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Background on Geoduck Aquaculture – DNR information & other perspectives.
Laura Hendricks, Curt Puddicombe, Jules Michel, and 30 others are discussing. Toggle Comments
Puget Sound residents should read the following report as few citizens realize that the aquaculture industry would like to turn Puget Sound into a “production estuary.
“The Ecological Role of Bivalve Shellfish Aquaculture in the Estuarine Environment”: (Dumbauld, Ruesink, Rumrill, 2009)
Page 215 outlines the concept of “production” estuary vs. a “conservancy” estuary. Puget Sound residents are being asked by the governor to support restoration and protection efforts to save Puget Sound and salmon, which is not consistent with NOAA and the aquaculture industry plans to convert it to an aquaculture “production” estuary.
Geoduck feedlots would definately be considered “production” and are not consistent with preserving a conservancy estuary.
Again simple research will lead you to the fact that PVC even in this form can be recycled. I am currently discussing the potential ports and required packaging with a national recycler on truckload quantities for export. The low ballpark price stated (without samples) was enough to get my attention. Guess who is interested in our PVC scrap. China! We can sell them cultured farm product and recycle our used materials at the same time.
It would seem more economical to simply re-use it. When the packaging and all the fuel necessary to get it from here to China are factored in, it doesn’t seem very efficient.
Less than one percent of PVC is recycled. China incinerates it or throws it into a landfill. There are no environmental considerations in China, or considerations for clean air, water, or for human health.
National Marine Services Biological Opinion-Army Corps NWP48-Shellfish Aquaculture
This biological opinion does state that existing aquaculture is not likely to result in any take, (harass or harm) of an individual endangered salmon. However, salmon recovery is the most important environmental issue in Puget Sound and impacts on salmon habitat are documented in this NMFS opinion that:
• Initially found that existing shellfish aquaculture is likely to adversely affect endangered Puget Sound Chinook salmon, but later changed this position due to uncertainty (page 3).
• The opinion states that the Army Corp of Engineers determined that existing shellfish aquaculture activities would not adversely affect critical habitat (CH) non-specifically, but would adversely affect essential fish habitat (EFH) (p 1), including EFH for groundfish (p 17).
• Both the NMFS (p 72, 85) and ACOE (p 1) concur that the action would adversely affect EFH.
• The opinion states that the proposed action is likely to adversely affect CH for Puget Sound Chinook salmon specifically (p 25). Conversely, the opinion also states that the action will not appreciably reduce the conservation value of designated critical habitat in general (p 57).
• According to the NMFS opinion, the BRT (biological review team) majority opinion is that the naturally spawned component of Puget Sound Chinook is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. The number two limiting factor is the degradation and loss of estuarine habitat (p 21).
The environmental effects on listed fish from farming shellfish in the intertidal zone are: (1) episodic water quality effects from physical interactions with the bottom (raking, tilling, and harvesting) increasing turbidity (2) Impacts to SAV(eelgrass) from aquaculture activities; (3) water quality and related effects from application of carbaryl insecticide to control burrowing shrimp in certain places; and (4) benthic disturbance. (p 39). NMFS Biological Opinion http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/xml/services/home/property/pals/landuse/smpmay09comm2.pdf P.3-85.
We must protect our salmon if we want to protect our whales.
Consider the source!!!
I am no scientist but it is my understanding that the Corps and the Services had to evaluate the NET EFFECTS of shellfish aquaculture. THEY HAVE DONE SO. In their opinion the NET BENEFITS outweigh the negative impacts.
On the very same page that much of the above quotes came from the document linked above states:
“Shellfish aquaculture activities are also reported, however, to contribute to water clarity via the filter feeding of cultured mollusks, removing phytoplankton from the water column. Such improved water quality can also contribute to improving habitat for the establishment of SAV (e.g., eelgrass). The presence of oyster shell habitat can also provide better habitat for the establishment of eelgrass than soft, bioturbated substrates (Dumbauld and Wyllie-Echeverria 2003). Graveling substrates for clam culture can also provide habitat better suited for various amphipod and copepods species, important prey items for the species considered in this consultation (Simenstad et al. 1991, Thom et al. 1993, Jamieson et al. 2001)”
Shellfish aquaculture can have some positive as well as negative effects depending on the methods and practices, but the quotes above do not pertain to geoduck culture methods and practices.
It is important to be aware that House Bill 2220 passed by our legislature mandates that research be done on geoduck aquaculure. These interim results were passed on recently to our legislators as outlined by HB 2220. Preliminary results of that research, done by Sea Grant can be accessed here: http://www.wsg.washington.edu/research/pdfs/reports/GeoduckIntProReport.pdf
Preliminary results show:
1. Harvest of geoducks produced declines in worms and small crustaceans within the harvest zone.
2. Species composition at planted geoduck sites changed
3. Results indicate that eelgrass beds neighboring a geoduck farm are affected by aquacultural practices. Density, size, and flowering capability of eelgrass were all suppressed. (see page 13 of the report).
Also, of note, a parasite was found in 30% of the wild stock geoduck in Totten Inlet. This parasite, (a microsporidia type) has never been recorded in geoduck previously. It has not, before this discovery, been recorded in Canada or Puget Sound. (see page 11).
All of these results, from scientific inquiry, indicate that a vigorous precautionary approach should be used with respect to geoduck aquaculture
Similar to shellfish aquaculture per the NMFS BO, bulkheads and docks also are not likely to result in any take (harass or harm) of an individual endangered salmon. But we’re taking steps to restrict or ban these practices because of their negative impacts to fish habitat.
Science tells us that any monoculture is not environmentally sound. Biodiversity is what is healthy for any environment. Puget Sound is a fragile ecosystem that over millions of years has thrived and given many food from fish and shellfish. Puget Sound is for everyone in the state of Washington, it is a resource that should be protected. I urge any scientist or anyone else to show me where farming for one species has been sound environmental policy. The shellfish growers routinely spray the beach to kill ‘predators’ such as starfish, sand dollars, crab, natural vegetation, etc. The spray also kills anything that might compete for the plankton such as sea anenomes. Think about the secondary poisoning that is happening from the spray. Greeed is what generates the planting of geoduck farms. We are not feeding the world, we are selling the shellfish to Japan and other rich countries that can afford the geoduck. Please look at common sense science, the idea of food webs and biodiversity. It is what is environmentally sound and healthy for Puget Sound.
I have been farming shellfish fro 14 years now. I know of NO farmers spraying the beach to kill starfish, sand dollars, crabs, or natural vegetation.
