August 10, 2006. Received photos of juvenile eagle caught in "predator exclusion device" net on geoduck farm on Harstene Island, July 23, 2006.
Juvenile Bald Eagle caught in geoduck farm net July 23, 2006.
Boaters come to the rescue of the eagle.
Exhausted eagle after rescue.
Large net covering hundreds of square feet of tideland. This type of net is typical of commercial geoduck aquaculture on Puget Sound.
Close up of large net covering commercial geoduck operation on Hartstene Island.
Following is the full text from the email sent to us by CSR, a resident who lives on the Thurston County side of Dana Passage with a view of the eagle's nest on Hartstene Island.
I thought someone might be interested about this.
I had an eye opening experience July 23rd 2006 while boating in Dana Passage along Hartstene Island just south of Wilson Point (N 47* 12.031' W 122* 50.519), I noticed an immature eagle struggling on the beach. It was caught in a net covering one of those new geoduck farm projects. The eagle had been struggling for some time in the hot sun and there were several people trying to free it. Every time they got the eagles talons free of the net, its freedom was short lived. The eagle was too exhausted to fly and as soon as it took a step it again became entangled. The tide was coming in and I suggested we carry the eagle up the beach and put it into the shade. It rested in the shade for two hours and then flew away.
We live on the other side of Dana Passage and have been watching the nest in our telescope that sits above the geoduck farm. The immature eagle had fledged about two weeks before it got trapped in the net. We have not seen the eagle since he flew from the shaded area on July 22nd 2006. The eagle did not have any visible injuries, but it seems strange he has not been seen since. Perhaps the stress was overwhelming on that very hot day.
How can this be possible for anyone to build a trap like this under an eagle nest? Are there no state agencies that regulate these projects? I have noticed that when the tide is in and the net floats up a bit, small fish get trapped under the net to provide a tempting new bait for eagles and others at every low tide. It is unlikely an eagle could free itself from a net like that. That eagle would have drowned in another two hours. The heron feed every low tide at the net and have no problems. I think this gives the eagles a false sense of security. Considering the number of these traps that have been set in the last couple of years in the Puget Sound this could be a very significant problem. CSR
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