Federal greenlight of industrial shellfish aquaculture unlawful

Industrial aquaculture has been inexorably replacing shoreline habitat in Washington State, aided and abetted by an Army Corps of Engineers blanket approval (Nationwide Permit 48) of most shellfish aquaculture facilities, thereby adding to the death of the Salish Sea by a thousand cuts.

A just announced U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling affirmed a previous court ruling that such blanket approval violates the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, and that the cumulative effects of the tens of thousands of acres of aquaculture must be considered by the Corps.

Per the Center for Food Safety press release referenced below, Amy van Saun, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety, and counsel in the case, said, “The Court confirmed what we have argued for years: Industrial aquaculture has seriously harmful environmental impacts and regulators must rigorously evaluate them when deciding whether or not to allow it.”

As with most efforts to protect our plants, animals, and habitat, lots of sweat, time, and money by lots of people was required to achieve this success. As Laura Hendricks of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat (Laura is the David who has for years slung stones against the aquaculture industry Goliath) said after this victory, “Citizens have been trying for decades to limit the environmental destruction of our shorelines by the shellfish industry. . . . we look forward to finishing this story with limits on shellfish industry expansion. We still have work to do to make sure the Army Corps does their job to protect our treasured Puget Sound and Willapa Bay/Grays Harbor, but the message from the Federal courts is clear!”

This court decision is a victory for Washington’s shoreline environment, all the creatures that depend on it, and for the many people who don’t want our beaches and waters transformed into a mass of plastic.

— see the Centers for Food Safety 11 Feb. 2021 press release at https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/6264/court-of-appeals-backs-environmentalists-federal-greenlight-of-industrial-shellfish-aquaculture-unlawful

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