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Shellfish Harvesting Areas Closed Due to Bacteria

April 17, 2013

High levels of fecal bacteria found in the water near Ocean Shores will lead to a year-round shellfish harvest closure for a small part of the coast. The state Department of Health also listed 11 of Washington’s 101 commercial shellfish growing areas as “threatened” with closure because of pollution.

“If water quality in the threatened shellfish areas gets worse we’ll have to restrict or close harvesting there,” said Bob Woolrich, Growing Area Section Manager. “Having an area listed as ‘threatened’ is a signal to communities to identify and correct pollution problems.”

Threatened shellfish harvest areas include within Grays Harbor and along the Pacific Coast as well as Bay Center and Naselle River in Pacific County.

In most cases, only part of the shellfish growing area is listed as threatened. In several areas pollution investigations and efforts to fix the problems are underway; in others, investigations will begin soon.

The Department of Health’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection’s goal is to make sure that shellfish harvested in the waters of our state are safe to eat. It uses national water quality standards to classify areas in Washington.

A map of the 2013 threatened areas and more information on the status of shellfish harvesting areas is available on the Department of Health website.

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