'State of Oyster Study' to test Hood Canal, Puget Sound shellfish for health

Posted 5/14/15

Washington Sea Grant’s State of the Oyster Study helps shoreline residents protect water quality and enjoy their beaches’ oysters and clams without fear.

How safe are your oysters? Each year …

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'State of Oyster Study' to test Hood Canal, Puget Sound shellfish for health

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Washington Sea Grant’s State of the Oyster Study helps shoreline residents protect water quality and enjoy their beaches’ oysters and clams without fear.

How safe are your oysters? Each year Washington Sea Grant’s State of the Oyster Study helps shoreline dwellers determine whether the oysters and clams on their beaches are safe to eat or contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria. Residents are invited to gather five large oysters or 24 clams from their beaches, bag them securely, and deliver them on designated collection days (May 17, June 14, July 5, or Aug. 2)to any of four sites on South Hood Canal and South Puget Sound. For modest fees, a lab will test these samples for fecal coliform bacteria and/or Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a common bacterium that can sicken people who eat raw shellfish, and report the results by phone within 10 days.

Washington Sea Grant’s shellfish and water-quality experts help participants interpret their test results and, if necessary, identify and correct any sources of contamination. Since 1987, the State of the Oyster study has helped dwellers along more than 300 Washington beaches enjoy safe shellfish while protecting and improving the waters around them.

WHAT: Shellfish testing by Washington Sea Grant’s State of the Oyster Study

WHO: Tideland owners who care about shellfish safety and water quality

WHEN: Gather oysters and clams on May 17, June 14, July 5, or Aug. 2. Low tide is within two hours of noon on all these dates.

WHERE: Deliver samples for testing between noon and 2:30 p.m. the same day to one of these pickup sites:

• Hunter Farms, 1921 E. State Route 106, Union

• Happy Hollow Store, 15280 E. SR 106, Belfair

• QFC parking lot, 1403 Old Belfair Highway, Belfair (underneath the flag pole)

• Purdy Park & Ride, 6519 144th St NW, Gig Harbor

HOW: Pack samples, in the shell, in heavy, leak-proof bags and keep on ice until drop-off. Mark each bag with name, collection site address, mailing address, phone number, and email address. Put payment and collection form in a separate waterproof bag and attach it to the sample bag.

For more information, contact Teri King or Jennifer Runyan at Washington Sea Grant, 360.432.3054, wsgcanal@uw.edu.

Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, provides statewide marine research, outreach, and education services - helping people to understand and address the challenges facing Washington’s oceans and coasts. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. www.wsg.washington.edu.Join the conversation @WASeaGrant and Facebook.com/WaSeaGrant

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