Another great photo from Bruce Kerwin.
Governor Inslee moves forward on more aquaculture support without spending any more money. Locally, we support the efforts to restore Olympia Oysters, and the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee is doing so in Discovery Bay. The MRC also support a variety of shellfish growers, and are happy that the Tribes are able to make good money selling Geoducks to China.
However, the article is accurate in that environmentalists and shoreline homeowners are very concerned over the State’s willingness to turn entire bays in the South Sound into shellfish farms, despite the fact that these beds are on beaches right in front of homes and will never really be allowed to go back to a natural state, if that’s even possible. It is important to understand that aquaculture rights were established as a priority of shoreline land use when the State was founded. The shellfish industry has legal right to harvest on almost all shores below extreme low tide, based on a reading of state statute RCW 79.96.010 (of course the State leases the land first), and seems willing to take as much as it can to do so, regardless of the opinions of the homeowners who’s “backyard” they are farming, or concerns of environmentalists. (this is a clarification of an earlier version of this article)
The harvesting often is late at night in the winter, and noisy enough to disrupt homeowners. Large scale netting of the beach to protect the shellfish from predators leads to birds being caught in nets, and the inability of shoreline homeowners to use their beaches. Real estate agents rarely seem to warn prospective buyers of the issue. Lawsuits to reign in the growers expansion seem to be rarely successful. The industry is heavily regulated, and the growers need to get a variety of permits to set up a farm. Some recent Shoreline Master Plans have attempted to put some limits on shellfish growers, with little success.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday renewed the state’s commitment to protecting Washington’s lucrative shellfish resources. Inslee joined federal, tribal and other leaders at the National Fish & Oyster Co. in Olympia to launch the second phase of the Washington Shellfish Initiative, which former Gov. Chris Gregoire initiated in 2011. The state, working with many partners including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will take new steps to improve water quality, restore native shellfish such as Olympia oysters, improve the permitting process for shellfish-growers and promote ways to address how ocean acidification is affecting shellfish. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)
A good short review of it is here: http://www.deepseanews.com/2015/11/from-the-top-shelf/
In this captivating book, artist and avid beachcomber Josie Iselin celebrates the unexpected beauty of seaweed, an often overlooked but fundamental aspect of ocean life. Produced on a flatbed scanner, Iselin’s vibrant portraits of ocean flora reveal the exquisite color and extraordinary forms of more than two hundred specimens gathered from tidal pools along the California and Maine coasts. Her engaging text, which accompanies the images, blends personal observation and philosophical musings with scientific fact. Like her previous books, An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed is a poetic and compelling tribute to the natural world and the wonder it evokes.
A deceased yearling humpback whale was found on a remote beach just north of the entrance to Gig Harbor in south Puget Sound on Friday December 18th. She was towed and to a location and examined by Cascadia Research Collective and MaST. “…While the cause of death was not certain, it was in poor nutritional condition, with thin, dry blubber and little food in the stomach and also a significant number of parasites in the intestines and these may all have contributed to its’ death…”
You can see photos and full preliminary report on Cascadia Research Collective Facebook page
and read more in The News Tribune article.
Overall we end 2015 celebrating the birth and lives of the 8 new calves born to the southern residents in the past 12 months, the presence of a fin whale in the inland waters of the Salish Sea, and numerous humpbacks who appear to be moving back home to their ancestral home in Puget Sound.
Another gem from Bruce Kerwin of Bainbridge Island. Juvenile Puget Sound King Crab at Point Hudson (eventually the white cap will disappear and he will grow to more than 4 times its current size) – Port Townsend, WA;
Some of the marbled murrelet habitat is in western Jefferson County.
The state Department of Natural Resources is reviewing conservation plan options for the marbled murrelet, a seabird that is found along the state’s coast, including several bays on Skagit County’s shoreline. The state agency worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to draft five strategies to conserve the bird’s habitat. The options would protect between 594,000 and 734,000 acres of land managed by Natural Resources. The marbled murrelet is considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act, meaning it is likely to become endangered. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)