Re: "Finally, shores update gets OK" (TNT, 3-12).
My support of the March 12 version of Pierce County's Shoreline Master Program should not be construed as supporting more intensive industrial aquaculture in Pierce or any other county.
Modern industrial barges with hydraulic arms, nighttime spotlights from the barges and large cages to hold product are disruptive in residential estuaries. They also present impediments to traditional uses of Puget Sound. But the major concern is what industrial practices mean to the food web for species other than those “farmed” by the shellfish industry, especially geoducks.
Saving Washington’s iconic salmon should be the focus on reviewing aquaculture applications, especially in Burley Lagoon. Our estuary is fed by salmon-producing Burley and Purdy creeks. We have forage fish, such as periodic herring runs, that are critical to salmon making the transition from fresh to salt water.
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Preparing our tidelands for production has changed many beaches from diverse environments to sanitized zones. The production of non-native manila clams covered three-fourths of our island's tidelands with canopy nets. Nets break the food web by trapping flounder, crabs and other creatures that cannot escape and die trying.
Taylor and other growers have hundreds of acres in production, so they do not need all of our tidelands to survive. The target for growth is filling the Chinese demand for geoduck. Why should we sacrifice our precious estuaries and all the natural creatures to fulfill that unnatural demand?