No geoduck farmer sprays anything on their beach! To think such a thing is ridiculus. First – of all the creatures on the beach geoduck are probably the most sensitve (they can’t hide in a shell and their soft tissue is always exposed.) Second no geoduck farm has an NPDES permit to spray anything. It does not happen.
Is that kind of like none of you trespass?
If you can provide documentation of any geoduck farmer spraying their tidelands, I will be the first to stand by you and call for their prosecution.
It may be better to say that “pests” are removed and most likely die, sprayed or otherwise. For example, recently a large number (wheel barrow full) of sand dollars were removed from a beach for preparation of something by a large geoduck farmer. It caused a stir and resulted in a well intended “amendment” being passed by PCSGA saying they would only move sand dollars to a similar tidal area. The problem, according to Richard Strathmann (Resident Associate Director at the Friday Harbor Labs), is that there no evidence of sand dollars being replanted and surviving. Yes, they weren’t sprayed. And in the future, they won’t be sprayed. But they’ll still most likely die. As do star fish piled high with lime poured onto them. It reminds of the accused saying “I didn’t kill him! The bullet did!”
Kind of like you did when Taylor trespassed?
I have been reading this dialog with interest … both sides seem dug in … .with lots of PVC surrounding them. In Jeferson county we have something called a Conditional Use permit … available to all counties … requires that the situation at each site be taken into account … and that the ‘conditions’ of that site be considered and mitigated, or the site abandoned due to specific conditions. Why can’t both sides get together and agree on the conditions to be met, including those that would prohibit geoduck farming, and move on using the Conditional Use permit?
The current available science tells us that geoduck aquaculture does have adverse impacts on the ecosystem and habitat. Very simply, we know from the preliminary Sea Grant research that geoduck aquaculture significantly depresses eelgrass and sand dollars when planted in those areas of the intertidal. We know that geoduck harvest in the intertidal significantly depresses tube worms, copepods and amphipods, including Corophium sp., an important prey species for ESA listed Chinook. We also know that geoduck aquaculture is coincident with sand lance, another important prey species for Chinook.
And by logical inference, we can therefore say that geoduck aquaculture is likely to be a detriment to salmon recovery which can also impact Orca. Rockfish habitat restoration may also be impacted in the future.
Much more needs to be done to gauge the long term and cumulative affects.
The key concept that is mising here is that of NET EFFECTS. Salmon and Orcas need clean water as well. There’s a reason why the public and the scientists have labeled the water at the mouth of the Mississippi River “the dead zone” and it has nothing to do with geoduck or other forms of shellfish farming and everything to do with nutrient pollution which according to the Woods Hole Oceanagraphic Institute shellfish help clean up.
The Mississippi River is irrelevant. The pollution there is due to multi-state agricultural runoff. The Woods Hole Institute is also irrelevant. It refers to a different ecosystem and has nothing to do with Puget Sound or geoduck aquaculture. Also to reiterate, the Pietros and Rice scientific study and research suggests that the presence of shellfish does not result in a net decrease in phytoplankton, but actually results in conditions that are conducive to additional phytoplankton production.
What is more relevant: according to the Totten Inlet Mussel Raft EIS, mussel aquaculture actually contributes to excess nitrification and phytoplankton production, and even worse, to significant reductions in dissolved oxygen levels below the rafts and 200 meters down current, creating the same kinds of anoxic/hypoxic conditions that led to fish kills in Hood Canal. So shellfish aquaculture is actually part of the problem and not part of the solution as is falsely claimed ad infinitum and ad nauseum by geoduck proponents.
Also, as I have pointed out, an inordinate amount of filter feeding molluscs in the nearshore can also filter out fish eggs, crab zoeas and other valuable zooplankton in the water column. “Clean water” as used rhetorically by geoduck proponents is a misnomer. The water by nature has phytoplankton, zooplankton, etc in it, and this is vital to the survival of all aquatic species. Furthermore, shellfish themselves do not require waters that are free of bacteria to survive, it is only necessary if they are to be consumed by humans. In some cases, shellfish populations have recovered in some areas because the bacteria in the water resulted in less harvest pressure on those shellfish.
Science and experience tell us we need more conclusive information.
“All human activities have an effect on the environment, but in these early years of the 21st century, we are increasingly realizing that we have trod too heavily on the planet. …
If aquaculture is to fulfill this great promise, however, governments and citizens alike must be vigilant. Short-term economic considerations will make it all too easy for marine aquaculture to slip into the ecologically harmful methods of large-scale, intensive livestock production increasingly adopted on land.”
Quotes from Pew Charitable Trusts – Sustainable Marine Aquaculture: Fulfilling The Promise; Managing The Risks
It seems that time after time, and often with the best intentions, we have interfered with nature only to be faced with negative ramifications down the road. Global food production has created many new problems and, at this time, it has not been proven that large-scale aquaculture will be any different.
The research information listed on the DNR website contains phrases like “until more directly applicable studies are completed.” and “work needs to be done”. Once our environment has been manipulated to such a degree, the effects cannot easily be undone. There are certainly points to be made on both sides of the geoduck aquaculture issue, but the most important point is to proceed with extreme caution. What we do today will have consequences for future generations.
With limited space and time all responders of this forum must selectively cull quotes from science to make their point. Unfortunatley, that may inadverdently lead to a misleading information.
For instances, the Pew document above also says this:
“…increased culture of filter-feeding mollusks—for commercial purposes and for wild stock restoration programs—has been proposed as a way to mitigate the harmful effects of eutrophication (NRC 2004).”
“One perspective is that the effects of the aquaculture industry, even if greatly expanded, would be small, especially when one considers that aquaculture wastes make up a small fraction of the pollutants.”
The same document can be sued to present two opposing points of view!
entering coastal waters
I don’t know about you, but I do not want to ever feed my family food grown in China. I would much rather have locally grown food indigenous food including aquaculture, than risk eating polluted food. So if we don’t have aquaculture in our back yard where do you think you will get your shellfish from. Is your water front septic system doing more damage to the sound than geoducks? I think we should have a moratorium on flushing until further studies can be done.
If you want local geoduck, you’ll probably have to fly to China to get it, or at least to Chinatown in San Francisco. And if you ban flushing, the shellfish industry will have no excuse to expand operations based on the “mitigation of shoreline development” excuse.
