JOURNAL OF OPINION: A geoduck is not the most pleasing creature to behold. Even so, the aesthetics of commercial harvesting of Claims about a clam .- the world's largest burrowing clam have less to do with a comely form than with aquaculture techniques Getting the goods on the geoduck is proving to be a daunting task, with the state funding a flurry ofstudies that can make an otherwise unblemished beach look that revolve around culti vation of the world's largest like a plumber's paradise. Geoduck farmers will plant burrowing clam. What does it do to the sediment? Will a multitude of geoduck on a given beach and then the sand dollar be dislodged? How much turbulence is enshrine each one in a pipe as a way of protecting the tolerable? young clams against predators. The turbulence under study is measured by the size Taylor Shellfish and other companies with aninterest of the grains of sand kicked up by the rank and file of in the aquaculture industry funded Fisher's work. geoduck on tidelands seeded by Taylor Shellfish, one of Still to be heard from are the authors of three studies the county's biggest employers. However, turbulence commissioned by the Washington State Department of another kind has attended Taylor's efforts to take of Ecology that will follow the same scientific trails advantage of a proposal to lease state tidelands to blazed by the preliminary study. Jules Michel of companies with a stake in the $4.6 million generated Shelton has high hopes that the studies commissioned in a typical year by the harvesting of geoduck by the state will clarifY claims that there is "not in Washington. Leases would be granted by the one shred of scientific evidence" showing negative Washington State Department of Natural Resources, effects of the pipes and call into question the claim an agency charged with extracting economic value that geoduck farms from lands under its control and encouraged to do improve water quality so through geoduck by votes of the Washington because the world's Legislature. WHO WROTE largest burrowing clam filters pollutants People living near tidelands in Mason County WHAT: from the water. He being considered for the leasing program have been "Oh Oysters, come writes: "In the case vocal in their opposition to the leasing program. Bill and walk with us!" The Walrus did beseech. of geoduck farming, Burrows spoke for many on April 25 when he attended the ecological impact a meeting on this subject with state officials at the "A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, froll). the periodic Harstine Island Community Hall. His remarks were disturbances from Along the briny beach." supported in a letter written by D.L. Stave of Shelton - Lewis Carroll, 1832·98 cultivation and to Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Doug harvesting most likely Sutherland that states: "Basically, we question the negates any marginal science, or lack of same, regarding the effect such a filtering provided by geoducks." program will have on the environment and strongly object to the simple fact that the leasing program will Michel recently recruited Rebecca Goldberg of the remove from the public domain a valued and limited Environmental Defense Fund into his cause by quoting resource." a paper she wrote to the effect that "aquaculture systems can produce large quantities of polluting For its part, Taylor takes heart in a preliminary wastes, as with other forms of animal production." study by Jeffrey P. Fisher of Environ International Corporation of Seattle of geoduck and other creatures On the one hand the future of the leasing program to be found in the tidelands. He looked at "turbidity may be determined by whether the state-funded studies and suspended solids" at the Foss Farm in August of confirm or contradict results of the preliminary study last year as well as the effect of geoduck cultivation on funded by the shellfish companies. The other hand the populations of crab, shrimp, snails, starfish and will weigh the interests of people living by the beach sand dollars at Hunter Point. A third component of against the interests of people looking for ajob. Here's his study based on samples taken in October of last hoping the new round of studies will be valid and the year measured levels of nitrates and phosphorous at a state will find a middle road that can be traveled by geoduck farm on Eld Inlet in October. those on both sides of this debate. Fisher concluded that, based on published reports and current research, "geoduck culture and harvesting appear to have minimal effects" on other creatures in the tidelands and "any impacts that do occur are restricted to near fields and are relatively short-lived." He also offered the opinion that any disturbance that does occur is "insignificant" when compared to the damage done by storms and shoreline development and the issue is "aesthetic, not biological." • pia 5 rs p The world's largest bur- on would have to be crazy," are questioning claims that rowing clam. i getting said Puddicombe. the cultivation of geoduck worked over pretty good by improves water quality and researcher and residents WILLIAM BURROWS objecting to the prospect of as official con ider a pro- wrote an open letter on the sharing the tidelands. posal to lease state tide- subject on behalf of a group calling itself the Concerned This marks the first land to companies that time that the tate has cultivate the geoduck. Citizens of Harstine and Stretch Island. He said considered leasing publicly Har tine I lander found that while the DNR is only owned tidelands to people themselves at ground Zel"O fulfilling the intent of the who traffic in geoduck, of t.he geoduck debate as a Washington Legislature though Jane Chevy of the result of proposals by the "it is clear by the almost DNR make the point that Washington State Depart- the state tidelands have unanimous opposition that ment. of Natmal Resourc- been leased to companies es to lea e ttu-ee acre at their actions are inconsis- that cultivate oysters and Wi! on Point and Fudge tent with public feelings." other kinds of clams for Point as well as two acres He stated: more than a hundred years. at SU'etch I land to com- "While efforts are under ''We've got clams and oys- mercial enterprises. A one- way to change the