reputation, a PR firm, Gallatin Group, has been asked to recruit an internal marketing person to create a "reputation" and form what sounds like a shellfish army.

The job description includes "recruitment and training of local citizens to support shellfish aquaculture activities in Pierce, Thurston and Mason Counties. Responsibilities also include working with local regulatory agencies on shoreline management issues, working with local elected officials, attending community meetings and providing public presentations, organizing turn-out and letter writing campaigns for public hearings, monitoring media coverage and organizing op-ed and letters-to-the-editor campaigns, and leading educational site visits of Taylor operations."

The salary for this new position will apparently be offset by the $60,000 savings in labor costs resulting from implementation of Microsoft systems described in the Microsoft Business case study on Taylor Shellfish.

In this case study, Taylor claims to be the West Coast's largest producer of clams, oysters, mussels and geoducks on on over 12,000 acres worldwide. Yet according to a 6/29/07 list of Army Corp of Engineer "existing shellfish aquaculture" submissions obtained through a public records request from the Department of Ecology, Taylor Shellfish is claiming geoduck culture on 9,475 acres of existing commercial shellfish acreage in Puget Sound and Willapa Bay, including, for example, large tracks in Oakland Bay, Chapman Cove, and Bayshore/John's Creek in Mason County. This figure does not include any additional acreage for mussels, clams and oysters without geoduck culture. At the same time Taylor is claiming publicly they have a mere 150 acres of intertidal geoduck aquaculture.

What is the truth? The Department of Ecology claims the 6/29/07 document is only a "working document," yet we are still waiting for the revised figures of the ACOE geoduck submissions that will confirm and correlate to the 150 acres claimed by Taylor Shellfish. This request was made to the Department of Ecology at the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee meeting by the citizen representative during the November 2006 SARC meeting.

Statistics on ACOE submission claims for geoduck aquaculture.

March 28, 2008. Geoduck harvest suddenly in limbo. Pierce County Hearings Examiner rules against Taylor Shellfish in a Pierce County Administrative appeal. Taylor must obtain a substantial shoreline development for their 12 acre Foss geoduck farm on Case Inlet and their original five year permit has expired. Taylor says they will appeal because of the $15-20 million in geoducks growing on the farm. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon

Please note that most geoduck product is shipped live to the Asian market as a luxury food item. Read the 2004 economic study on the world wide geoduck market commission by the Washington state Department of Natural Resources. DNR is in the process of leasing up to 250 acres of state owned public tidelands to commercial geoduck interests over a 10 year period. Go to the DNR geoduck aquaculture website to view maps of public tidelands designated in 2006 and 2007 for DNR leases.

March 27, 2008. Scientists: Puget Sound species in decline as pollution increases.The Olympian, John Dodge. This article mentions the fact that South Puget Sound is "slow to flush." According to a Department of Ecology engineer, "it takes 56 days for South Sound to fill with a fresh supply of water." In the recent Pierce County hearing a Taylor Shellfish scientist stated that he "wouldn't agree at all" that Puget Sound is considered a low-flushing area and failed to make a distinction regarding "South Puget Sound," where almost all current shellfish aquaculture is located.

Dr. Jeffrey Fisher, who testified on behalf of Taylor Shellfish in the recent Pierce County hearing, reviewed the preliminary findings of British Columbia scientist, Dr. Chris Pearce, at the March 26, 2008 South Sound Symposium. Dr. Fisher incorrectly characterized Dr. Pearce's study, stating erroneously that there are NO IMPACTS to the "bigger questions of forage fish, culture practices, turbidity and natural distribution." Dr. Pearce stated in his 2007 testimony to the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture that "we haven't really looked at commercial-scale potential impact" and that "we need to conduct more research on potential impacts on nearby sensitive habitat, like eelgrass and kelp beds. Nobody has looked at this yet."

Additionally the shellfish industry jargon used to describe harvest methods as a garden hose loosening the sediment, is more accurately described by Dr. Pearce in his testimony: "They're harvested with these high-pressure water jets or stingers. They need to use these in order to liquefy the sand in order to pull up the adult clams. You simply can't grab hold of the siphon and pull them out without liquefying the sediment first." In testimony Dr. Pearce pointed to a photograph of a geoduck harvester and stated, "This shows the extraction process in the intertidal. You can see the fellow on the left there. He's almost waist-deep in sediment. He's using the high-powered water jet or stinger to liquefy the sediment and pull up the clams. It's a fairly disruptive process. You're liquefying the sediment down to a depth of a metre or more."

March 27, 2008. British Columbia subtidal geoduck farm application denied. The submission by Discovery Diving Ltd., for a geoduck clam sub-tidal facility proposed off Wilson Creek on the Sunshine Coast, was denied. Amongst other factors, the site was rejected due to the sensitive habitat designation of the area. From BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands bulletin.

March 26, 2008. Pierce County Hearing Examiner's Decision denies the Taylor Shellfish appeal. The decision affirms that the permit for the Foss geoduck farm has expired and that Taylor must obtain a substantial shoreline development permit for their geoduck farm every five years.

February 18, 2008. Canadian shellfish safety monitoring poor, report says. Information about regulations for shellfish safety in Washington State can be found on the Washington State Department of Health Shellfish and Water Protection website.

March 13, 2008. Sierra Club Weighs in on Geoducks. Shelton-Mason County Journal, John Cooper.

March 1, 2008. Sierra Club Article: Geoduck Action Plan. Discusses issues surrounding the use of public tidelands for commercial geoduck farming. Published in the Cascade Chapter Sierra Club Newsletter. Article written by Stan Moffet.

March 11, 2008. Example of Geoduck Aquaculture Lease submitted by Sarah Dzinbal, DNR to the SARC.

