Mussel discs spoil beaches
December 11, 2011 · Updated 6:06 AM
While walking along Kennedy Lagoon Shores recently, I noticed quite a bit of debris on the beach, most of which were black plastic mussel discs clearly labeled Penn Cove Shell Fish LLC. I have seen these same discs at Monroe Landing and other Penn Cove beaches.
There are literally hundreds of them scattered along the beach and frankly it is disgusting. Penn Cove Shellfish provides employment and economic stimulus on Whidbey Island, but there is no excuse for them to let these discs foul up the beaches. If it is impossible for PCS to contain these discs from escaping the activity of harvesting shellfish then the least they could do is have some of their employees comb the beaches on a regular basis and pick them up. They could be recycled or re-used.
While they’re at it, they could pick up some of the other garbage that comes to rest on the beach as a service to community in which they are fortunate enough to conduct their business.
Editor’s note: Penn Cove Shellfish was asked to respond to the issues in this letter. Here is their reply:
Thank you for contacting us regarding the letter. Generally when discs are found, it is usually by people that take daily walks and if they find some they accumulate them and they will call us or come by our office and drop them off or if they have many, we will pick them up. To encourage the return of the discs, we have our name and contact information on them and we usually trade mussels for the return of the discs.
The discs are re-used year after year in our growing operations and are sometimes lost during wind storms. We take steps to prevent loss of the discs and our crew does a beach walk and clean up about every 6 to 8 weeks at which time we retrieve any materials found, including discs and any other debris such as bottles, tires, etc. I point this out because we understand the issue of debris on the beach and we work hard to prevent what ends up there from originating from our farm and we also work hard to keep the beach free of debris from other sources. We will work harder to prevent loss of the discs or line materials and we appreciate all those who collect the discs and return them to us.
I am presently looking into placing collector bins for the discs in various locations, but need to get the acceptance of certain property owners prior to placing those bins.
Please advise if you have any further questions or ideas on the matter.
Penn Cove Shellfish, LLC.