Bill Dewey, "National and West Coast Shellfish Initiatives, "Baird Symposium
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Bill Dewey, "National and West Coast Shellfish Initiatives, "Baird Symposium

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Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish Farms

Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish Farms

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  • I appreciate being invited to join you today. I’m excited to learn about the RI Shellfish Management Plan and that there is potential interest in a shellfish initiative.Being the luncheon plenary, I feel like there are expectations for something special. I was thinking about using the theme song from Rocky as I ran up on stage to get you pumped up on the idea of a shellfish initiative, but my wife (who I have learned to listen to) thought Zach Meyer’s Shellfish Farmer song was more appropriate.My son Marc produced a video, Farmers of the Tidelands for PCSGA a few years ago. In making it we discovered a gem. Zach Meyer who worked for a local geoduck farm had produced the song for the company holiday party. After hearing it Marc couldn’t resist making a music video out of it. I think you will agree that in just two minutes it does a nice job of capturing what is special about what we do.Hopefully it will prime your enthusiasm pumps before I try to excite you about the shellfish initiative opportunity
  • The concept of a National Shellfish Initiative was birthed in 2010 in Annapolis over a beer with NOAA’s National Aquaculture Coordinator Michael Rubino and a few of his staff.NOAA was in the process of updating the National Aquaculture Policy and we were brainstorming how to benefit from it.Giving credit where it is due, Michael came up with the idea of launching a national shellfish initiative to implement it. I took the ball and ran with it, working Bob Rheault and others in the national shellfish community (culture and restoration) to suggest the National Shellfish Initiative when they provided comments on the draft aquaculture policy.
  • That lobbying paid off and in June 2011 when NOAA unveiled the new policy, they announced that one of the ways they would be implementing it was by launching a National Shellfish Initiative.There wasn’t any new money for the Initiative, but it is amazing what can happen when you get key national, state, tribal, industry and restoration leaders using their bully pulpits to promote something that has all sorts of positive outcomes. Not the least of which was JOBS, JOBS and MORE JOBS, restoration, ecosystem services, water quality etc.The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan calls out the Shellfish Initiative and addressing permitting problems.Staff priorities shifted, grant funding priorities shifted, money was found in pockets and closets etc.In many cases, shellfish related projects that were already in process were linked to the Initiative to benefit both the Initiative and the project by increased exposure.
  • We were very fortunate in Washington State to have an outstanding relationship with our then Governor, Christine Gregoire.She understood the importance of the jobs shellfish growers provided, our need for clean water and the incredible problems we were having getting permits to expand or start new farms.She gladly provided a letter of support to NOAA for the aquaculture policy and a National Shellfish Initiative. When we told her NOAA had acted on her recommendation she was all too happy to embrace the idea of a Washington Shellfish Initiative to implement it.
  • I worked with the Governor and NOAA Administrator staff to identify a date they would both be available for a press event to announce it. Well this turned out to be one of my more brilliant moves. I got a call from Ted Sturdevant who was the Director of the Department of Ecology. He asked me to come in for a meeting he had a few things to discuss with me. We talked about water quality problems we were having in one of our key watersheds and he asked me about the shellfish initiative and this date he’d been hearing about.He said what is happening on this date and I told him it was when there was going to be a press event with the Governor and Dr. Lubchenco to announce the Washington Shellfish Initiative.Ted was a friend and he got this big smile on his face and said, now that is a strategy I haven’t seen before. He then said: Well I guess we had better get planning what we are going to announce.
  • So began a 3 month infectious effort to plan the initiative. I was invited to the first meeting with multiple agency directors and senior staff. In my 20 years of meeting with various state officials it was the first meeting I had been to where they were talking entirely about what they could do “for” shellfish growers instead of “to” them.Here are some of the rationale for a Washington Shellfish Initiative. From what I have learned so far Rhode Island could probably just borrow these slides
  • Shellfish are integral to our state’s history, culture and heritage.Many shellfish farms, including Taylor’s are 5 or 6th generation businesses.Oysters from Willapa Bay were the state’s first agricultural export in the 1850s heading on schooners to San Francisco where successful gold miners were paying a dollar a piece for them.Shellfish also serve as a key draw for tourism with razor clam harvests on the coast and clams and oysters in the Sound. Also through Oysterfest, the Oyster Run motorcycle rally and other events.They have also proven to be a media draw for shows like Discovery’s Dirty Jobs, Anthony Bourdain’sNo Reservations and Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimern. These shows raise the profile of the state around the world.