March 3, 2008. Limit aquaculture to 5% of R.I. waters, experts say. Fish Farmer Magazine, March 2008

March, 2008. Invasive Species: what we do. Marine invaders. This Nautre Conservancy study "confirms the role of aquaculture operations such as non-native fish and shellfish farming in marine invasions. Stricter, industry-wide control measures should be developed and enforcement strengthened to restrict intentional and accidental introductions of harmful invasive species."

February 28, 2008. New DNR Geoduck Aquaculture Webiste is live. DNR is now showing links to maps for both 2006 and 2007 geoduck lease sites. Fill out this DNR Opinion Survey and mail to DNR.

January 30, 2008. World Wildlife Fund releases 1/8/08 updated draft principles for creating standards for shellfish aquaculture in the US. Please make comment to Colin Brannen, World Wildlife Fund

Excerpt from Molluscan Dialog Discussion Document:
"There was discussion of frustration over the NIMBY issue again, particularly as many felt large coastal homes and related development issues were contributing much more significantly to the degradation of the local waterways through sewage, run-off, and habitat modification. It was suggested that such homeowners be required to show the impact of their house vs. the impact of a shellfish farm -- then it could be decided which use has more of a right to exist in an area."

We once again point out the hypocrisy of the shellfish industry. Peter Downey, geoduck grower and representative of Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association stated on September 10, 2007 to the Pierce County Council that 'the biggest threat to Puget Sound is not shellfish aquaculture--it's upland development.' Then he turns around and as a Jefferson County Planning Commissioner Downey votes to recommend approval of a huge new development in Brinnon on Hood Canal.

January 23, 2008. Task force to look at shoreline regulations Peninsula Gateway, Marques Hunter

January 22, 2008. Parties to the Appeal of Taylor Shellfish to the Pierce County Administrative Determination submit post-hearing briefs and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Hearing Examiner will rule in late February, 2008.

--Coalition to Preserve Puget Sound Habitat Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
--Coalition to Preserve Puget Sound Habitat Post Hearing Memorandum
--Pierce County Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
--Taylor Shellfish Post Hearing Brief and Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law.
--North Bay (Foss Family) Post Hearing Brief.

Called a "water jet" in the Geoduck Growers Environmental Codes of Practice, Taylor Shellfish now refers in their closing brief to the water jet as a "hose:" "Taylor employees make their way through a geoduck bed in rows, using a hose to loosen substrate around the geoduck and extract it from the tideland."

Taylor continues to claim in testimony that "the harvested area returns to a normal state within one to two tidal cycles after harvest", contradicting the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association paper, Geoduck Farming is Good for Washington State, that says "the beach recovers over a period of weeks to months depending on the time of year and location," as well as the Sea Grant Draft Effects of Geoduck Aquaculture on the Environment: A Synthesis of Current Knowledge that states "this method is unique to geoduck culture and no peer-reviewed papers have been published which examine these questions."

Taylor Shellfish Foss Farm--geoduck harvesters 'in the hole,' 8/14/07
Taylor Shellfish Foss Farm - geoduck harvesters 'in the hole.'

January 21, 2008. Taylor Shellfish Farms shares thoughts on aquaculture . Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald.

January 21, 2008. Brinnon Resort zoning Approved. Jefferson County commissioners have approved unanimously the master planned resort zoning for the 256-acre Brinnon Harbor designation and golf course. "What were the commissioners thinking when they approved this zoning request?" Olympia Peninsula Environmental News, Al Bergstein.

January 16, 2008. Letter from Case Inlet Shoreline Association Board Member to Tom Clingman about SARC process. Bill Trandum says Geoduck Grower BMP's are for the benefit of industry and do not add help to protect Puget Sound.

January 16, 2008. In Anderson Island versus geoducks, a point for the people. DNR says that the proposed geoduck lease site is not suitable after Anderson Island residents rally to oppose it. Tacoma News Tribune, Kathleen Merryman

January 7, 2008.Documents for the January 14, 2008 SARC meeting.
January 14, 2008 DRAFT Agenda
Shellfish Aquaculture BMP Worksheet
Outline of SARC meetings January-June, 2008

This agenda does not appear to address the primary land use issue: where should expanding shellfish aquaculture be sited and how much should be allowed. All the land use issues identified in the documents assume the operations will exist and just address mitigation. While mitigation is important, the threshold issue is choosing appropriate sites from a land use perspective as well as from an environmental perspective.

Public comments can be made on the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee Public Listserv or by writing directly to Tom Clingman, Department of Ecology

December 31, 2007.Peter Downey, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association representative, geoduck farmer and Jefferson County Commissioner, votes to recommend approval of a big new development in Brinnon. Evan Cael, Peninsula Daily News.

Our Comment: the shellfish industry is continually stating that upland development is the cause of all the problems in Puget Sound and that shellfish operations must fill up Puget Sound to mitigate for upland development. We would hope that Mr. Downey would have the courage of his convictions related to upland development.

December 15, 2007. Read the transcrips from the Pierce County Hearing in which Taylor Shellfish appealed the Pierce County Administrative determination that the permit for the Foss geoduck farm had expired. Taylor also argued that geoduck farming is not "development" and thus geoduck aquaculture does not require a substantial shoreline development permit under the Shoreline Management Act.
November 1, 2007 transcript
November 2, 2007 transcript
December 13, 2007 transcript
December 14, 2007 transcript

See also:
Taylor Shellfish Pre-hearing brief.
Taylor Shellfish Pre-hearing Expert Testimony Summaries.
Intervenors Coalition to Preserve Puget Sound Habitat Pre-hearing brief.
Intervenors North Bay Partners (Foss Family) Pre-hearing exhibit list.

November 15, 2007. The Association for Responsible Shellfish Farming, based in British Columbia, responds to Draft Goals and Objectives and Draft Principles, documents developed at the October 2007 World Wildlife Molluscan Dialog held at the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association Annual Conference in Oregon. We concur with the response and recommend that concerned parties write to Colin Brannen of the World Wildlife Fund. Email: Colin.Brannen@WWFUS.ORG or go to World Wildlife Molluscan Dialog website.

