Association for the Protection of Hammersley, Eld and Totten Inlets
in South Puget Sound, Washington


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Changing Face of Shellfish Aquaculture

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View of N. Totten shoreline facing south, showing clam beds covered with nets, single shell oysters in plastic mesh bags.  Nearest the waters edge is where geoduck tubes start.  July 2006.
View of N. Totten shoreline facing north, showing more oyster bags as far as the eye can see, July 2006.
Geoduck PVC tubes that were in the water for 6 years at N. Totten.  Tide is out farther so they can be seen, July 2006.
Close up view of Geoduck same tubes.
Rerouting upland stream flow around oyster bags if the natural flow doesn't suit the grower. Note the tractor.  N. Totten site, January 2001.
Another view of same rerouted water way, 2001.
Trucks on the beach in sensitive area.  What is more damaging to the inter-tidal zone? Tractors, trucks, bags, PVC tubes, wire mesh dikes-aren't they as damaging as concrete bulkheads?  2001
Another view of trucks on same beach, 2001.
Netting over clam beds, typical of what occurs in Hammersley and Totten Inlets 2006
More netting, same areas, 2006.
Oyster bags held in place with plastic clips and sharp wire clips (the beach is littered with these) and held in place with rebar post, Totten Inlet, August 2006.
Netted clam beds are closest inshore, next level is the oyster bags, with Geoduck tubes closest to water's edge.  N. Totten, 2006
Wire dams held in place by rebar posts separate different plots, and slow down wave action coming from the southwest. Totten Inlet, 2006.
Closer view of same wire dams.
Geoduck used to be harvested in the sub-tidal zone, but they are now planted in the inter-tidal zone and harvested with water-jet hoses.  This does displace the benthic organisms.  Some research shows that juvenile finfish cannot swim away fast  enough and get suspended silt in their gills, which may kill them.   Animals that are considered to have no commercial value (i.e. horse clams) or are deemed to be predators of the geoduck (i.e. starfish, crabs, etc.) are often killed and thrown onto the beach to die in the sun. Damaged geoducks are left behind to die.  The stink is horrible and lasts for days at daytime low tides, drifting as far away as two miles downwind.  N. Totten, April 2006
Same geoduck harvest area wider view.  What is important is that this was the fourth harvest of the same site over five months. This is something the industry never mentions.  August 2006.
What is left after the geoduck harvest and the fourth liquefaction of the shore-- a moonscape at this N. Totten site.  August 2006.
The same area as above- it seems to take 3 weeks for the harvested area to return to a more normal appearance, however, it is not known if the benthic organisms have been able to re-inhabit the same area.  The composition of the beach is different from gravelly sand to just muck now.  September 2006.
For as far as the eye can see, this is modern day aquaculture. N. Totten, September 2006
Another view of same area.  Walking through the muck one will find loose, sharp metal clips, plastic ties, rebar posts sticking up to trip on.  After a harvest, or left alone, a layer of silt appears over the tops of the oyster bags, an seaweed gets hung up or grows on the nets.  September 2006
Hammersley Inlet- This photo goes with the one below.  These workers are checking the site just prior to planting.  We know more plantations are in Hammersley, but it is difficult to navigate the hazards in this Inlet at low tide, when the best viewing of nearshore aquaculture occurs.  August 2006.
Hammersley Inlet- skow with geoduck tubes for planting.  If you see a similar vessel off your sore, you know a geoduck plantation is happening nearby.  August 2006
Eld Inlet - single shell oyster bags.  August 2006.
Eld Inlet - geoduck plantation.  August 2006.
Eld Inlet - new geoduck planting site.  August 2006.
Lest we forget, salmon pen abandoned in 2000 in Pickering Passage, SE tip of Hartstene Island..
Same site in Pickering Passage -- it took two years for this abandoned salmon net pen to be dismantled and taken away
Another view of the same abandoned pen.


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