One does not need a PHD in marine biology to know that the concentrations of shellfish seen in commercial aquaculture do not exist in a natural environment. If said concentrations were beneficial to the environment and the overall ecosystem natural selection, having had two or three billion years to ponder the question would have created such concentrations. Apparently evolution is unaware that such concentrations can provide the owners of a harvestable crop generating upwards of a million dollars per acre. Shame on Darwin.
Geoduck are the most abundant species in Puget Sound. They often occur naturally in densities similar to those found in Aquaculture.
There are a few subtidal wild geoduck tracts that share similar densities but most tracts show lower densities than aquaculture planting. But that is not what is important. What is important is the fact that the marine ecosystem on the Nearshore and inter-tidal areas is much different than the subtidal ecosystem. Take for example forage fish spawning and the migration paths of certain salmon.
Look how Mother Nature allocated densities and you’ll see no comparison.
It is clear from the dialogue so far posted today that one thing is clear: Good independent science has hot told us enough yet about the impacts of geoduck aquaculture on Puget Sound. On the other hand, common sense (basic science it seems to me) leads to a simple conclusion when you walk on a Puget Sound Beach far from any geoduck or shell fish farm and find netting, PVC pipe and shell fish holding cages. That just can’t be a good sign.
It seems so contradictory to me DNR joins with Puget Sound Partnership in an effort to clean up Puget Sound and then suggests it might be good to have geoduck farms on our few public beaches. There is no science that supports such a thing. Have a total and permanent moratorium on the leasing of our public beaches to the shell fish industry. Let common sense and the Public Trust prevail.
The government wants to get plastics out of the water.
There can be no doubt that a storm surf with the suspended sand will erode the plastic tubes. The eroded particles will be in the beach and suspended in the water and consumed by the beach inhabitants. This combines with the leaching of chemicals from the tubes and is bad news.
On a beach with a long fetch, a substantial number of the tubes will come loose and the erosion will be increased.
PVC is harder than styrofoam, but it still erodes. Just slower.
In reply to Mr. Puddicombe’s figure in regards to the tonnage of PVC pipe used assuming 43,000 per acre. The PVC tube most frequently used is 4″ nominal .075 wall with a weight of .6745 lbs/ft
A 10 inch piece (general primary length) weighs .56 lbs. Using the assumed 43,000 parts per acre this equates to right at 24,000 lbs or 1/6th of your calculations. I hope your other citations are better researched.
12 tons seems a significant number to consider in the decision process, even if it’s only 1/16 of an incorrect estimate.
Peter Downey disagrees with your weight calculations, and has suggested the weights are closer to 32,000 pounds per acre. See his earlier post. Obviously, it depends on who you talk to. I’ve seen a variety of different types, sizes and colors of PVC pipes used for geoduck aquaculture. Whatever the actual weights may be, the question persists whether or not PVC is environmentally correct at any weight or amount, and I’m questioning its use in the tidelands. This is a question that has not been answered – and I’m merely enquiring about the substance itself moreso than the actual amount itself, although that has some importance also. I’m interested in knowing how much of the pipes actually wear away. One way to determine this would be to weigh a new piece of pipe, and then to weigh it again after 4 or 5 years of use in the tidelands. I’ve seen PVC pipes on geoduck farms that are chipped, broken shards are laying around, the pipes are weathered and worn down, and I’m curious as to the possible long term consequences, especially when there has been efforts to get plastics out of the marine environment. I appreciate the other opinions on the actual weights, but the basic question remains. I’m also interested in how much of this ends up in a landfill, since PVC is apparently not recyclable.
Here’s the URL for Greenpeace’s page on PVC.
My calculation was based on a rough estimate – (took 4 tubes and weighed them on a bathroom scale and rounded up- not very accurate.) My point was that you were way off in your first number(500% high). If Tris has a more accurate number – great.
I won’t try to refute any opinions here with scientific research, because as one of the posters above just noted, when you get down to the brass tacks, it’s an emotional issue which has little connection to actual concern for the environment. In fact, it seems ingenuous to make complaints about environmental impact of geoduck farming when one is viewing the activity from a waterfront home with a septic system, perched on a bulkhead. All of these things have caused damage to the natural environment, and bulkheads aren’t known for being things of beauty. They do, however, save the homeowners’ money and save their investment. Hence the lack of outcry over bulkheads.
There is currently an active geoduck farming operation in front of my house. During the summer we see PVC tubes (when the geoducks require them) for a few hours per day, at the most. Other times we see them less. My children enjoy playing on the beach, as there’s plenty of room. They avoid running through the PVC tubes, of course, but do enjoy exploring among them and finding various sea creatures which live there in large amounts. It’s actually far more populated with life now than when it was a mud flat. To the untrained eye, at least, there is no shortage of starfish, crabs, cockles, or any other creature naturally found on our beach.
Geoduck farmings creates jobs, puts money into hands of workers and landowners (on private lands, at any rate), and the beach recovers far faster than land which has been logged. The business which runs the farm in front of our house is very conscientious about keeping the beach clean, their workers are friendly and make a minimum of noise. I’ve never been kept awake by it, or been disturbed by it.
Even if the vocal complainers won’t admit it, their sole issue is aesthetics, and everything else is a smokescreen. There is no *conclusive* scientific evidence one way or the other I’ve ever seen reference to. I think the decision to allow or disallow farming of geoducks is going to have to be based upon whether or not the person who makes the ultimate decision is going be willing to put up with the firestorm of complaints and litigation that this vocal group is going to launch if they lose.
It is presumptive at best to assume people concerned about this policy only care about aesthetics. If the last paragraph above is to be considered relevant, then asking DNR to also consider most – if not all – in support of this have run out of tidelands to farm and are only concerned about their patient investors waiting for a return on their investment. Neither are correct and it serves no purpose to presume we know what everyone’s agenda is.
Lets get a couple of Items straight. The density of geoducks on the most densely planted farm is far less than the densities of other farmed shellfish (e.g. manila clams, oysters, mussels ) Every shellfish farmer I know is a staunch advocate of saving Puget Sound. We have much more at risk than any shoreline homeowner. To insinuate that the science shows any long term or far reaching effects of geoduck farming is false. There are short term spatially confined effects. To say that we are creating a “monoculture” is also false. We use passive controls to protect our crops from predators which also creates opportunity for many other organizms to colonize (e.g. polycheates, horse clams, butter clams, littleneck clams, barnicles, mussels, etc. etc. etc.) No pesticides or herbicides are used in geoduck aquacultue. No antibiotics are used, no growth hormones are used. And there are no feed inputs. Is it ugly? – yes to some. Is it imperiling Puget Sound? – not that any science has ever indicated.