November 15, 2007. Shellfish industry is claiming over 10,600 acres of existing geoduck culture per Department of Ecology list of Army Corps NWP 48 Report Forms, dated 6/29/07. To the rest of us, industry is claiming that there are only 150 acres of existing geoduck culture, maintaining that 150 acres is so small an amount that it should not be regulated. Either the 150 acre claim is false, or the 10,600 acres is an overinflation in order to avoid individual ACOE permits, or both.

November 15, 2007. A letter from PCSGA to the Department of Ecology, dated 1/16/07 obtained through a public document request lays out the regulatory wishes of the shellfish industry. The letter states on page one "PCSGA believes that federal permits being developed for shellfish farming activities, together with the state approvals that are necessary before those permits can become effective, provide a vehicle for addressing all federal, state and local regulatory issues related to shellfish farming, so long as the process for issuing the state approvals allow for stakeholder participation in formulating appropriate and feasible regulatory conditions." Note that stakeholder participation envisioned by industry did not include citizen representation. The SARC process formulated by the 2007 Legislature did add citizen participation to the stakeholder process by adding two citizens to the committee, one who does not own a geoduck farm and one who does (as apparently insisted upon by the industry). See HB 2220.

November 14, 2007. DNR has removed website links to its 2006 geoduck aquaculture lease site maps and added the 2007 geoduck aquaculture lease site maps. We question why DNR does not have links to all of its leases so that the public has a clear understanding of the areas that DNR is targeting for geoduck operations. Note that the Shine Beach lease is in a documented herring spawning habitat. Many of the 2006 leases are in sand lance and smelt spawning area. Herring, sand lance and smelt are forage fish that are a critical prey species for salmon.

To comment about DNR geoduck leases, go to the DNR Geoduck Aquaculture website and fill out the opinion survey or write to Fran McNair, Aquatic Lands Steward,Email: Please send copies of your letters to

October 31, 2007. Trouble in Dutcher Cove. Neighbors band against proposed shellfish farm. Peninsula Gateway, Michael Colello.

October 26, 2007. Interim geoduck ordinance passes committee. Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald.

October 26, 2007. County Council adopts geoduck regulations. Industry opponents still see fight ahead. The Peninsula Gateway, Michael Colello.

October 16, 2007. Pierce County Council limits geoduck farms, No harvesting along some shores, and growers must pay $1 per tube. Geoduck farm proponents call Council members "NIMBY puppets." Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon.

October 16, 2007. Department of Natural Resources offers 2007 Geoduck Aquaculture lease bid requests for eight state-owned tideland parcels: 4 in Jefferson County, 3 in Mason County and 1 in Pierce County.

October 15, 2007. Interim geoduck regulations head for DOE. Pierce County Council approves interim regulations that restrict how commercial aquaculture may be practiced on local shorelines. Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald

October 5, 2007. The shellfish industry's answer to conflicts with shoreline communities in Pierce County: BRING IN THE FEDS! The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association rails against shoreline property owners while promoting federal money to expand shellfish aquaculture in Pierce County. PCSGA has long been lobbying in Washington DC for federal jurisdiction over permitting of shellfish aquaculture in Puget Sound. PGSCA newsletters for Mar/Apr 2006, Nov/Dec 2006 and Mar/Apr 2007 document lobbying efforts. To our knowledge, Rep. Brian Baird has never responded to any of the documentation we have sent to him or to information given to his staff related to citizen concerns about expansion of geoduck and other shellfish aquaculture.

October 8, 2007. Washington Sea Grant Shellfish Aquaculture Workshop presentations. September 13/14, 2007

September 24, 2007. Concerned citizens write letter regarding Scallop farm in Baynes Sound, BC. The organization was founded by a group of former DFO employees with expertise in fisheries science, biology, engineering and management who reside in the community of Bowser. "Our group is extremely concerned with the lack of scientific study, socio-economic consideration, and public input when considering some of the largest aquaculture development proposals in the history of British Columbia."

September 19, 2007. Recent Shorelines Hearings Board Decisions Require Consideration of Cumulative Impacts. Laura Fandino, Martin Law Group.

September 12, 2007. Geoduck rules head back to county. Geoduck farming regulations voted down by the Pierce County Council last month were revived and strengthened by a council committee Monday. Peninsula Gateway, Michael Colello.

September 11, 2007. Vote gives geoduck rules new life. A proposal to regulate geoduck farming along Pierce County shorelines was revived and reinforced Monday with the unanimous backing of a County Council committee. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon

Our comment: Representative of the Pacific Shellfish Growers Association, Peter Downey, who lives in Jefferson County, stated in the hearing that "The biggest threat to Puget Sound is not shellfish aquaculture. It's upland development." This boiler plate argument changes the subject away from impacts of expanding shellfish aquacultion on habitat and shoreline neighborhoods. The shellfish industry Representative in SARC introduced this subject in the August 24, 2007 SARC meeting. However, it was reported to us that during the August 8, 2007 Pierce County Hearing, an industry science spokesperson argued against additional regulations for docks and piers (upland development) in Pierce County. Defeating the docks and piers regulations at that hearing also defeated the geoduck regulations at that time because they were tied together. The latest hearing on September 10, 2007, separates these two issues.

September 1, 2007. Aquaculture's future still unsettled; Pierce County interim regulations halted. Key Peninsual News, Chris Fitzgerald.

Our comment: the letter referred to in the article from Jim Gibbons contained both vicious and comically inaccurate personal attacks against the SARC citizen members as well as Representative Lantz. In a letter of apology, executive director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA), Robin Downey, describes Mr. Gibbons as simply one individual not representing the industry. However, Mr. Gibbons is not simply one individual. He is the president of one of the largest shellfish aquaculture companies in Puget Sound (Seattle Shellfish), he a 2005-2007 board member of PCSGA, and an employee of his company is on the Pacific Shellfish Institute Board.

