Steamboat area residents with waterfront property are probably already familiar with some of the questions surrounding commercial shellfish harvesting, particularly some of the techniques employed to harvest geoduck. It is no surprise, then, to read in The Olympian about hearings held on two bills presently working their way through committees in the State House.
Where does the truth lie? Is geoduck harvesting harmful to the environment or does the benefits to the Sound of shellfish outweigh some of the practices employed by harvesters?
House Bill 1547, sponsored by Gig Harbor Democrat Pat Lantz, would prevent the state Department of Natural Resources from granting new geoduck farm leases on state-owned lands until scientists figure out whether the practices cause environmental damage.
House Bill 1728, was introduced by our own Representative Bill Eickmeyer on behalf of the growers. It extols the benefits of the shellfish industry. It seeks to streamline regulation and create a job in the state Department of Agriculture to promote the industry.
Click on the links above to learn more about these two bills and to make your opinion known to Representative Eickmeyer.