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 9, 2014

Vibriosis Contracted from South Puget Sound Oysters Becoming a Well Established Pattern

Update 8/10
Sunday, -2.5 tide, temperatures climbing to 90 degrees.
Monday, -2.1 tide, temperatures climbing to 98 degrees.
Two weeks away, increase in reported cases of vibriosis followed by additional after the fact closures.
The Department of Health needs to become
proactive in dealing with Vibrio.
A reactive strategy is not helping.
Annual closures in south Puget Sound
due to reported cases of vibriosis
traced to oysters harvested from the area.
Waiting for people to become ill is a failure in oversight
Despite numerous attempts at trying to control disease spread from the consumption of raw or undercooked oysters from south Puget Sound, reported cases of vibriosis continue to result in after-the-fact closures of south Puget Sound growing areas. Attempts to educate the public, implement tighter controls over cooling, and testing the waters for the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) have all apparently failed in preventing reported cases of vibriosis traced to oysters from this area of Puget Sound from occurring.
We're back!
Like an unwelcome relative
returning for a summer visit.
Why is disease from Vp still occurring?
Unlike fecal coliform from human impacts, Vp is a naturally occurring bacterium which each summer blooms in the warming waters of south Puget Sound. Oyster's filtering the waters capture this bacterium internally. During the oysters' exposure to warm temperatures out of water, it multiplies internally. When raw or undercooked oysters are consumed, the population of bacteria enters the digestive system and vibriosis begins with varying degrees of intensity. It is this bacterium which DOH seems unable to prevent from entering the food chain with reported illnesses from Washington oysters predictably occurring each summer. While opening areas with lower fecal coliform levels is great, closing larger areas each summer due to vibrio is not.
What does testing the waters show?
If Vp levels are high, you've most likely
missed the opportunity to prevent illness.
Totten Inlet - Close it, open it, close it again
Unlike fecal coliform testing, testing for Vp is apparently not a successful means of preventing Vp from entering the food stream. Instead it only appears that testing predicts the inevitable - cases of vibriosis will be traced back to that growing area. As an example, Totten Inlet was tested in mid-July and found to have levels of Vp over the threshold level of 10,000 mpn/gram. Commercial harvesting at that point was halted. After two weekly subsequent samples tested below the threshold level it was re-opened July 31, only to have reported illnesses close the area again on August 7. It will remain closed through September 30.
Or does testing show anything?
On the other side of testing the water for Vp, it may be that it is simply not much help at all. Oakland Bay had waters tested for Vp with levels falling below the threshold number. Yet Oakland Bay is now closed due to vibrios from oysters harvested there. What is predicable is that vibriosis will be contracted from Puget Sound's shellfish every summer.
The summer visitor
nobody wants in Puget Sound.
Vp's cousin Vibrio vulnificus - why being proactive instead of reactive is important
Warming air and water temperatures, from whatever cause, will inevitably lead to Vp's more virulent cousin Vibrio vulnificus being found in Puget Sound waters. Vv, also a natural bacterium, is prevalent in the Gulf Coast waters and is also now found in Chesapeake Bay. It is expected to continue to be found in waters further north as they warm. Vv is far more virulent than Vp, causing death in 50% of those who contract it, primarily through raw oysters. It is why the Department of Health needs to become proactive instead of reactive to this naturally occurring bacteria found in Puget Sound.
The world is not a safe place
Consuming any food has a risk. Consuming raw oysters harvested in the summer is only one of many things to be aware of.

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