August 29, 2007. Geoduck subtidal aquaculture tenure application rejected near Quadra Island, British Columbia. BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.

August 26, 2007. Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee Task Timeline Chart. Note that by 11/5/07 Ecology expects to have a draft for "interim regulatory improvement recommendations and findings" for the 12/1/07 Legislative Report. The report "shall provide interim recommendations and finding for integrating local, state and federal regulations for shellfish aquaculture. The system shall be efficient both for the regulators and the regulated. (A final report is due in 2008)."

August 26, 2007. Application in for 26 acre shellfish farm with 21 acres in geoduck in Dutcher Cove, Pierce County. The parcel includes the entire entrance to the cove, where some residents have resided for 50 to 100 years.

Dutcher Cove, Eagle at Low Tide, 2007

Dutcher Cove eagle at low tide.

August 24, 2007. At the first SARC meeting (July 27, 2007), the industry member was allowed to give a presentation in which she advocated for the environmental benefits of shellfish farming. She objected to allowing the citizen members to give a presentation of their viewpoints. At the second SARC meeting, the member representing Protect Our Shoreline, a citizen shoreline group, was allowed to give the POS Powerpoint presentation. POS was heavily pressured by the Department of Ecology prior to the presentation both by phone and email to remove any mention of environmental concerns. The environmental concerns were left in the presentation, which was then critized by the industry member as being inappropriate and unfactual. The industry SARC member continues to make critical comments of the Protect Our Shoreline presentation materials, yet has not once offered any specific objection.

August 22, 2007. Geoduck, dock regs back to drawing board in Dutcher Cove, Pierce County. The Peninsula Gateway, Michael Colello

August 22, 2007. Taylor Shellfish appeal to the Pierce County Administrative Determination that the substantial shoreline development permit for the "Foss Farm" on Case Inlet has expired. One of their arguments is that they don't need a substantial shoreline development permit in the first place. This legal strategy was threatened in a previous letter to the County.

August 21, 2007. County Council to revisit proposed geoduck limits. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon

August 15, 2007. Geoduck regs downed by dock concerns. County council likely to revisit the issue, councilman says. Peninsula Gateway, Michael Colello.

August 7, 2007. Response to Taylor Shellfish from Pierce County states that the Foss permit for geoduck farming has expired and Taylor must apply for a new substantial shoreline development permit for the project.

Replanted Foss geoduck farm, Case Inlet, 2007

Replanted Foss geoduck farm, Case Inlet.

August 8, 2007. County rejects geoduck rule. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon.

August 8, 2007. This June 6, 2007 letter from Buck Gordon, the shellfish attorneys, to Pierce County, gives insight into what happened in Pierce County.

August 7, 2007. Proposed Pierce County Master Shoreline Program interim regulations for geoduck aquaculture, worked on for nearly a year, were voted down by the Pierce County Council along with new dock regulations. Terry Lee was the lone desenter. The May 4, 2007 letter from the shellfish attorneys, had threatened a lawsuit if the interim regulations were passed before the final report of HB 2220.

August 2, 2007. Regional directors decry geoduck farms. Powell River Peak, Jonathan Hutchings, British Columbia.

New commercial geoduck farm, Pickering Passage

New geoduck farm without Army Corps permit.

August 1, 2007. New commercial geoduck farm in Pickering Passage, planted July, 2007. New shellfish aquaculture installations are not currently required to get a shoreline permit from Mason County, but are required to get an Army Corps permit. This one apparently did not do so.

Commercial geoduck farm on Green Cove

Geoduck farm on Green Cove.

July 26, 2007. Shellfish Aquaculture is listed as a 'stressor' for Green Cove in the Chinook & Bull Trout Recovery Approach for the South Puget Sound Nearshore.

July 26, 2007. Geoduck farms draw opposition. Proposed geoduck farms in the Powell River area are raising concerns with residents and the province's official opposition. The Powell River Peak, British Columbia, Laura Walz, Peak Editor

July 25, 2007. Court Ruling Opens Up Aquaculture to Anyone, Regardless of Ownership of Abutting Shorelands. Conflicts between waterfront property owners and commercial aquaculture developers have recently heated up with the anticipated leasing by DNR of up to 250 acres of state-owned land for geoduck cultivation in Puget Sound waters. Echo Bay Community Ass’n clarified DNR’s authority to lease state-owned bedlands to any person for aquaculture uses, and broadly defines aquaculture to include herring holding pens. The case will likely be of interest to a multitude of interests including shoreline property owners, recreational shoreline users, environmental groups, developers and regulators, affected by offshore uses in Puget Sound. Laura Fandino, Martin Law Group

July 21, 2007. Another eagle caught in geoduck farm net. Eagle family marks summer days. Article includes a description of an eagle caught in a commercial geoduck farm net on Eld Inlet, The Olympian, John Dodge

July 20, 2007. DNR informs Dickenson Point residents by letter on May 10, 2007 that it has accepted an offer from a commercial geoduck grower to farm a state-owned tideland parcel in their shoreline neighborhood. When confronted by POS about their inconsistent statements, DNR justifies their abandonment of their own criteria (high bank) for their lease by stating in a letter to POS, dated July 19, 2007, they have consulted with the residents. Apparently residents were not consulted ahead of time, but by a PR promotional after the bid was already accepted. We consider this an unscrupulous business practice.

July 18, 2007. Protect Our Shoreline letter from attorneys David Bricklin and Claudia Newman to Thurston County Commissioners, refuting the Attorney General's opinion related to substantial shoreline development permits for geoduck aquaculture and urging Thurston County to establish a permitting process for these operations.
1. Powerpoint showing areas of geoduck aquaculture throughout Thurston County.
2. Data Gap Analysis from Amy Leitman, Dr. Megan Dethier and Dr. Bill Mathews.
3. The Washington State Geoduck Growers Environmental Codes of Practice, many of which are cited in the letter.