politi- ters and all kinds of shell- acre parcel at Wil on has cal landscape that created fish that are a real asset to been taken off the activ lL t 'for fi cal 'While efforts are under way to change rea on , and till'ee more beache in the political landscape that created Ma 'on Coun- ty are in an this problem, the shellfish industry is in a earlier stage of develop- unique position to stop this program, ment: two and a half and do so immediately.' acres on the ea tern shore of Stretch this problem the shellfish this state" she said. three acre at Fudge and industry is in a unique po- ACTS OF THE legisla- one acre on the western sition to stop this program, ture have opened the door hore of Stretch. and do so immediately. to geoduck developments. Cw't. Puddicombe is There are many thousands During their 2003 session, a pOl,tsfisherman from of acres of privately owned lawmakers directed the Vaughn who worries that beaches in Puget Sound DNR to address the issue the tubes used to protect with whom the shellfish in- of geoduck aquaculture on young geoduck from pred- dustry may partner to sup- state-owned lands and ap- ators and element will port their activites." propriated $265,000 to the interfere with his quest Companies interested in Geoduck Aquaculture Pilot for tastier prey. Geoduck the proposed leasing pro- Pl·oject. Research and mon- have been known to grow gram are applying for the itoring are key components to 1.9 pound , but theil' necessary perInits, con- of this pl'ocess with Chevy d lectability is questioned ducting biological surveys making the point that the by this salmon fan. "My and negotiating sharing state wants to make ure grandmoth r us d to chop agreements with Indian that geoduck cultivation it up to make cbowd rand tribes that have treaty on public tideland doe my dad and I used t joke rights affected by propo ed not adversely affect the en- ahout it that· nybody who lea e . Meanwhile, people vil·oument. would prefer that to salm- living near Wilson Point "We are trying to do thi Journal photo by Frank Isaac Two men work the line at a company that processes shellfish in Mason County. The industry is a major provider of employment here. av in a very measured way, 00 5 ebat trying to get good informa- tion and see where the mad takes us," she aid. During la t year se- ion lawmakers approved the pending of $750 000 through Bouse Bill 2220 on r search into geoduck aquacultur and earlier thi year the Dniver ity of Washington Sea Grant made grant of the e funds to three major 1'e eaJ:ch projects. One will look into the geochemical and eco- logical consequences of dis- turbances associated with geoduck aquacultur op- erations, and another will study the inter- action of cul- tured and wild geoduck popula- tion . Thi five- year tudy will provide baseline data on disease prevalence in wild geoduck population. The third tudy looks at the ef- fect of geoduck cultivation on the foliage in ami h Bay, where a new eelgrass meadow ha been e tab- Journal photo by Fronk 'se3£ li hed since geoduck were planted in 2002. A man digging on the beach for hellfi h takes a real close ook at a little critter he has found. Jule Michel of hel- ton has conducted a vigor- ous conespondence on the to en ure that people under- Puget ound Treaty Tribe . subject with a number of tand geoduck i ues and The DNR will manage letters taking other corre- that good scientific informa- it geoduck aqu culture spondents to task for pub- tion is available to manage progI'am based on new ci- lic statem nts they have geoduck aquaculture. ntific data and monitor the made about the cience of Wa hington' fir t ex- environm nta! eBect for geoduck cultivation and periments in geoduck en- 10 year at least, thi being the claim that the clam . hancement occurr d in the the time frame of one full an environm nta! plu . He eal'1y Nineti ,when young cycle of ge duck quacul- wrote: "Studie upporting geoducks were grown at tuxe operations. M Dilaring oysters' ability to filter and a tate-operated hatchery will be done at three aqua- clean watel' cannot be used and dropped onto the sea- culture sites with a beach to support the claim that bed. Enhancement efforts in Jefferson Count erv- geoducks fight pollution." were topp d when officials ing as the state' outpost IN HER REPORT on found that the urvival on Hood anal. The moni- the e studie to the Wa h- rate of young geoducks by toring program j xpected ington hellfish A uacul- thi method wa very low. to provide cientific data on ture Regulatory Committee Partner in the new tudie how geoduck aquacultUl'e Raechel Wat rs of Wash- include Pacific Shellii h In- affects beach sediments as ington Sea Grant referred stitute, the Washington De- well a the animals and to indication that geoduck pal" ment of' and ild- plan tha li 'e in and on aquacultUl'e is a potentially life and the treaty tribe of th ediment. valuable indu try for the tate. Geoduc exported to Asia can fetch prices of up to $30 pel' pound, fueling a David's sale helps fund good works mal:ket currently estimated Saint David s Episcopal at noon on the second day of at about $80 million an- ChUl'ch will conduct its an- the fund-raiser will be sold at nually in Washington and nual rummag and bake sale half price. British Columbia. on eptember 5-6. A bake sale will 0 take The e ent will tak place plac . Sh pper will find both "Wa hington Sea Grant from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the a counter and table arranged . working to pull together parish hall at 218 North Third close to tb kitch n covered the be dentist identify Streetin downtown Shelton. A with cooki ,pie, cake and key research needs and dis- variety of quality secondhand breads made from favorite seminate findings to the items contributed by chmch recipes. people who need them" members and friends will be Proceed from thi event aid Penny Dalton of Sea for sale. Item will rang fl.-om ar a SOlU"ce of income for the Grant. '"We are committed books, clothing, holiday decor general fund of the church, to marine habitat protec- and hou ehold wares to office Thi in tum enabl the ap- tion and su tamable e of and landscape equ.ipm nt. port of community outreach ocean re ourc . Our goal i Any rummage item left program .
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