Skagit Bay north of Camano Island may be closed to gathering clams, mussels and oysters.
The bay is one of nine shellfish growing areas statewide threatened by pollution.
Each year, the state Department of Health looks at water quality data collected from shellfish harvesting areas. Data for this year show that poor water quality or failure to manage potential pollution sources could result in the downgrade of the harvest area.
Work is under way to find and fix pollution problems in many of the threatened shellfish growing areas.
“We’re seeing a lower number of threatened areas, but the closure of any harvest area has a direct and sometimes catastrophic affect on individual commercial shellfish harvesters, tribes, or the public,” said Bob Woolrich, growing area manager for the agency. “We can’t afford to lose more of our valuable shellfish harvesting areas to pollution.”
Recently, the agency downgraded more than 4,000 acres in the Samish Bay shellfish growing area in Skagit County. The Puget Sound Partnership, other federal and state agencies, tribes, local organizations and agriculture groups are addressing pollution sources to correct conditions that caused the downgrade.
More information: www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/grow.htm