Is it possible to get a reference to whatever study you are basing the “short term” effects statment on Peter? I’m not doubting it’s based on something, I’d just like to know what it is. I would also like to offer this definition found on monoculture: “Monoculture is the agricultural saying of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area. It is widely used in modern industrial agriculture” (Wikipedia). Finally, comparing oysters/manila clams aquaculture to geoduck aquaculture is somewhat questionable, especially in a forum focused on the science of geoduck aquaculture. As you know, they’re quite different.
Look at Glenn VanBlaricom’s research (UW SeaGrant) on short term vs. long term effects.
I can’t believe you are quoting wikipedia in a science forum. Monoculture is a single crop where all other species are excluded. Think of corn, soybeans or wheat and all that terrestrial farmers do to ensure that they have a monoculture (tilling spraying bioengineering). Its that kind of hyperbole that is not constructive. (same is true of refering geoduck farms as “feedlots” . I know of no feedlot owner that would provide no feed for their livestock or would tolerate a plethora of other species eating the feed that was available. ) While mussels , oysters and manila clams are different, the point is often made that geoduck densities are unsupportable in the environment. The reality is that as far as biomass is concerned other species are farmed at greater densities than geoduck.
All I can find are VanBlaricom updates which say “Do not cite.” Is this what you’re basing your comment on, in this scientific forum?
I am a little amused that the folks who tune into this discussion are being asked to describe the science on specific effects geoduck aquaculture. Ecology work specific to cultivation and harvest of geoduck intertidally is mostly ongoing. Current science that looks at estuary function and shellfish aquaculture far and away showcases the net benefits. Just have a look at what millions of dollars are being spent on in New England and Chesapeake Bay – shellfish restoration to support both a struggling shellfish industry, and to battle to recover water quality and estuary function.
I raise the point of a shifting baseline on what is “natural”. It took quite a bit of engineering to bring the Puget Sound watershed, shorelines and estuary to the state it is in. It will likely take some engineered solutions to get Puget Sound recovery underway by 2020. Shellfish aquaculture has huge potential in Washington and could be part of the solution.
For the shoreline aquaculture opposition groups, the science is moot. They do not care what the best available science reveals. I am pasting an excerpt from a previous comment:
“However, I believe that we are all missing the point here. Even if intertidal farming is found to be not harmful to the environment in a scientific way, it is still ugly and dangerous to beach users.”
This a sentiment I’ve heard before. These people just don’t want to look at any commercial activity. Regardless if science eventually indicates net positive effects, or if we somehow do away with predator exclusion gear altogether. These few will still get in a twist over the commercial activity.
What I can offer on this is the following empirical anecdotes:
I have only witnessed species richness increase with intertidal aquaculture.
Beaches and species assemblages recover quickly (weeks) from intertidal geoduck harvests.
Currently the disturbance from geoduck harvest has been determined by DNR to be non-significant for subtidal harvests (EIS); acedemic scientists working on this have characterized the disturbance from geoduck harvest as not different from the ambient disturbance regime for intertidal beaches.
Is there a comprehensive bibliography on the research conducted on geoduck aquaculture? If so, I’d appreciate a link.
It’s not true that everyone opposed to geoduck aquaculture expansion is indifferent to science.
The idea that there is an increase in species richness with an increase in shellfish aquaculture isn’t supported by the majority of the available science. I’ve included a few sources below that do not support that opinion:
“The intertidal regions that had been used for (shellfish) farming for 3 and 5 years had lower species richness…as compared to the intertidal region where no active farming occurred.” “…studies are needed to determine the scale to which intensive use of the foreshore for shellfish purposes alone is feasible without undue harm to the environment.”
Bendel-Young, L.I. 2006
“Shellfish aquaculture in South Sound alters plant and animal assemblages and results in the loss of shallow nearshore habitat and habitat diversity important to salmon resources”. “We hypothesize that shellfish aquaculture reduces productivity, abundance, spatial structure, and diversity of salmon populations.”
South Sound Salmon Recovery Group, 2004
“Our results suggest a net decrease in total shorebird use in areas developed for aquaculture.”
California Fish and Game, Effects of Aquaculture on Habitat Use, 1996.
“Cultivating shellfish in the South Sound results in the loss of shallow nearshore habitat and habitat diversity that is important to salmon.”
The Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan,
South Sound Watershed Profile, 2007, Ch. 5, pg. 299.
In Technical Report 2007-03, Marine Forage Fishes in Puget Sound by Dan Penttila of the WS Dept. of Fish and Wildlife: “These agencies (WA Dept. of Agriculture, WA Dept. of Natural Resources) together with WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife should seek a coordinated approach to the management of the growing aquaculture industry, with an eye toward modification of habitat-damaging culture practices and the mitigation of existing habitat degradation for which the industry has been responsible.” “The bulk of the Puget Sound Basin’s shoreline is now in private ownership. The likelihood of continued financial and political pressure for shoreline modification by a landownership population largely ignorant of nearshore resource values and conservation risks is high.”
We still need research by independent fisheries biologists and nearshore specialists. Sea Grant as mandated by HB 2220 was supposed to accomplish this, but unfortunately lost its funding.
We also need the full perspective from both the scientific standpoint on the ground, and the social perspective, and that has to come from the careful consideration of all viewpoints from all stakeholders.
Well my observation on our beach over the last 4 years is a complete loss of life! No Crabs, Few if any starfish No fish or moonsnails. We have lost or sand dollar bed. We have only one heron when we used to have at least four, our otters pair is gone. Our osprey have gone and our diving duck numbers have gone way down. We even have fewer kingfishers. You see what you want to see when you want to get rich quick. The people that are fighting you are fighting not so much about the looks but about the whole sale destruction, WE don’t make money fighting you! I would also note that I have been told by 2 different farmers that your idea of beauty is to have those tubs through out the sound and as long as the water is clean you would just as soon have no other creatures in the sound. Kind of like driving through farm land in the mid west, lots of crops no pests.
Cost effective control of nutrients? In the most general terms, nutrients are consumed by phytoplankton (primary producers). Phytoplankton is consumed by copepods (secondary producers). Filter feeders are by comparison a small piece of the pie. We need a healthy ecosystem with intact structure (tide flats) to remediate nutrients which have always been present in the system, especially when millions of salmon died and rotted in area streams. To argue that aquaculture is any kind of a fix for nutrient loading is a reach.
