Nationwide Permits issued for commercial shellfish aquaculture ruled Unlawful

A sea of oysters in PVC tubes

Back in October, 2019 the Federal District Court found that the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) Nationwide Permits issued for commercial shellfish aquaculture unlawful. The Court ruling required shellfish operations to re-permit under Individual Permits but did allow planting through the 2020 season and harvesting through March 2022.

The aquaculture industry group appealed the decision. On February 11 a three-judge panel with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with the earlier ruling. This is good news as it requires more detailed reviews of new shellfish permits instead of issuing blanket permits.

However our work is not finished … Efforts to protect the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge are ongoing as this project is already under an Individual Permit and the process continues. Unfortunately we cannot predict the ACE reaction to the recent rulings. At this point we hope that the ACE now sees a need for very careful reviews.

While we await the ACE decision about the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, the WA State Department of Ecology approved a Coastal Zone Management permit for the project. The ACE permit decision is our focus.

We will continue to keep in touch with all of you. As well, the ACE should let those who submitted comments in May of last year know when a permit decision has been made.

Until then, keep safe and hopeful,
Protect the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Protect the Peninsula’s Future
PO Box 1677 — Sequim, WA 98382

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