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:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Department of Health Issues Warning on Illness Contracted from Oysters

Reported infections from Vibrio bacteria in oysters are soaring

[Update 8/18: Food World News reported erroneously that Drakes Bay Oyster Company oysters had caused the California Department of Health to close their operation due to vibriosis traced to their oysters. Their mistake has caused a flurry of attorney calls, emails, retractions, and accusations from DBOC owner Kevin Lunny that it was part of a perceived conspiracy to "damage our business". Fervent supporters Jane Gyorgy and Sarah Rolph also responded with dismay. With the warm summer temperatures not yet over it may have been better for all to let a mistake be recognized as such.]

[Update 8/17: The Department of Health has closed Samish Bay, Reach Island, Hammersley Inlet, Totten Inlet, Oakland Bay and Pickering Passage growing areas to the commercial harvest of oysters due to reported illnesses traced to oysters harvested from those growing areas. Recreational information may be found on DOH website.]
The Department of Health has issued a warning to consumers telling them to stop eating raw oysters due to the risk of contracting vibriosis from them. August 13, The Seattle Times wrote:
Reported infections from Vibrio bacteria are soaring in King County.

In the warning issued August 13, the Washington Department of Health notes:
State health officials expect the number of illnesses to rise in the next few weeks due to projected warm temperatures and midday low tides.
Every summer the pattern repeats, in greater numbers each year
Vibriosis is caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus which is a naturally occurring bacteria which increases dramatically every summer. Bacteria within oysters, natural filter feeders, increases further when day time low tides expose them to the sun. Every summer the pattern repeats with people becoming ill, followed by after the fact closures. The difference is each summer more people become ill.

Vibriosis contracted in 2012
over 2006-2008

For each case reported an estimated 142 are unreported
Megan Kay epidemiologist at Public Health — Seattle and King County, estimates that for every reported case there are an additional 142 which go unreported. The Center for Disease Control also estimates the same number are unreported.

Increasing risk
In California, disease from Vibrio vulnificus (a more virulent strain of vibrio) was brought to zero by banning the import of untreated oysters from the Gulf States during the warm summer months. With the increasing use of genetically modified "triploid" oysters they become more palatable during the summer months (they are sterile so do not "spawn" and become milky). This in turn leads to increased numbers of people being put at risk, especially those whose immune systems are suppressed or who simply take antacids (acid helps to break down the bacteria). This on top of warming waters from climate change leads to increasing risk and increasing illness.

Economic hardships
To date the industry has resisted firmly what is the logical step, treating oysters to kill the bacteria before they enter the food stream, as California requires those from the Gulf States to be. While industry complains of economic impacts to their companies, there is also an economic cost to families, the health system, and companies impacted from people who contract vibriosis.

For now ...
Until meaningful actions are taken the best suggestion is found in The Seattle Times article published on August 14:  Don't eat raw oysters.

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