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:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vibrio: Minus Tides and Warm Temperatures Increase Risks of Contracting Vibriosis from Washington Oysters


Department of Health Issues Notice to Growers
Warning of the Vibrio Season
Minus Tides and Unseasonably Warm Temperatures
Increase the Risk
Relative increase of Vibriosis (top line)
Center for Disease Control
DOH reminds shellfish growers of consumers contracting vibriosis from shellfish
In response to the continuing increase in vibriosis contracted from consumption of raw oysters harvested from Puget Sound, Washington's Department of Health (DOH) has reminded shellfish growers about the Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) control plan taking effect May 1. Puget Sound growers are required to follow strict guidelines on time allowed to cool shellfish to 50 degrees after harvest. Times range from 12 hours in May to 4 hours in July and August. Despite similar plans existing in all states vibriosis from oysters harvested in the United States continues to increase.
Growing areas in south Puget Sound
closed in 2013 from vibriosis
Virulent Pacific Northwest strain now found on the East Coast
The sharpest rise of vibriosis occurred on the East Coast where what is described as the "Pacific Northwest" strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is felt to have become endemic, as it is in Puget Sound. Vibriosis from this strain of Vp was not found in shellfish outside of the northwest where Vp occurs naturally. Then, in 2012, outbreaks traced to shellfish from large areas of the East Coast occurred. Vibriosis from this virulent northwest strain of Vp traced to shellfish from the East Coast continues to climb, as it has been from shellfish harvested in Puget Sound  (see the Center for Disease Control article here).
Extra precaution: Average temperatures and average tides don't always fit the formula
Not mentioned by DOH is the first few days of May, 2014, bring with it minus mid-day tides and unseasonably warm weather, peaking at 85 degrees on May 1. As seen in the table below, normal temperatures for the first week in May average in the mid-sixties. The upcoming forecast notes day time temperatures climbing into the mid-80's on Thursday, May 1, when at 2PM the tide in south Puget Sound will reach its low of -1.6 (see "May 2014 Tide Table" below). This will leave oysters exposed to the unseasonably warm temperature for over four hours.
Average Temperatures: ~65 degrees
Forecast Highs for Shelton:
April 30, 81 degrees; May 1, 85 degrees
May 2014 Tide Table
Time for post harvest processing?
The shellfish industry has for years been trying to control the outbreaks of vibriosis traced to shellfish harvested during the warm summer months. A few years ago the FDA proposed shellfish be processed immediately after harvesting (e.g., cold shock, hydrostatic high-pressure, irradiation). An intense lobbying effort by the shellfish industry pushed back the effort leaving it up to the industry to handle, as they have been for years. During that time vibriosis from the consumption of raw oysters has continued to climb. (read article on PHP here)

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