Shellfish farmers seek legislators' help to avoid a "regulatory train wreck"

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
9 February 2007, at 12:00am

US - Shellfish farmers in Washington state headed to Olympia last week to ask state lawmakers to help them avoid a "regulatory train wreck" that has the potential to put many shellfish farms out of business.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is developing new shellfish farming permit requirements, which have the potential to trigger not only a more complex approval process on the federal level, but also a complex tangle of state review requirements.

The review would need to ensure that the corps permit complies with six different state environmental laws.

In addition, some state lawmakers want to see additional state and local government requirements and oversight.

In seeking a solution to what could become an overly complex permitting system, the shellfish industry has thrown its support to House Bill 1728. Prime-sponsored by Bill Eickmeyer, D-Belfair, the bill calls for a coordinated shellfish aquaculture regulatory process.

Robin Downey, executive director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, said most shellfish farms are small mom and pop operations that would be overwhelmed by overlapping federal, state and local regulations.

Source: Capital Press