Nori farming in Anacortes, Washington : a political dilemma Public Deposited

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  • Hansen, Gayle I. 1989. Nori farming in Anacortes, Washington: a political dilemma. A poster presented at the 13th International Seaweed Symposium (Vancouver, British Columbia) and the 4th Northwest Algal Symposium (Rosario Beach, Washington). In 1987, the off-shore cultivation of the nutritious seaweed, nori or Porphyra (Pyropia), had been studied intensely by State researchers and phycologists at the University of Washington. The Washington Department of Natural Resources investigated the benefits and problems of this industry and produced a “Programmatic Environmental Impact (PEI) Statement on Nori Farming and Processing in Washington State”. Many of the problems that might be encountered with nori-farming were considered, but the State found that only a minimal impact on the environment would occur since the farms were non-polluting and CO2-absorbing. Furthermore, the farms would employ unskilled labor and provide revenue through lease fees that could be used for State parks and schools. The American Sea Vegetable Company, composed primarily of scientists and exstudents from the University of Washington, conducted a survey of the shallow marine lands in Puget Sound that might be suitable for farming. They found that the area around Anacortes with its islands, semi-protected bays and inlets was ideal for sea vegetable farming, and they submitted an application to lease two plots in this area for nori-farming. Much to their surprise, an all-out fight began in Anacortes. The local shore-owners, fishermen and many “environmentalists” were opposed to the farms. The complaints were primarily due to what they thought might be “view pollution” and to the blocking of boat traffic through the farms. However, those who spoke out in opposition also used the State PEI, reversing the results, to criticize the farms. “Beach-ins” were held against the farms, and bumper stickers were produced saying “Wrap your sushi in cabbage” (the outer wrapper of sushi is usually nori). The opposition was so strong that even the president of the local community college and the director of the local marine biological station made statements against the farms. This poster details the fight that occurred in Anacortes from 1987 to 1989 with clippings* from two local newspapers: the Anacortes American and the Skagit Valley Herald. In the end, the American Sea Vegetable Company was denied the leases they needed for their farms, and the company went out of business in 1990. ------------------------- *Note that the green dots on the newspaper clippings indicate opposition statements while the red dots indicate statements supporting the farms.
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  • Vancouver, Canada
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