Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ilnesses from Samish Bay Oysters Halts Harvesting

The Department of Health has closed Samish Bay to commercial harvesting of shellfish due to vibriosis contracted by people who consumed oysters harvested from the area. It will remain closed until October 1. Last year outbreaks of vibriosis and resulting closures of commercial harvesting areas, including Samish Bay, caused China to recall all oysters harvested from Washington state [read here].

Taylor Shellfish's processing plant in Samish Bay.

(from Google Earth, 8/25/11)

Unlike fecal coliform, Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is a naturally occurring bacteria in Puget Sound. Unlike fecal coliform, every summer Vp numbers increase in the water column. Oysters and other shellfish then filter Vp from the water. If the shellfish are undercooked or eaten raw, it may cause vibriosis. In addition to Samish Bay, Vp has already caused Oakland Bay, Totten Inlet, Dabob Bay, and areas in Hood Canal.

Whether the apparent increase in outbreaks and significant closures are the result of an increase in Vp, additional monitoring, the increase of triploid (genetically modified) oysters which are more "edible" during summer, or a combination is not known.

For a report from August 23 listing all areas closed and why, see the Olympic Penninsula Environmental News here. It does not include the most recent Samish Bay closure but does include areas closed for other reasons (e.g., biotoxins).

Department of Health contacts for various closures follow.  

Closure Explanations and Program Contacts: 
  BIOTOXIN - Biotoxin sample results exceed DOH closure standards
       Contact Frank Cox 360-236-3309 or Jerry Borchert 360-236-3328
  WWTP - A Wastewater Treatment Plant Malfunction
       Contact Mark Toy  360-236-3321
  HAZMAT - Hazardous Materials Substance Spill
       Contact Mark Toy  360-236-3321
  RAIN - The Conditionally Approved growing area is closed due to pollution associated with rainfall
       Contact Scott Berbells 360-236-3324
  MARINA - Seasonal Use Marina Closure
       Contact Mark Toy 360-236-3321
  FLOODING - Growing area is closed due to contamination from river flooding
       Contact Scott Berbells 360-236-3324
  EMERGENCY - Other public health emergency
       Contact Office Mainline 360-236-3330
  VIBRIO - A closure due to the naturally occurring pathogenic marine bacteria "Vibrio parahaemolyticus"
       Contact Richard Lillie 360-236-3313
  NO PSP SAMPLE / NO HARVEST - Geoduck tracts.  Must sample for PSP prior to harvest
       Contact Frank Cox 360-236-3309 or Jerry Borchert 360-236-3328

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