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Pollution limits harvest in one shellfish area; nine other areas threatened
OLYMPIA ¾ High bacteria levels found near Pillar Point County Park in Clallam County will close the area to shellfish harvesting during late summer and early fall. The state Department of Health also listed nine of Washington’s 101 commercial shellfish growing areas as threatened with closure because of pollution.
Efforts to find and fix problems in all threatened shellfish areas are underway. If high bacteria levels continue in these shellfish areas, they may be closed to harvesting:
Grays Harbor County – Grays Harbor, Pacific Coast; Jefferson County – Port Townsend Bay; Kitsap County – Burley Lagoon; Mason County – Hood Canal 6 (Alderbrook area); Pacific County – Naselle River; Pierce County – Burley Lagoon, Filucy Bay; Snohomish County – Port Susan; Whatcom County – Portage Bay.
“We’re actually seeing the fewest number of threatened shellfish growing areas since 1997 when we started evaluations,” said Jerrod Davis, director of the Office of Shellfish and Water Protection. “That’s good news. Sewage systems, agricultural waste, boating waste, and stormwater runoff are being managed better near shellfish areas. We can build on that progress.”
"Today, hundreds of public, private and tribal partners are working together to make Puget Sound healthy again,” said Gerry O'Keefe, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. “We applaud the Department of Health and the progress our region is making toward achieving our regional goal to restore and re-open 10,800 acres of harvestable shellfish beds by 2020."
The Office of Shellfish and Water Protection uses national standards to classify commercial shellfish harvesting areas in Washington. A map of the 2012 threatened areas and more information on the status of shellfish harvesting areas(www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/grow.htm) is available on the Department of Health website.