Patrick Townsend's response
High intensity shellfish aquaculture is not the answer to the problems in Puget Sound. We already know that the areas with the most shellfish aquaculture such as Hood Canal and Totten Inlet are areas that are in trouble. Pollution from fish farming is a welldocumented problem.
Dr. Roger Newell of the University of Maryland, who is frequently cited by the shellfish industry, is no advocate of unrestricted shellfish farming. He says in his 2006 paper on the carrying capacity of shellfish aquaculture that "It is overly optimistic to think that any aquaculture operation will have no adverse impacts whatsoever; consequently, the question becomes what level of impact is considered acceptable given the benefits accrued from that activity." Some of the impacts he cites are changes to the food web, impacts on other species and the effect of shellfish fecal matter on the shoreline environment.
We need to halt the unrestricted expansion of shellfish aquaculture until we understand its impact on Puget Sound.
Patrick Townsend is President of Protect Our Shoreline, a non-profit organization that advocates for the environmental health of Puget Sound, on the web at http://www.ProtectOurShoreline.org
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