I have been reading input for the last two and a half days. Given today’s topic, I figure it’s time I speak up. I have a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and my Master of Science degree thesis was on geoduck clams and was produced 25 years ago.
I see an occasional industry representative has weighed in and let’s be honest, they know more about geoduck aquaculture than any other group represented here, but due to their self interest, their words are suspect by the other side. Several more of ‘the other side’ have weighed in, but with their ‘moritorium until science gives it a clean bill of health’ perspective, this would impose a standard that isn’t applied to any other activity in the country. Nuclear Power Plants aren’t held to this standard. I’ve spoken to a number of people representing this perspective, and have found that some don’t consider geoduck aquaculture much less potentially harmful than nuclear power plants. Many in this group quote scientists or scientific papers, but they dismiss any scientist who represents his/her own opinion. I advise anyone reviewing these comments to check the references to ‘science’ before giving them any credence. The ones I’ve checked often don’t support the positions that’s been put forward.Then there are those I am interested in hearing from – the ones who have legitimate concerns – the ones who would consider things a little better if the industry were to address those concerns, and not hold out for a moratorium. Some of the legitimate concerns I’ve read so far are: 1. Audible noise in the middle of the night from a farm adjacent to a private residence. Does this occur? Can’t we fix it somehow? 2. Large quantities of PVC shards. Wouldn’t a heavier, and yes, more expensive guage of PVC cut down on some of this? 3. The visual appearance of white tubes for the short period before they get fouled. Sand-colored tubes should minimize this objection. There are others, no doubt. Let’s look for serious solutions to serious concerns.
Two final points: 1. Science can not prove that any activity will have no impact. All any scientific study can do is is possibly conclude that no impact was found. These two are not at all the same. 2. While geoduck aquaculture clearly has some negative impacts, let’s not ignore the positive ones, in addition to providing jobs, i.e. For the 5-6 years that a planted geoduck is in the ground, it turns 2-3 pounds of ‘excess nutrients’ (that originate from what we flush down our toilets, feeding naturally occurring algae, which are in turn eaten by geoducks), into highly nutritious and tasty seafood. The farmer then removes that ‘excess nutrient’ from Puget Sound. Unless you’re in the camp that believes we need to be flushing more, this has to be seen as a positive.
Best of luck to those who have to try to sort through all the comments you get from this effort!
While natural densities of shellfish help filter the water, there is no independent scientific evidence that water quality has been improved in Puget Sound by industrial densities of shellfish. In fact, the following research is available that refutes the industry water quality promotion that the aquaculture industry should be allowed to expand and destroy our native species and salmon recovery in the name of “filtered water.”
“Shellfish effects on plankton productivity can be measured. In 2003, the Pacific Shellfish Institute completed a comprehensive two-year study to evaluate phytoplankton abundance and seasonal change within and surrounding a mussel raft farm in southern Puget Sound. This farm has 8 multiple suspended culture units with a total surface area of one acre and a stocking density at harvest size of 240 tons. While phytoplankton abundance was on average 56.3% lower in the center of the raft units, the feeding effects on phytoplankton were localized and contained in the immediate raft system. Despite reductions in phytoplankton abundance within the mussel unit, phytoplankton concentration and community composition outside the raft system did not differ from reference conditions (PSI, 2003).” It should also be noted that dissolved oxygen was significantly lower under the mussel rafts and down current which can result in fish kills which is a major environmental problem.
“In a mesocosm study in Rhode Island, Pietros and Rice (2003) specifically investigated the “overgrazing hypothesis” that oyster populations can deplete phytoplankton. They found that “based on rates of ammonia excretion by oysters and observed steady states of ammonia and other forms of inorganic nitrogen in mesocosm tanks, it can be hypothesized that ammonia generated by oysters is taken up by rapidly regenerating phytoplankton in the water column.” They concluded that oysters had no net effect in terms of depleting phytoplankton populations, but that oysters can produce changes in the relative abundance of different phytoplankton species.” Page 7
So, don’t believe everything you hear.
You can’t claim that there is “no independent scientific evidence” and then go on to cite a PSI study which is the very non “independent” source you just blasted. It’s completely two faced. There is no study – independent or otherwise that points to negative water quality effects from aquaculture in the Puget Sound. To insinuate that dissolved oxygen downstream form the mussel raft was at a level that threatens fish is at best a negative manipulation of the findings. At worse…
Is there independent resarch that indicates positive water quality effects from geoduck aquaculture in Puget Sound? Certainly a desktop exercise can result in showing that high levels of nutrient removal are realized from filter feeders. And even so, it seems to me that comprehensive studies are needed to determine the effect of geoduck aquaculture on the typical natural biological communities found at these sites.
It’s important to stress that water quality is only one side of the geoduck. The other side is three feet down, under the sediments. To get there, pipes are put in, pipes are taken out, and 3′ of sediment is liquefied, with the extraction churning the sediments. This transformation of the tideland sediment/ecosystem is what one of the long-term studies being performed by the University of Washington is looking at. The significance is found on page 2: “Clearly the development of geoduck aquaculture operations in a site will initiate or alther a number of biogeochemical and ecological processes potentially significant to locat habitats and benthic communities.” It is important to note again: This study is still in its preliminary stages, but its importance relating to future expansion policies should not be dismissed.
Thanks for the link — this appears (upon a quick read) to be the kind of research I was hoping to find.
The additional science that was funded by the legislature targets the specific questions that needed more study concerning geoduck aquaculture. One significant area of science that is well established that is not in question is the bio-remediation qualities of all bivalves. Their ability to filter and clarify the water are helping to keep Puget Sound in balance. The enormous loads of nitrogen discharged from upland sources are not benign, they are fertilizing the marine waters. This problem is considered to be the greatest threats to the marine waters around the entire US. As our population has increased this threat has, and will, become greater. As an example of the contribution bivalves have in keeping a more balanced environment, one can look at the Chesapeake Bay when almost all of it’s oysters died suddenly from disease. Within a very short period of time most of the fish, crabs, sea grasses, and other species in the bay died from the incredible algal blooms that blocked sunlight beyond a few inches underwater and used up the available dissolved oxygen that most marine organisms need to survive. It was the bivalves that kept the algal blooms in check and helped maintained the diverse marine environment. Without those filter feeders the entire system crashed. The sound and other estuaries of this state have had aquaculture in them for over 100 years. The waters that are the healthiest are the the ones that have had shellfish aquaculture in them for that same period. It should not come as a surprise that the most unhealthy waters are adjacent to the population concentrations and associated effluents. In the big picture we need more filter feeders not less. The East and Gulf Coasts get that and are spending tens of millions of dollars to repopulate shellfish to clean the water and create essential habitat for marine species . I hope that we can learn from the other coasts tragic experiences and not repeat them.
