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:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Center for Disease Control Reports Vibrio Illnesses from Shellfish Rise 43% in 2012

Percentage increase of disease related
to various forms of bacteria
transmitted through food.
(from CDC press release, 4/19/2013)

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that illness contracted from consuming raw shellfish rose 43% in 2012. In comparison to other food borne diseases, Vibrio related diseases have continued to increase despite assurances from the shellfish industry that they do not need any further oversight. Relative to other forms of bacterial caused disease transmitted through food, those related to Vibrio have increased far more than any others.
Relative rate of increase/decrease
of food borne illnesses. Vibrio is contracted
primarily through the consumption
of raw shellfish, usually oysters.
(from CDC press release, 4/19/2013)

Of the two types of Vibrio, vulnificus (Vv) and parahaemolyticus (Vp), the latter was by far the greatest cause of illness. The former (Vv), while causing fewer illnesses in number, is far more deadly, with an estimated 50% of those contracting the illness passing away.

Bob Rheault, Executive Director
East Coast Shellfish Growers Association

In response to the announcement, Bob Rheault, Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, stated the reason for the increase was that more people are eating raw oysters (or maybe more contaminated oysters are being eaten?). In an article posted on "MarketWatch" he states production has increased by 10% (not quite explaining how that led to a 43% increase). He also went on to say in the article that, “Unfortunately a lot of our demographic is old white guys with liver failure.” [click here for article]

Those with weakened immune systems (e.g., organ recipients who take immune suppressant drugs or "old white guys with liver failure") are more susceptible to the disease. Also related, but not mentioned, is that genetically modified oysters which are sterile no longer "plump" or become "watery" during the summer months when spawning normally occurs, creating a larger "firmer" supply being available during the warmer summer months when Vp or Vn are more likely to exist in larger quantities within oysters.

Washington's Department of Health and Washington shellfish growers are currently holding what may be termed emergency meetings on how to control something which to date they have been unable to. Despite new management protocols having been implemented after a 2006 spike in illnesses traced back to Washington oysters, vibriosis from Washington oysters continues to increase.
Laboratory Confirmed Cases of Vibriosis
From Washington Oysters

What may help is if the attitude expressed by Brian Sheldon, oysterman from Willapa Bay, changes. At a meeting of shellfish growers last year, this note was made in the minutes in response to support having been expressed the previous month for a refrigerated truck having been purchased:
Brian asked that it [reference to the refrigerated truck] be stricken from the record because it gives the impression that the industry supports the changes that require refrigeration to transport oysters and that the industry is "caving in" to unfounded safety concerns along the WA Coast.

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