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:
http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Vibriosis: Washington's Department of Health Proposes Becoming Proactive to Protect the Health of the Public

Vibrio parahaemolyticus:
the $10,000,000 bug.
 
Better late than never
After failed years of trying to decrease the number of reported cases of vibriosis caused by oysters harvested from Washington state's water, the Department of Health has decided to become proactive. They should be congratulated. Now, instead of waiting for people to become ill and then retroactively closing harvest areas, they will now require harvest areas to close if temperatures reach levels they deem warm enough, detailed in their recently released Vp Control Plan.
Note: Comments on the VP Control Plan will be taken through February 25. To submit comments on the plan, click here.
“We’re excited about the change."
Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish
 
A rule even the shellfish industry likes?
Anyone involved in trying to regulate the shellfish industry is fully aware of their being "troubled" over regulations which impact their operations. But in this case, Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish was quoted in the Skagit Valley Herald as saying, "We're excited about the change." If it works as anticipated, the estimated 11,000* people who contracted vibriosis from Washington oysters will also be excited, for those who do not contract the disease in the future.
*The Skagit Valley Herald noted 76 reported cases of vibriosis occurred last year. According to the Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control estimates there are 156 unreported cases for each reported case.
The $10,000,000 bug
Using figures developed by the Center for Disease Control, the DOH has estimated vibriosis creates a $10,000,000 medical expense annually for those who contract the disease. This figure includes hospitalization and appointments with doctors. DOH anticipates a dramatic drop in that expense - if the plan works as they hope.
The cousin nobody wants
is now in Puget Sound.


A cousin nobody wants lurking in the shadows
DOH deciding to become proactive will have benefits far greater than preventing cases of vibriosis from Vp. A cousin to Vp in the Vibrio family of bacteria carried in oysters is one far more deadly, Vibrio vulnificus. Until now this bacterium was only a significant problem in oysters harvested from the warmer Gulf Coast waters, so much so that California banned their import during the warm summer months. Until 2 years ago it was not felt to be anything oysters from Puget Sound's cooler waters would carry. But that changed in December of 2013 when DOH issued a report confirming that Vv had been found in Washington oysters. As temperatures continue to rise and waters continue to warm, the reality grows that Vv will show up in more and more oysters harvested from Washington and become a far more significant problem than vibriosis.

Is a thermometer really an added expense to complain about?
Some are concerned the added cost of a thermometer, and its having to be calibrated to ensure accuracy, is an expense some shellfish growers may not be able to afford. Perhaps those shellfish growers should ask the families of those who have become ill with vibriosis, or worse, whether a thermometer is really an expense to complain about.

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