  • Washington shellfish growers directly and indirectly employ over 3,200 people and provide an estimated total annual economic contribution of $270 million.Demand for our products exceeds supply and continues grow particularly for export. During the recession our sales have remained strong and revenues and jobs have continued to grow.
  • The jobs shellfish growers provide are good family wage jobs, typically with medical, vacation and retirement (401k) benefits.One of the more successful South Sound geoduck growers reported to me that during the holidays last year he’d paid out over a quarter million dollars in bonuses to 44 employees. Many came to work for him with no or poor credit and are now buying houses and cars.
  • Permitting new and expanded shellfish farms was major issue we needed to have addressed. Until this spring, shellfish growers had not successfully had a new shellfish farm permitted in Washington in 7 years.Under the Shellfish Initiative a Shellfish Interagency Permitting Team was formed to develop a model permitting program.The Initiative also includes a shellfish restoration component that has been very successful.
  • Shellfish were critical to our Native American people long before we started farming them. So involving the tribes and promotion of shellfish for there various uses is a key part of the InitiativeAs is support for shellfish research - in particular understanding the effects (positive and negative) association with shellfish culture.
  • Here is another initiative action I was particularly excited about.Throughout the country and world shellfish are valued for the critical ecosystem services they provide.In Washington these services have yet to be recognized for the critical role they play in the health of our marine waters.The 60 clams in the timelapse video running on the right cleaned the algae out of that gallon of water in 28 minutes. Imagine how effective billions of bivalves are when doing this 24 hours a day. This filtering obviously improves water clarity and helps remove excess nitrogen - a problem in parts of the Hood Canal & Puget Sound.Shellfish growers and the restoration community are pleased that the initiative includes a review by USGS of the value of ecosystem services shellfish provide here in Washington.
  • The Pinto Abalone project was already in the pipeline to be funded so we linked it to the Initiative.NOAA’s Restoration Center came up with the $200K for native oyster restoration and the NOAA Aquaculture Program came up with some funds to build a native shellfish hatchery for restoration work at the Manchester Washington facility.
  • Congressman Norm Dicks had secured considerable funding for the EPA to funnel towards Puget Sound restoration through the National Estuary Program.Much of it was already being designated for use to improve water quality in degraded shellfish growing areas. Even though this was all in the works when the decision was made to do the Shellfish Initiative, we were able to pull this in and associate it which gave the Initiative more substance.
  • While we have had many successes to date since the launch of the Shellfish Initiative, this is probably the most visible.The was another major press event that involved the Governor and Dr. Lubchenco at the Seattle Aquarium when the OA Blue Ribbon Panel delivered their recommendations to the Governor.It got national and international press since Washington was the first state to step forward and acknowledge the OA problem with a plan to begin addressing it.Our legislature last June created a new Council in the Governor’s office to oversee the state’s response and appropriated $1.8 million dollars to establish a virtual ocean acidification center at the University of Washington.
  • NOAA has been an outstanding collaborator on the ocean acidification problem.The OA Blue Ribbon Panel report includes a science appendix NOAA contributed heavily to that details what we know about the impacts and sources of OA in the Pacific Northwest.
  • From that initial meeting I attended with a few key agency directors and staff, the circle grew at every subsequent meeting.Once the word got out about the Shellfish Initiative, it was infectious. Everyone wanted to be part of it because there were so many positive outcomes.In the end it included native American Tribes, shellfish growers, the restoration community and various local, state and federal agencies.
  • One of my commitments to the agencies, if they embraced the Shellfish Initiative is that we would work hard to deliver positive press around it.We hired a public affairs firm to help coordinate the press event and media contacts. They coordinated with the Public Information Officers from the Governors Office, NOAA and the various agencies.We rented a big event tent and had around 150 people show up for a press event with the Governor, Dr. Lubchenco and other dignitaries. Of course we served shellfish, had aquariums on the stage demonstrating shellfish filtering and did tours of our processing plant showing lots of people working!This launch event created a huge bow wave we have been riding since and it continues to benefit us in ways we never expected.