July 17, 2007. Patrick Townsend, President of Protect Our Shoreline, has been appointed as a member of the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee. The first meeting of the committee is scheduled for July 23, 2007. Read July 23, 2007 Agenda and other documentation. Note that industry has been given a large segment of time for a presentation, while citizen and environmental groups have been given none. We have commented on this to Department of Ecology, but as of this date have not received a response.

July 15, 2007. Muddy mess raises awareness, money for water-quality issues.Bill Dewey of Taylor Shellfish, "a major local shellfish producer with about $40 million in annual revenue" says that Taylor has "...recently acquired five shellfish farms in neighboring British Columbia...We don't feel there's enough certainty in the future water quality in the Puget Sound area." Seattle Times, Angel Gonzales. (Protect Our Shoreline supports the advice of Mr. Dewey to pick up your dog poop, maintain your septic system and don't use feritilizers on your lawn, but wonders at the confusion caused by the shellfish industry when they claim that their shellfish "clean the water" but that they are moving to Canada because Puget Sound water is not clean enough.)

Geoduck farm, Hammersley Inlet
Click on photo to enlarge
Kiddie pools used for geoduck seed on Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm, Hammersley Inlet Kiddie pools used for geoduck seed on Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm, Hammersley Inlet

June 15, 2007. Geoduck aquaculture: where are we headed?. Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald

June 15, 2007. If PVC pipe and heavy duty Vexar pastic fencing and oyster bags are not enough, add plastic kiddie pools observed at a Taylor Shellfish geoduck operation near the mouth of Hammersley Inlet in Mason County. There are several rows of these pools apparently used for geoduck seed--another example of the "new technology" of the shellfish industry and the use of plastics to cover the beaches in Puget Sound.

June 5, 2007. Panel backs new geoduck rules. Activity in Pierce County would be limited to daylight, weekday hours if proposal passes. The Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon.

June 1, 2007. In Mayo Cove, battle lines drawn over giant clams. The fight over geoduck clam farms pits neighbor against neighbor on Key Peninsula. Pierce County has stalled the processing of permit requests by shellfish growers, and officials are proposing more regulation. The Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon.

May 31, 2007. Fish Farm Documents Show Politics Trump Science, Say Critics. BC Fisheries Minister van Dongen: ‘We need to get moving’ Deleted facts flagged as 'Technically correct, but politically problematic.' Note that this article includes shellfish aquaculture as needing to be politically managed. The Tyee, Tom Barrett.

May 9, 2007. Lakebay geoduck farm piques profits, concerns. The Peninsula Gateway, Michael Colello.

May 9, 2007. Ordinance may tighten geoduck restrictions. The Peninsula Gateway, Michael Colello.

May 17, 2007. Letter from shellfish grower attorney threatens to sue Pierce County because growers do not want interim regulations. Also Peter Downey states that "shellfish aquaculture is as good or better than eelgrass in creating forage fish habitat." The Department of Ecology website states that "damage to eelgrass affects whole populations of fish, including threatened salmon, waterfowl, shellfish, and other animals, as well as the stability of our shorelines." A study on geoducks and eelgrass by Jennifer Ruesink, UW, "observed direct negative effects of disturbance and of geoducks on eelgrass density...and plots with geoducks have lower eelgrass densities than do those without. On the other hand, we have seen little evidence of indirect positive effects of geoducks."

May 17, 2007. Geoduck Farms Duck Permits. Thurston County flip-flops on substantial shoreline development permits for geoduck farms. Our comment: The most important item in this article is the statement by Diane Cooper, Taylor Shellfish, who says that "the shellfish industry is putting its energy into crafting the new geoduck-farming guidelines with Ecology." Compare this to the statements in the letters from the shellfish attorneys, Buck Gordon, just below.

May 14, 2007. Document Request from Thurston County shows the attitude of the shellfish industry: Letter from Buck Gordon to Attorney General, 10/25/06, states that "any guidance issued by Ecology should...emphasize the need to protect geoduck farming, and all shellfish aquaculture, from conflicting commercial, residential and recreational uses."

Letter from Buck Gordon to Attorney General, 11/21/06, states that "...geoduck farming, as a branch of agriculture, is exempt from the definition of substantial development."

May 8, 2007. Geoduck Farm Fight, Round 2. Geoduck farming dispute aired before the Pierce County Council. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon

April 27, 2007. Governor Gregoire signs HB 2220. Last minute compromises allow HB 2220, sponsored by Rep. Pat Lantz, to pass nearly unanimously. The Senate was forced to modify their good amendments by the House: 1) the bill does not prohibit additional leasing of state-owned land for geoduck farming but it reduces from 25 to 15 the number of acres per year that can be leased by DNR; 2) the bill still requires geoduck operators to register with Department of Fish and Wildlife. 3) the requirement for operators to mark all their gear with their registration number was removed; 4) the requirement for notification of geoduck activity to abutting landowner was reduced; 5) the bill still funds science studies.

April 12, 2007. Senate Floor Debate on HB 2220. Passed with Senate Natural Resources Committee Amendment by a vote of 37 to 11 with 1 excused.

April 11, 2007. The battle of the bi-valves. Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish spokesperson, is quoted in reference to geoduck farms: "To some waterfront property owners this is not an attractive view. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To growers, this is attractive." The Gateway, Michael Colello, 4/11/07.

Taylor Shellfish Farm, Case Inlet

Taylor Shellfish Geoduck Farm, Case Inlet

April 1, 2007. Key Penninsula News Sponsors Geoduck Forum. The public forum will be held on Thursday, April 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Key Peninsula Civic Center.

March 29, 2007. Audio of Senate Natural Resources Committee Work Session on HB 2220 which passed with amendments. Portion on HB 2220 starts about 1/3 way along the audio bar.

March 29, 2007. Shark disappearance threatens sea life: Report, a cautionary tale about what happens when humans interfere with the ecological balance in nature. The Toronto Star.