The situations described are different environments, with different levels of agricultural runoff and do not involve plantings at the densities currently undertaken at the industrial aquaculture sites for geoducks in the Puget Sound. The levels of aquaculture historically practiced in Washington State are not comparable to the intensive, high density industrial aquaculture being rolled out today.
You are correct that these are two different environments. They are both coastal bays. The nitrogen runoff, although from different sources is the same. It acts as fertilizer for the algae. The densities of oysters there far exceed the densities of farmed geoduck both in pounds of growth per year and numbers per square meter. The production levels for geoduck do not surpass the production levels of the more historic oyster and clams on a per acre per year calculation in Washington. “Intensive, high-density, industrial aquaculture”… very descriptive terms…but…not accurate.
An interesting topic which I would like to flip on its head.
Here’s the lead sentence from a November 17, 2009, press release: “In a decision with national relevance, a federal judge in Tallahassee Monday approved a consent decree that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set legal limits on excess nutrients that trigger harmful algae blooms in Florida waters.” http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2009/2009-11-17-092.asp
Science does tell us that “nutrient over-enrichment is a significant problem for the coastal regions of the United States” (National Academy of Science through the National Research Council). Science also tells us that shellfish are by far the most cost-effective strategy to control pollution” (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). And along these same lines we know that “one type of aquaculture – mollusk farming – actually reduces nutrient pollution” (Environmental Defense). http://www.pcsga.org/pub/uploads/Environmental_quotes.pdf
Geoduck aquaculture is the farming of mollusks. Let me repeat that for emphasis: geoduck farming is the farming of mollusks.
As the quote in the first paragraph shows, nutrient pollution has become such a huge problem in this country that the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to force the state of Florida to regulate the use of nitrogen which is the ultimate cause of excessive nutrient pollution. Where does excess nitrogen come from? It comes from municipal treatment plants, individual septic systems, pet wastes, farm wastes, farm fertilizers, leaky oil from cars and trucks, garden fertilizers, and even yard waste. In short it comes from each and every one of us. We all contribute to the problem.
As far as I know, no one has yet quantified the positive impacts that geoduck aquaculture has on the waters of Puget Sound, the biggest impact being they filter Puget Sound waters of excessive nutrients. But some scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has stated that shellfish (and geoduck are shellfish) are by far the most cost-effective strategy to control (this type of) pollution.
What are we in the State of Washington going to do about nutrient pollution? What is DNR doing about it? How will DNR put a value on that impact of geoduck aquaculture?
As noted, “no one has yet quantified the positive impacts that geoduck aquaculture has on the waters of Puget Sound” It would be interesting to know if anyone has considered whether the filtering capacity of shellfish really are signficant enough to matter. Having grown up on Lake Washington, I saw first hand the lake go from a vibrant and living body of water to one like Mr. Lentz describes Chesapeake Bay being and then return to health again over a multi-decade time frame. The return to health had nothing to do with shellfish but with regulating all of those things described above. How much nitrogen and phosphate are being dumped into Puget Sound and what do shellfish actually remove? I don’t know, but if that’s the basis for a decision we should know.
Jules, I think your right. Until we put real controls on the inputs to Puget Sound, we won’t be able so solve the problems. It’s no coincidence that the same place where we have lost shellfish beds – Everett to Tacoma – is the same place whre we have lost eelgrass beds and is the same place where we have uncontrolled stromwater run -off from millions of people.
According to DNR studies, the small amount of wild subtidal harvest has no discernable effect on the overall filtering of phytoplankton. Therefore, the geoduck farmed in the intertidal is not nearly enough to have any consequence on the overall abundance of phytoplankton. The comparison to Chesapeake Bay by the Woods Hole folks is quite irrelevant to South Puget Sound, and with the biomass of wild geoduck, the farmed amount is totally inconsequential in terms of filtering.
The problem is, the freakish density of geoduck farmed artificially in the intertidal can also consume fish eggs, crab zoeas and other valuable zooplankton in additon to the localized phytoplankton, so it also becomes a hazard to the survival of other species.
To plant and grow geoducks in the intertidal beach as described, virtually all other species are considered “pests”. Pests need to be controlled. This concept is unsustainable in the long run and a poor utilization of potential. We would be better advised to manage the geoduck harvest in ways that protect and enhance the resource and incorporate this highly productive natural ecosystem into the model instead of attempting to overwhelm it.
One of the factors that is not frequently discussed in this controversy is called “social carrying capacity”— the level of farm development that causes unacceptable social impacts.
This scientific research paper by Christopher McKindsey was highlighted by the one of the leading expert marine biologists invited to present at the 2007 Seagrant Aquaculture Workshop in Seattle, Dr. Roger Newel, University of Maryland. Dr. Newel’s comments were apparently speedily forgotten by the industry and the agencies as I don’t believe the idea ever came up again in the SARC meetings.
However, it is obvious that with the attempt to expand shellfish production and in particular industrial geoduck production out of traditional shellfish areas into new areas in the last 10 to 15 years that social carrying capacity has been exceeded. This forum itself is evidence of the breadth of the breach of social carrying capacity. Thus the social sciences are as much as part of this discussion as the science that looks at core samples of the sediments. There are a lot of people that are opposed to this expansion on public beaches based on their community values and expectations. Social carrying capacity must be taken into consideration by the DNR.
I fear the poster of this message is trying to prove many of geoduck industry’s points. Based on any reasonable comparison, the geoduck industry has no social impact except to a few shoreline owners with expensive views.
Last year our industry harvested 1.5 million pounds from maybe 30 acres of tidelands. In contrast:
The 4.3 million people of New Zealand harvested 145,000,000 pounds of mussels from 9,900 acres of water. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2239/2317927256_92e4d9283a.jpg?v=0
The people of Japan, a country a little over twice as big as Washington, grew 350 times the amount of Manila Clams as our state and 3.5 times as many oysters.
Washington State terrestrial farmers farm 15 million acres of land in Washington compared to the geoduck industries 330 acres.
The 4.7 million people of Norway produced 1.3 BILLION pounds of farmed salmon. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40249000/jpg/_40249175_salmon_farm203bbc.jpg
The 4.3 million people of British Columbia produced 200 million pounds of salmon worth $800 million and providing 6,000 jobs.
