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:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Update: Vibriosis from Washington Oysters Closes Totten Inlet to Commercial Harvesting (again)

[Update 9/5: Eld Inlet has been closed due to reported cases of vibriosis.]
[Update 8/29: Hammersley Inlet has been re-opened for commercial harvesting of oysters after water testing showed levels below the action number. However, illnesses reportedly traced to oysters harvested from Hammerley Inlet have resulted in cooling restrictions being added.]

Totten Inlet Closed, Eld and Skookum Inlets 
effected by reported cases of vibriosis.

Totten Inlet has been closed to the commercial harvest of oysters again due to reported cases of vibriosis traced to commercial oysters harvested from this growing area. Additional illnesses traced to oysters harvested from Eld and Skookum Inlets have resulted in cooling restrictions being added.

Did Minterbrook Oyster know areas were closed?
When vibriosis is traced to oysters harvested from a commercial growing area the Department of Health notifies the growers effected. Steps to be taken immediately include closure and/or a shortened time between harvest and cooling. 

Third time's a charm - at least that's what China hopes.
Recently, Minterbrook Oyster was notified by the Department of Health that oysters it had reported on export forms, required for oysters exported to Asia, were from Henderson Bay. This was an area which had been closed due to Biotoxins in early August (and recently re-opened). DOH requested the product be removed and forms modified. When the modified export forms were returned to DOH, they once again notified Minterbrook Oyster the new area they had entered, Oakland Bay, was also closed. It had been closed a week before Henderson Bay was closed for reasons related to Vibrio. Presumably the third time all was correct. China has reacted once to shellfish from Washington being tainted.

Too late - that oyster's been swallowed.
The current process in place, through which DOH responds to vibrio and the disease it causes (vibriosis), is one in which the state either reacts to illnesses reported within the past 30 days or to elevated levels being found through testing. Both are reactive to what has now been clearly established as a pattern in which the warmer summer temperatures cause increased levels of the naturally occurring bacterium vibrio parahaemolyticus to occur which in turn are filtered out of the water by oysters. 

Post Harvest Processing is resisted by industry - is .05 cents per oyster too expensive?
Current methods of post harvest processing which do not effect taste are available to the industry. However, they claim the added expense (estimated at .05 cents/oyster)  would make oysters unaffordable and have to date resisted strongly any suggestion of being required to do so. An alternative to consider may be to pay the medical expenses for those who become ill eating an oyster.

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