Aquaculture for all

Shellfish Farm Faces $1.3 Million Fine

US - Taylor Shellfish Farms could be on the hook for more than $1.3 million for cultivating shellfish on state tidelands near Shelton.

Bill Dewey, spokesman for Taylor, insists that the so-called “trespass” was accidental and says he hopes the company can escape with a simple lease assessment of less than $444,000, writes Christopher Dunagan in Kitsap Sun.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources billed the company $443,849.77 for the unauthorized use of about 16 acres of state tidelands on Totten Inlet for the last three years.

By law, the state must triple that amount — to $1.3 million — unless officials are convinced that those responsible “did not know, or have reason to know, that he or she lacked authorization,” according to a letter from Doug Sutherland, state lands commissioner.

Kitsap Sun reports that Taylor Shellfish Farms purchased its tidelands on Totten Inlet in 1972, Dewey said. It was always assumed that the purchase included property out to the low-tide zone, because that was typical for state tidelands sold in the early 1900s.

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