Sequim forum to focus on commercial aquaculture Saturday

SEQUIM — The Sierra Club’s North Olympic Group and the Sierra Club Chapter Water Salmon Committee will host “Industrial Aquaculture: Food or Folly? Losing the Wild?”at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The theme of the free forum is the commercialization of the oceans. It will be at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road.

Handouts from the sponsoring and presenting organizations will be available, along with coffee and tea.

Expert speakers

Guest speakers will include Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy; Laura Hendricks, founding director of the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound; Alfredo Quarto, co-director and co-founder of Mangrove Action Project and Anne Mosness of the Go Wild Campaign.

Beardslee, who presents “The Success of Our Sound, Our Salmon Campaign: Phasing Out Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture in Puget Sound,” along with Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) staff, will discuss the risk the organization sees that open-water Atlantic salmon aquaculture places on the Pacific Northwest’s wild salmon.

In the spring of 2017, WFC launched the Our Sound, Our Salmon (OSOS) campaign with the goal of phasing out Atlantic salmon net pens from Puget Sound.

In his talk, Beardslee also will discus potential land-based closed containment solutions for the industry.

He will give a brief overview of WFC’s current lawsuit against Cooke Aquaculture saying that allowing the release of 260,000 non-native Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound violates the Clean Water Act.

A net-pen collapsed in August 2017 at Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island fish farm.

Beardslee also will talk about WFC’s lawsuit against the federal government for failure to protect ESA-listed species from harm caused by industrial Atlantic salmon net pens.

Hendricks will present “Shellfish and Disappearing Beaches.” Over the last 11 years, she has worked through Coalition To Protect Puget Sound to educate the public and regulators on shellfish aquaculture’s effects on the state’s marine life.

She represented citizens against the shellfish industry at a hearing before the state Shorelines Hearings Board and won the case to protect eelgrass.

Hendricks will give an update about legal action by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, Protect Zangle Cove and Wild Fish Conservancy against the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The lawsuit demands an end to Fish & Wildlife’s exemption of industrial shellfish aquaculture projects from hydraulic project approvals — state standards designed and required to protect fish and marine habitats.

Quarto will present “Consider Before You Buy Shrimp.” For 25 years, Quarto has worked with indigenous cultures around the world helping them restore mangrove forests and way of life prior to corporations having destroyed their ecosystems to industrialize the raising of shrimp, organizers said.

He will have a short video about these villages and mangrove trees.

Mosness, who will present “Current and Pending Efforts of the Federal Government to Raise Penned Fish,” has been tracking federal government efforts to raise penned salmon in offshore waters beyond jurisdictions and regulations of states.

She will speak on the current pending efforts, and losses, of such government efforts.

Mosness fished the Copper River and Bristol Bay, Alaska, for decades, a multi-general family profession.

She has worked for several other national environmental and food organizations.

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