March 15, 2007. Tide begins to turn for unregulated aquaculture Legislature, county council, industry, opposition square up . Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald

March 7, 2007. Geoduck farming faces opposition. Tribal communities in British Columbia call for revoking permits for subtidal geoduck farming. The Power River Peak, Laura Walz, Peak Editor.

March 12, 2007. Toxins on the Half Shell. Simon Fraser Univsersity video about research related to accumulation of heavy metal cadmium in oysters. Does cadmium consumption override the benefits of eating oysters for humans?

March 9, 2007. New industry talking point: shellfish must be harvested to reduce nutrient load in Puget Sound--a convoluted argument. Justin Taylor, of Taylor Shellfish says in The Olympian, March 7, 2007, "As long as you harvest them, shellfish are part of the solution." The argument appears to be that young growing geoducks assimilate more nutrients than older ones and they soak nutrients up like a sponge or a vacume cleaner and somehow don't poop, so harvesting them gets rid of what they've taken in. Industry apparently needs a reason to sell "clear-cutting" of native geoducks to the public and put tidelands into a cycle of agricultural production.

The irony is that shellfish do soak up and sequester in their bodies contaminants such as cadmium and toxins such as Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) which makes eating them sometimes dangerous for human health. Another irony is that the shellfish industry needs nutrients as food for their shellfish, as noted in this Pacific Shellfish Institute document prepared for DNR.

March 7, 2007. Geoduck 'compromise' not much of one Tacoma News Tribune editorial.

March 6, 2007. Nutrient levels a growing worry for shellfish industry "Too much shellfish poop leaves too much nitrogen in the water, producing way too much phytoplankton for the bivalves to ingest” says APHETI member Anita Woodnut, The Olympian, John Dodge

March 2, 2007. Trade-off on geoduck farms? Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon

February 28, 2007. HB 5076-S voted out of committee. This bill concerns restrictions on "nuisance lawsuits" related to agricultural operations. The substitute bill allows that "Shellfish aquaculture activities are granted protection under the Washington Right to Farm Act." It appears that there was no public comment on the substitute bill that contains the new language related to shellfish aquaculture.

This bill states that "The legislature further finds that farm operations must be able to adopt new technologies and diversify into new crops and products if the agricultural industry is to survive and agricultural lands are to be conserved." As relates to the shellfish industry this could diminish regulation and allow expansion of new technologies into Puget Sound. To understand the full extent of the plans of the shellfish aquaculture industry see: Shellfish Goals and Priorities 2015.

This bill is extremely concerning to those interested in protecting Puget Sound, since shellfish aquaculture is not being displaced by other uses, but is displacing other traditional uses of our tidelands and will seriously impact the nearshore habitat. Documents from the shellfish industry clearly demonstrate that the shellfish growers want to turn all of Puget Sound into a very large farm. Additionally, this bill directly contradicts the recent Pierce County Hearings Examiner decision to place restrictions on hours and days of operations because the noisy operations take place primarily in residential shoreline neighborhoods.

February 27, 2007. HB 2220 heard before Select Committee for Puget Sound. Final draft of 1547/1728 compromise bill. We opposed this bill in hearing today after having 15 minues to review it before the hearing. Industry is unwilling to compromise on the number of acres of state-owned land to be leased for geoduck farming. We feel a prohibition on leasing of state-owned aquatic land is warranted. This bill keeps the status quo at 25 acres of aquatic intertidal land available for lease per year until 2014. It does not prohibit subtidal geoduck aquaculture on state-owned aquatic lands at all. 25 intertidal acres may not sound like much, but it represents thousands of linear feet along a narrow tidal band. Property owners, who do not own the land and therefore have no vested financial interest in this activity, will be severely impacted. There are other troubling changes made to the previous draft version.

Marine debris, Quadra Island, BC

Pile of netting washed up on British Columbia beach after January storms. Removed by shellfish industry after being shown on TV. Comments from citizen: Turns out there are "experimental" farms off a nearby island that no-one knew about. So much for "public consultation." This is only part of the debris on the Open Bay beaches - we have some in our cove but it so wrapped around logs it cannot be removed."

February 20, 2007 (Posted). Letter from NRDC, Sierra Club, Earth Justice and other environmental groups regarding the Army Corps NWP D permit. This document includes the cover letter and the excerpt from the detail document related specifically to the NWP D Shellfish Aquaculture.

February 18, 2007 (Posted). Accepted application to DNR for lease of state-owned tidelands called 'Herron Lake' for geoduck aquaculture . Note in section 5.0 that applicant intends to change the character of the beach by removing rocks and using a vehicle on the beach. This type of activity has also been observed on aquaculture operations in Totten Inlet.

February 17, 2007 (Posted). Washington Council of Trout Unlimited Aquaculture Management Resolution. Calls for the 'precautionary principle' in relation to aquaculture operations in Washington State. Dated November 2006.

February 15, 2007 (Posted). Vashon-Maury Island Community Council Resolution. Calls for moratorium on expansion of shellfish aquaculture until a detailed enviornmental impact study is completed. Dated November 20, 2006.

February 14, 2007. KP shorelines may see landscape change. Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald.

February 14, 2007. Army Corps of Engineers Draft Decision for Nation Wide Permit D for Shellfish Aquaculture.

February 8, 2007. Aquaculture concerns reach legislative level Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald

February 7, 2007. Audio of February 2, 2007 hearing before the House Select Committee on Puget Sound for HB 1547 and HB 1728.

February 7, 2007. Dead zone in Gallagher Cove under mussel rafts. Photos and dive information. Shows white bacterial mat that is the same type of bacteria, Beggiatoa, that grows in dead zones in Hood Canal.

February 5, 2007. View examples of raft and longline aquaculture in British Columbia. Submission on Behalf of the Association for Responsible Shellfish Farming October 18, 2006 to the LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA 38th Parliament, First Session Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture.

February 2, 2007. Geoduck growers and foes face off in Olympia, article about legislative hearing for HB 1547 and HB 1728 , Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon.