Do you want to see what intensive aquaculture really looks like? Check out this aerial from China http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=Dalian+China&fb=1&gl=us&ei=jN3hS9OFJ5HWMN3dqZQN&ved=0CBkQpQY&view=map&geocode=FfPGUQIds7E_Bw&split=0&sll=38.929856,121.610756&sspn=0.222192,0.339889&iwloc=A&sa=X. This is where we’re getting our shrimp.
Or check out this photo from Vigo Spain http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=Dalian+China&fb=1&gl=us&ei=jN3hS9OFJ5HWMN3dqZQN&ved=0CBkQpQY&view=map&geocode=FfPGUQIds7E_Bw&split=0&sll=38.929856,121.610756&sspn=0.222192,0.339889&iwloc=A&sa=X
I could go on and on but I won’t. The point is that by any objective measure the farmed geoduck production has close to zero social impact on 99.99% of the citizenry in Washington State. The only folks affected are the shoreline owners and even then it’s only a few vocal citizens.
Fortunately we live in a country where the public process allows all opinions to be considered – whether they be from individuals or wealthy corporations – before rushing into a decision about the use of the public’s property, which is owned by 100% of the people. Because of that, decisions are more likely to be based on objective facts, not assumptions, and will encompass a broader perspective.
As one of the expert shellfish scientists said to your question at the 2007 Seagrant shellfish aquaculture worshop, a question that you posed about the “small amount of geoduck aquaculture acreage” in relation to all the acres of tideland in Puget Sound–tthat expert said your comparison was meaningless–that the comparison had to be made on a smaller scale–the scale of an inlet or smaller. So all your facts and figures about China shrimp and BC salmon farming are likewises meaningless for the purposes of this discussion. We are talking about expansion, probably permanent conversion, of Puget Sound publicly owned beaches to industrial geoduck aquaculture in the context of the Shoreline Managment Act and the current goal to fund the protection and restoration of Puget Sound with taxpayer dollars . As I pointed out in another thread (with the WDFW maps), the number of these publicly owned beaches as opposed to privately owned beaches in Puget Sound is small. These publicly owned beaches should remain public and not be given over to commercial interests. That this forum was convened is evidence of social impact and your reversion to negative talking points about those who favor keeping the public beaches out of commercial reach is indicative of an attempt to deny social impact.
I think you’re missing my point. You suggested that the “social carrying capacity” should be looked at. I was trying to make the point that other areas of the world seem to farm quantities of shellfish and fish of far, far greater magnitudes than we do in our state, and they have yet to reach the “social carrying capacity” you speak of.
It would be a good exercise for DNR to attempt to see what percent of the anti-geoduck people contributing to this form are shoreline owners whose views are or would potentially be affected by geoduck farms.
IN SHORT WHERE IS THE PUBLIC WHO DOES NOT HAVE A VESTED PERSONAL INTEREST IN THE OUTCOME??
All citizens of the state have a vested, personal interest in the outcome. The shoreline belongs to everyone and, as stated very clearly in the SMA, it must be protected and kept in its natural state whenever possible.
Your hypothesis that only shoreline property owners adjacent to proposed sites have an interest in the state’s shoreline is not correct (in my opinion and that of the majority of state voters who voted for the SMA).
To ask what percentage of “anti-geoduck people” are shoreline owners concerned about aesthetics is as relevant as asking what percentage of those commenting are companies who have run out of tidelands to use with investors waiting for a return on their investment. Neither statement serves to move this forward.
Richard,I totally agree with you. State tidelands should be left in as natural a state as possible. Commercial geoduck farming will not help the sound, visually or physically. It should be stopped.
I just reviewed the UW Sea Grant study which is still in early days…not scheduled to be finished until 2013..so the results are not available yet. However, I believe that we are all missing the point here. Even if intertidal farming is found to be not harmful to the environment in a scientific way, it is still ugly and dangerous to beach users. The PVC pipe and netting and rebar still get spread around the area, and harvesting leaves deep mud where previously there was beautiful sand. This should NOT happen!
Scientific evaluation requires controlled experiment and analysis prior to application. The genesis and intense spooling up of intertidal geoduck manufacture on DNR (and private) tidelands with little or no supporting impartial science (not generated or sponsored by the shellfish industry) is a contradiction of scientific method.
The question should be why did the State (DNR, WDFW, Ecology) allow the shellfish industry to install these massive feedlot farms without such studies prior to to startup? Citizen stakeholders are now in a position of finding science. It should not be “prove geoduck farming does harm to the environment”. It should be incumbent on industry to first prove it doesn’t harm the environment, especially Puget Sound.
A moratorium should be declared and existing acreage reexamined case by case. Permits should be required as in any other building/ business permitting process. These permits should carry enough fees to support such a program ( which creates revenue and jobs for the State!).
The health and survival of Puget Sound is at stake, and we cannot get it wrong.
You have no credibility if you claim that industry sponsored research is biased, and then state that “It should be incumbent on industry to first prove it doesn’t harm the environment.” Your refence to geoduck farms as “feedlots” shows your bias.
No studies have been initiated to discern the short term or long term affects of the massive, unprecedented amounts of PVC introduced into the tidelands and marine waters of South Sound from geoduck aquaculture. One acre of geoduck with 43,000 pipes equals approximately 150,000 pounds, or 75 tons of PVC. Millions of pounds are being introduced into the marine environment with no scientific assessments of potential affects.
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is designed for indoor or underground use. It is not designed or intended to be used in the outdoor or marine environment where it is exposed to wind, wave and sand erosion, and to UV exposure, which breaks down PVC rapidly. You can look at some of the older PVC pipes used for geoduck aquaculture, and you can visibly see where it has been worn away or has partially broken down. Often, chips are visible and small pieces can be seen that have broken away from the pipes. This all goes into the waters and sediments of South Sound.
In 1987, Congress enacted the ‘Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act’, which is intended to reduce plastics in the marine environment.
The PVC pipes used in geoduck aquaculture contain phthalates. According to a University of Washington study: ‘Plastics: Possible Impacts on Children’s Health’, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units: “Phthalates are man-made chemicals used as a ‘plasticizer’ in a variety of industrial and commonly used products. These chemicals are anti-androgenic, and can adversely impact androgen sensitive tissues during specific windows of development.”
The use of PVC is banned in New York State and many other municipalities around the country because of its negative environmental impacts.
