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.

Governor Inslee:
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vibrio Testing Closes Oakland Bay to Commercial Oyster Harvesting, Drakes Bay Oysters Recalled

The Department of Health has told shellfish farmers in Oakland Bay (Shelton) to stop harvesting oysters due to the naturally occurring bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp). A pilot program's testing for tlh (an indicator of how much Vp is present) resulted in 9,300 MPN/gram (most probable number), far above the action number of 100 MPN/gram.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Vp is present in Puget Sound waters year round, but warm summer months, salinity and turbidity all increase its numbers within the water column dramatically. Oysters, being filter feeders, accumulate this bacteria which is then consumed by humans, causing vibriosis [read here about Vp]. During the winter months it is found concentrated in the sediments and may be introduced into the water column through sediment disturbance.

As of yet no recalls of oysters harvested from Oakland Bay, Totten Inlet, and, Hood Canal area #8 have been issued. Illnesses traced back to oysters harvested, or testing from these areas, have indicated elevated levels of Vp to be present. The coming warm days are expected to increase the risk further.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company
Issues Recall for Infected Oysters

In the past, "after-the-fact" recalls were initiated only after an indeterminate number of people became sick.  In California, after illnesses of vibriosis were reported, the source was tracked back to oysters harvested by Drakes Bay Oyster Company between July 17 and August 8.  [read here for Drakes Bay Oyster Company recall] Washington's Department of Health is trying to be more pro-active by requiring harvesting to stop, before infected oysters enter the food stream.

Until prevented from entering into the food stream perhaps legislators and the FDA should simply require post harvest processing of oysters harvested where Vp is known to occur. The expense to the state from testing would be lessened and the economic hardships brought on by illnesses contracted from infected oysters would be minimized.

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