January 25, 2007. HB 1728: Geoduck bill from Rep. Eickmeyer, 35th District and (apparently) the shellfish industry. Bill contains some of the same language related to geoduck science studies as HB 1547 but seeks to create a new regulatory committee related to all shellfish aquaculture in Washington. Does not include citizen groups in the regulatory process. Contains language that includes the new talking points of the shellfish industry. SB 5654: Senate Companion Bill. According to our sources, these bills are the work of a Taylor Shellfish lobbyist.

January 24, 2007. Residents clam up on geoduck opposition , British Columbia, PeakOnline, Laura Walt, Peak Editor.

January 22, 2007. HB 1547: Geoduck bill from Rep. Pat Lantz, 26th District. Primary intent of the bill is to require science studies related to geoduck aquaculture before allowing DNR to lease additional state-owned land for geoduck aquaculture.

January 19, 2007. Decision on Reconsideration of Pierce County Geoduck Ruling by the Pierce County Hearings Examiner. Basically only minor wording changes allowed.

January 17, 2007. B.C. OKs first geoduck farm. Province sees clams as 'economic driver'; critics say they're an environmental risk. Times Colonist, BC, Jeff Rud.

January 8, 2007. More Geoduck Nets, Cortes Island Tideline, British Columbia, January 8, 2007.

Geoduck barge anchored in Zangle Cove, 12/6/06 to current date.

Geoduck barge anchored in Zangle Cove from 12/6/06 to 1/13/07 and sporadically to current date. Moved to marina during non-active work periods since 1/13/07 after complaint to DNR. Current activity is removing PVC pipes. Do we want the coves of Puget Sound to become parking places for geoduck barges? Proliferation of these activities is increasing. Washington State Department of Natural Resources has accepted bids for its pilot project to lease state owned tidal lands for these operations. DNR also indicates on their Geoduck Aquaculture site that they may consider leasing of state-owned subtidal lands for aquaculture as early as 2008.

January 1, 2007. State appeal sought in Pierce County geoduck permit decision., Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald.

December 1, 2006. Letter from David Mann, Attorney, to Thurston County regarding Beggiatoa bacteria growing under Taylor Shellfish mussel rafts in Gallagher Cove, Totten Inlet. Beggiatoa is the bacteria found growing in large mats in the "dead zones" of Hood Canal and is indicative of hydrogen sulfide. Taylor Shellfish has not produced the environmental impact statement mandated by the Thurston County Hearings Examiner in 1999 for additional mussel rafts in Totten Inlet. Meanwhile, Taylor is selling the non-native Mediterranean mussels to the public all over Puget Sound. The Mediterranean mussel is #62 in the top 100 invasive species list of the Conservation Science Institute.

December 2006. Sound Health, Sound Future. The Puget Sound Partnership sends recommendations to the governor for protection and restoration of Puget Sound.

December 6, 2006. Expanded geoduck farm, with a catch. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon.

December 1, 2006. Opposition to geoduck applications grows. Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald.

December 1, 2006. Pacific Shellfish Institute Goals and Priorities 2015.

November 30, 2006. Pierce County Hearings Examiner imposes conditions on Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm applications.

November 20, 2006. Too little is known about geoduck farming. Tacoma News Tribune, Editorial

November 22, 2006. Legislator wants geoduck farming study. Tacoma News Tribune, Susan Gordon

November 1, 2006. Geoduck controversy continues unabated. Key Peninsula News, Chris Fitzgerald

October 13, 2006. Geoduck farming leads to controversy. Stolen Moments, Environmental Weblog.

September 22, 2006. Asian appetite for state's farm-raised geoducks raises environmental questions. Puget Sound Business Journal.

September 20, 2006. People for Puget Sound releases the People for Puget Sound Policy on Geoduck Intertidal Farming .

September 11, 2006. Geoduck growers' hopes stuck in permit process. Neighbors contend farms interfere with recreation and environment. The Olympian, John Dodge

September 6, 2006. Invasive tunicates on Taylor Shellfish mussel rafts in Gallagher Cove, Totten Inlet. USGS website. This is only one of the many concerns about the expansion of aquaculture in Puget Sound. There is no evidence that Taylor is addressing this problem, which was highlighted in the Dirty Jobs segment on Taylor's mussel operation in Gallagher Cove.

Invasive tunicates growing on mussel rafts in Gallagher Cove

August 18, 2006. Received a copy of the Taylor Shellfish Programmatic Shoreline Permit Application for all of Thurston County tidelands.

August 14, 2006. Trapped eagle stokes sides of geoduck fight. Neighbors contend farms interfere with recreation and environment. The Olympian, Diane Huber

August 11, 2006. Fran McNair, DNR Aquatic Land Steward, responds to our letter dated August 4, 2006 requesting that DNR stop the leasing of State owned tidal lands for geoduck farming until a programmatic environmental impact study on intertidal geoduck farming is conducted.

August 10, 2006. Received photos of juvenile bald eagle caught in net on geoduck farm on Harstene Island. It was rescued by boaters.

Juvenile bald eagle caught in geoduck net on Harstene Island

Quote from letter accompanying these photos: "How can this be possible for anyone to build a trap like this under an eagle nest? Are there no state agencies that regulate these projects? I have noticed that when the tide is in and the net floats up a bit, small fish get trapped under the net to provide a tempting new bait for eagles and others at every low tide. It is unlikely an eagle could free itself from a net like that. That eagle would have drowned in another two hours."

Juvenile bald eagle caught in geoduck net on Harstene Island

Rescue by boaters.

Juvenile bald eagle exhausted after rescue

Exhausted eagle after rescue.

Geoduck net on the Harstene Island tideland Geoduck net on the Harstene Island tideland

Huge net over geoduck farm called a "predator exclusion device." Click to enlarge.

