Proposed geoduck farm would use mesh tubesJuly 3rd, 2009 by cdunagan
A group of property owners on Hood Head in northern Hood Canal say they have joined forces to lease a nearby beach from the Washington Department of Natural Resources — mainly because they didn’t want to see what a typical commercial geoduck farm might do to the beach near their part-time homes.
The DNR never went through with the lease, instead imposing a moratorium on geoduck farms on state land until more research could be done regarding the environmental effects. For information, including a report to the Legislature on geoduck farming, see the Department of Ecology’s page about the Shellfish Aquaculture Regulatory Committee.
But the Hood Head owners, having spent money on various kinds of beach surveys, are still pursuing a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers (PDF 5.8 mb) in case the lease goes forward in the future.
I outlined their ideas in a story published in today’s Kitsap Sun. Bruce Olsen, whose name is on the application, said he is convinced that using plastic mesh tubes to protect the geoducks will be less environmentally damaging than plastic pipes used on other geoduck farms.
I did not include in my story any comments from those who are opposing geoduck farms in other areas — mainly because the folks I talked to were unaware of the tubes that I described. Still, I can tell you that some people are skeptical of any operation in which one species would dominate a beach.
Would that be the result if geoducks were grown a foot apart on Hood Head? And would the disruption of the beach during harvest activities be an acceptable price to pay for economic returns on the giant clams, which fetch a considerable amount of money on the international market?