Throughout its entire life cycle, from manufacturing to disposal, PVC has high environmental costs. It contains a high percentage of chlorine, is made with the carcinogen vinyl chloride, plus dioxin and ethylene dichloride are by-products of its manufacture. PVC also leeches dioxins throughout its useable life.
I looked at your link here. According to the “science” you’re citing, fourteen BILLION pounds of PVC are LEGALLY used in everything from our water pipes, to our windows, the siding on our homes, as carpet backing, as shades & blinds, as shower curtains, as furniture, for virtually everything we touch. Curt Puddicombe, as a Maintenance Supervisor for a large Seattle real estate development company, you must come in contact with PVC almost every minute of your working day and yet you’re focused on the PVC used by geoduck farmers. That doesn’t make sense to me.
Your comments and DNR’s posting of them is noted and recorded.
Obviously I am aware of the ubiquitous nature of PVC as a building material. How does this disqualify my objection to PVC being used in the natural aquatic environment? If anything, my knowledge of the material makes me even more qualified to comment on the dangers of PVC in nearshore habitat areas.
Curt- your weights are off- A 10″ piece of 4″ diameter pvc weighs about 0.75 pounds or 32,250 lbs per acre at a density of 430000 tubes.
My weight calculations are based on 6″, schedule 40 pipe, which is what I have seen on the tidelands. You may use something different.
Here’s the size chart:
No one uses schedule 40 on geoduck farms. It’s 4X as expensive. We use schedule 10. Your weights are wrong.
The pipes at the Stratford site appear to be 6″, but let’s use the schedule 10, 4″ x 10″ PVC pipe weights for the sake of argument. That’s 32,250 pounds per acre, or just over 16 tons per acre. Lets say that DNR leases 31 acres. That’s still one millon pounds, or 500 thousand tons of PVC total.
And some 6-7 miles of whatever size diameter /10″ length per acre of plastic pipe. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong about this.
PVC used for geoduck farming is structural PVC and contains no phthalates. Phthlates are plasticizers used for making PVC bendable (like rubber duckies). Rigid structural PVC uses no phthalates. None of the PVC used in geoduck farms contain phthalates.
Is this true for all geoduck sites? The other problem with structural PVC is that it is brittle, and breaks easily. What about dioxins?
Yes – any site that uses PVC pipe uses structural pipe. While it is brittle and does break, all of my crew is instructed to pick up any plastic on the beach. To date we have picked up tons of other peoples waste from our beach (including 37 tires last year and 6 tires to date this year.) Our stretch of the beach is kept clean.- Come see if you’d like. (I think that most farmers give the same instructions to their crew). As for dioxins, all of the PVC used in shellfish farming is drinking water grade and does not contain or leach dioxins. Dioxins are produced through chemical reaction when PVC is burned, which is never done in shellfish farming. We are producing food without hebicides, pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed inputs. Shellfish farmers are staunch supporters of measures to ensure high water quality. It would be counterproductive to use materials that would contaminate our beaches.
I’ve seen different types and sizes of PVC for geoduck on the beaches. I’ve seen schedule 40, thin fiberglass, 4″ and 6″ diameter, and anywhere from 10″ to 14″ in length. As the pipes wear away or break down, dioxins are released, and the worn away material gets into the environment. There are also concerns on the colorants used in the gray PVC.
“It is not designed or intended to be used in the outdoor or marine environment where it is exposed to wind, wave and sand erosion, and to UV exposure, which breaks down PVC rapidly.”
PVC is does not “break down” rapidly when exposed to natural elements. In fact it has a distinct advantage over other materials in its resistance to corrosion cause by natural solvents.
“In 1987, Congress enacted the ‘Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act’, which is intended to reduce plastics in the marine environment.”
This act specifically makes it illegal to throw plastic trash off any vessel within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (within 200 nautical miles of the shoreline). And also makes it illegal to throw any other garbage overboard while navigating in U.S. waters or within three miles of shore. This has nothing to do with the use of plastic products in aquaculture.
“The PVC pipes used in geoduck aquaculture contain phthalates.”
This is completely untrue. PVC pipe is a rigid form of PVC and no phthalates or plasticizers are used.
“The use of PVC is banned in New York State and many other municipalities around the country because of its negative environmental impacts.”
This is another untrue statement; the state of New York has not banned the use of PVC and is used in various applications throughout the state. There is no known state or city that has a blanket ban on PVC. The PDF referenced uses no facts or documentation to support this claim.
“Throughout its entire life cycle, from manufacturing to disposal, PVC has high environmental costs. “
Plastic pipe has many advantages over heavier pipe materials that require more gasoline during transportation, installation or repairs.
“PVC also leeches dioxins throughout its useable life.”
Dioxins are only produced when some types of PVC pipe are burned and are a byproduct of that process only. Dioxins are chiefly produced by non-industrial unregulated sources, such as backyard burning of trash and residential wood burning.
City of Seattle Rejects PVC Pipe in Favor of Environmentally Friendly Choice
New York Enforces Ban on PVC Pipe
Someone claimed that PVC, other than if it catches on fire, is perfectly harmless. But fire is a viable possibility. Consider the amount of PVC that could be ignited in a small fuelspill if a boat catches on fire and the fuel tank blows up – which happens. The flaming fuels then wash ashore on an acre of PVC pipe covered beach. There’d be enough dioxin in the air to do in the whole town.
But there’s more — from Greenpeace:
The production of PVC and its feedstocks, vinyl chloride monomer and ethylene dichloride results in the release of hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals into the environment each year, mainly in poor, communities of color in the Louisiana and Texas. PVC production is also a large source of dioxin into the environment. Google the Greenpeace PVC fact sheet for more information.
If a boat is spilling enough fuel to catch fire – you have a much bigger problem than the dioxins coming off ignited PVC. How a bout a meteor hitting a geoduck farm (for the year or so that tubes are in place) and igniting them? Or a nuclear weapon accidentily discharging over a geoduck farm. I’m sure all of those would create dioxins as well. Other than that PVC DOES NOT EMIT DIOXINS.
Visit caseinlet.org to view extensive abstracts on the current state of research on geoducks and their impact on the environment. Science has established that the methods used for intertidal geoduck aquaculture including harvest with hydraulic stingers destroy eel grass beds. Scientists warn that significant studies are necessary to evaluate the impact of industrial aquaculture on our environment. Expansion of geoduck grow operations on State tidelands should be under a moritorium until peer reviewed studies are completed to avoid causing major adverse impacts on the environmet and best practices can be established based upon information learned in detailed studies.
Thursday, May 6 – Unknowns →
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