August 6, 2006. The Lorenz Road geoduck dilemma: One family's solution, one community's growing concern. Peninsula Key News, Chris Fitzgerald

Pending application for Geoduck operation on Mayo Cove

Taylor Shellfish spokesperson Bill Dewey says in the Olympian article, June 19, 2006: "We try to avoid the firefights by looking for areas without multiple use," he said. "But those areas are getting harder and harder to find." This property on Mayo Cove is directly across a narrow waterway from Penrose Point State Park.


Geoduck and Oyster operations on Totten Inlet tideland

Geoduck and oyster operations on Totten Inlet.

August 6, 2006. Articles about the State of Puget Sound.

-- Puget Sound's Future in Peril John Dodge and Chester Allen
-- Partnership hopes to jump-start recovery efforts John Dodge
-- People need to get passionate about Puget Sound's cleanup, Gregoire says John Dodge
-- Five Questions about Puget Sound's Health, Future John Dodge
--A healthy Sound also keeps the area's economic engine alive
--History of Puget Sound Cleanup
--From glaciers to today: How Puget Sound came into existence

July 20, 2006. Thurston County sends letter to Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association regarding conditional release of stop work orders on geoduck operations on Zangle Cove and new shoreline permitting requirements.

July 17, 2006. Geoduck farms might harm shorelines Big clams, bigger questions. Tacoma News Tribune, Stan Cummings 7/17/06

July 14, 2006. NEW ACTIVITY IN ZANGLE COVE. Barge anchored in Zangle Cove in front of 3-year old geoduck planting by geoduck operator.

Barge anchored off 3-year old geoduck operation

July 13, 2006. THURSTON COUNTY BOWS TO PRESSURE FROM SHELLFISH INDUSTRY. Thurston County Planners lift cease and desist orders on Zangle Cove geoduck operations on condition that property owners apply for substantial shoreline development permits in 30 days.

July 11, 2006. Geoduck Harvest in Totten Inlet on residential beach. Geoduck and Oyster operations stacked on the same tidal area.

Geoduck harvest on Totten Inlet on residential beach

July 6, 2006. ARTICLE FROM THE TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE. Homeowners, environmentalists oppose geoduck farming. This article was picked up by the Associated Press and made it into the Olympian, Seattle PI, TriCity Herald, Register Guard in Eugene, OR.

June 27, 2006. Geoduck farm on Totten Inlet. Oyster bags are on higher elevation of the tideland. This is on a residential shoreline. Is this industrial zone on the tidelands in Totten Inlet a template for the rest of Puget Sound?

Geoduck and oyster farms on Totten Inlet June 27, 2006.

June 27, 2006. Miles of Totten Inlet tidelands are covered with plastic mesh oyster bags, huge nets (in the background) and geoduck farms on residential shorelines. Is this the future for all of Puget Sound?

Oyster bags on Totten Inlet June 27, 2006.

June 26, 2006. Cease and Desist orders delivered to property owners engaged in lease tidelands for geoduck farming by Thurston County enforcement.

June 24, 2006. New farm being planted in foreground. Year-old farm on the far shore on Zangle Cove

New and older farms in Zangle Cove on June 24, 2006.

June 23, 2006. Geoduck operator begins planting of un-permitted new farm on Zangle Cove.

Un-permitted geoduck planting in Zangle Cove, June 23, 2006

June 22, 2006. Geoduck operator brings in a barge to Zangle Cove to begin planting a new geoduck farm. Claims he is exempt from substantial shoreline development permit process.

Geoduck barge in Zangle Cove, June 22, 2006

June 20, 2006. Citizens demand cease and desist order on geoduck operations in Zangle Cove.

June 19, 2006. ARTICLE IN THE OLYMPIAN. Booming Geoduck Farms Move Closer to Shore, an article about geoduck farming by John Dodge.

OUR COMMENT: The most important thing in this article is that Thurston County has acknowledged that substantial development permits are now required for geoduck farming in "areas that have not previously been used to grow shellfish commercially." We have been told by Roger Giebelhaus, Thurston County Planner, that this includes all the farms currently in existence in Zangle Cove.

Also in this article Robin Downey, executive director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association states that: "A case can be made that geoduck farming does more to improve nearshore water quality and habitat than harm it...A mature geoduck filters up to 31 gallons of water per day, removing nutrients that promote algae blooms that rob the water of oxygen vital to marine life...And the feces from geoducks helps feed the sea grasses that are a critical component of the nearshore habitat.."

OUR COMMENT: A case can be made that at harvest one acre of geoduck biomass is equivalent to over 125 cows on an acre of pasture with the associated consumption of available food sources and release of animal waste.

Read Local Geoduck Farming May Pose Environmental Threat from Citizens for Healthy Bay, June 2006 and Effects of Concentrated Geoduck Farming by Mal Blair of McCormick Creek (Henderson Bay) about the potential effects of geoduck farming.

A case can be made that PVC pipes that lodge in the bottom of the Sound (which has happened in Henderson Bay near Gig Harbor) create new habitat for marine animals such as octopus--an event that changes the ecological balance of predator/prey in the Sound.

130,500 geoducks are planted into 43,500 PVC pipes per acre of tideland, and the shellfish industry is trying to tell us this is good for the habitat of Puget Sound

PVC pipe with netting from geoduck farm in Zangle Cove 2006

June 18, 2006. Geoduck farm debris in the Zangle Cove estuary. There are no marks to identify the owner of this debris, however we can assume it came from the nearby geoduck farm about 1/4 mile from this location. The pipe is 12 inches long with a diameter of 4 inches.

PVC pipe with netting from geoduck farm in Zangle Cove 2006

May 13, 2006.Approximately 43,500 PVC pipes are planted per acre of tideland. This one became dislodged from the farm and because it was filled with sand, it did not float away but became lodged in the sediment outside of the farm.

PVC pipe from geoduck farm lodge in the sand.  May 2006.

Citizens for Protection of Zangle Cove

© All Rights Reserved 2006 Protect Our Shoreline.