Bill Dewey, "National and West Coast Shellfish Initiatives, "Baird Symposium Bill Dewey, "National and West Coast Shellfish Initiatives, "Baird Symposium Presentation Transcript

  • National and West Coast Shellfish Initiatives The Future of Shellfish In Rhode Island Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium November 14, 2013 Bill Dewey – Taylor Shellfish Farms Oyster harvest Willapa Bay Volunteers seeding clams, Twanoh SP Clam harvesting Hood Canal 1
  • NOAA Aquaculture Policy • Enable domestic production of seafood • Maintain healthy marine ecosystems • Create employment and business opportunities • Support working waterfronts • Restore and conserve marine habitat Olympia oysters 2
  • National Shellfish Initiative • Spatial planning and efficient permitting • Research on environmental effects • Technologies for restoration and farming • Coordinated and innovative financing oyster/eelgrass habitat study shellfish seed sorter 3
  • NOAA Supports the Washington Shellfish Initiative • 1st regional implementation • Partnerships • Jobs because of the environment and jobs for the environment Learning about oyster processing Clam harvesting crew 4
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative • Launched in December 2011 by Governor Gregoire and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco • Collaborative effort to implement the National Shellfish Initiative 5
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative Why? • Historic part of State’s culture and heritage • Requires clean water and a healthy ecosystem • Jobs and economic opportunity 6
  • Shellfish are part of fabric of Washington State • Integral to Washington’s history, culture & heritage • Major draw for regional tourism Oyster Run motorcycle rally Tour buses at Blau Oyster 7
  • Economic benefits/opportunity • Thriving shellfish aquaculture industry contributes 3,200 direct/indirect jobs, $270 million statewide • Excellent product reputation, strong demand has stimulated significant industry investment Rows of clams Picking oysters Retrieving harvested oysters 8
  • Economic benefits/opportunity • Year-round family wage jobs with benefits • ~$27 million annual payroll in Pacific & Mason Counties Tulip bulb harvester dapted to dig clams Willapa Bay oyster harvest Harvesting clams Little Skookum shellfish worker 9
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative Actions • Produce a multi-agency coordinated, efficient permitting program Agency tour of shellfish farm • Implement native oyster and abalone restoration Puget Sound native oyster bed 10
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative Actions • Promote Native American commercial, ceremonial and subsistence shellfish harvest Native Americans harvesting shellfish (NWIFC) • Support shellfish aquaculture research Benthic sampling on shellfish farm 11
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative Actions • Improve understanding of ecosystem services provided by shellfish Diving Scoter ducks eating mussels from geoduck nursery tubes 1/10/12 60 manila clams filtering 4 liters of seawater in 28 minutes 12
  • Promote Native Shellfish Restoration • Olympia oysters • 200K NOAA grant to NW Straits Commission • WDFW Oyster Rebuilding Plan • Native shellfish hatchery • Pinto abalone • 560K NOAA grant to WDFW Volunteers planting Olympia oysters Pinto abalone 13
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative Actions • Direct EPA NEP funding to protect & improve nearshore water quality • Improve shellfish growing area protection and restoration efforts Samish Bay Bivalve Bash 14
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative Actions • Take steps to address ocean acidification • Formation of Washington’s Ocean Acidification Blue Ribbon Panel • Governor’s Executive Order • Council established in Governor’s office to respond to OA • Creation of Ocean Acidification Center at the University of Washington 15
  • Take Steps to Address Ocean Acidification • Convene Blue Ribbon Panel • Summary of science • Actionable recommendations • WSG research project on Pacific oysters SEM photo: OSU Brunner/Waldbusser Seawater monitoring buoy 16
  • Washington Shellfish Initiative Partnership • Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission • Washington Sea Grant • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration • Environmental Protection Agency • US Army Corp of Engineers • US Geological Survey • Northwest Straits Commission • Whatcom County Conservation District • The Nature Conservancy • Puget Sound Restoration Fund • Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association • Puget Sound Partnership • Office of Regulatory Assistance • Department of Natural Resources • Department of Health • Department of Fish and Wildlife • State Parks Commission • Department of Ecology 17
  • Significant Press Effort 18
  • California Shellfish Initiative 19
  • California Shellfish Initiative Humboldt Bay Mariculture PrePermitting Project 20
  • California Shellfish Initiative Humboldt Bay Mariculture PrePermitting Project 21
  • California Shellfish Initiative Humboldt Bay National Marine Research and Innovation Park (NMRIP) 22
  • California Shellfish Initiative • Initial interest in repeating Humboldt effort in Tomales Bay • Establishment of an Interagency Working Group • Restoration • Research • Water quality San Francisco 23
  • Contact information Bill Dewey Email: billd@taylorshellfish.com Cell: (360) 790-2330 24